Is The Superwoman Tag The Final Straw That Is Breaking The Woman’s Back?

Posted: September 30, 2017

Multitasking supermom, sole doer of all chores, and often working woman too – are the expectations all about the Superwoman tag?

Acquiring a Superwoman tag is more of a fashion statement nowadays. Most women I know multitask, they are always juggling a hundred plus one things, and the pressures of the times demand that they do it with a flourish and a smile.

The ultimate goal for a woman these days is – keeping it together, effortlessness and a “must and will do at any costs” attitude. Having a meltdown, scowling, showing any signs of lack of control (bladder included) is looked down upon and heaven help you if you are unlucky enough to have a ‘Resting Bitch Face’.

I was curious to know how the opposite gender reacts to this tag and found myself bringing this up in my conversations with them. Some men scoff at the Superwoman tag by defining it as women who are control freaks in disguise. Some, very cleverly, encourage the women in their life to strive for this tag as this would mean that the woman takes on the bulk of the workload and the man gets to be the cool feminist guy on the right side of history with some free time to spare.

I distinctly remember one conversation where a male colleague spared no effort in extolling the virtues of his wife with – “She is the hardest working woman I know, wakes up at four in the morning, cooks breakfast and lunch, comes back from work to cook dinner and manages the entire household by herself. She also sacrificed her career during my child’s growing years and is a rock for my entire family to cling on to.”

At this point, my somewhat disturbed female colleague whispered to me saying “I’d rather not get that PARAM VIR CHAKRA that he intends to bestow on his wife after she’s worked herself to death. Just let me enjoy my present with my sub-standard, indulgent self!” She had a valid point.

Are woman hankering for the Superwoman tag just to please society? Have we taken two steps forward and four steps back? Do women complete against one another to see who can take the whole cake, eat it and still be a size zero? The heart sinks at the idea but unfortunately the word ‘Superwoman’ has messed with our psyche much like the disturbing image of a popular jewellery brand which shows a woman with multiple hands holding a child, a laptop, a broom, a pressure cooker and god knows what. Are they portraying a woman or an octopus?

If the idea was to portray the Almighty Durga then let us remind ourselves that her Shakti was due to the combined energies of all the gods. The new age woman in her tearing hurry to prefix the ‘super’ or family who want to bestow it on her seem to have forgotten this.

Of course, this does not mean that there are no superwomen. I know several but they have no use for these silly tags and certainly do not wait for society to bestow one on them or view the ‘super’ as a lifetime goal.

So, Ladies, let me ask you once again – Is the Superwoman tag the final straw that is breaking the woman’s back?

Image source: By Indrajit Das (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons, for representational purposes only.

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Roopa Prabhakar describes herself as a mother, a working woman, a closet feminist and blogger.

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