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As a woman, I deserve to have my share of freedom, love, and pleasure, and I need to stand up and make myself heard. To demand what is mine by right!
Quite often an Indian woman does not open herself up about many things in her mind. Her relationship with her husband, family, and even with society is predetermined by tradition, and if any one tries to cross the Lakshmanrekha drawn for her, she has had it!
Even when I’m a working woman I cannot change my family’s mindset regarding all the superstitions of menstruation (even if you show them the movie PADMAN a thousand times!). So what if I’m working, I do not have a right on my own income and family decisions, and the most important thing is, even today I cannot discuss sexual matters with my husband!
I fear that if I open up and speak what is in my mind, my family may feel hurt; it may even cause a break. If I protest about the untouchabilty during the menstruation period my mother-in-law, my sisters-in-law will feel bad because they have been practising this for ages. If I do not let my husband transfer money from my account to whenever he wants, may be he will burst like a volcano. If I say “I’m not satisfied any day in sex with you”, he will be offended, even scandalised. What do I do then? Years have passed like this. I tell myself, “Why disturb things now? Speak up when your kids have grown up. Be silent now; it’s the best policy for family peace.”
All this time I have lived for family and society. What about my wishes? When he sleeps after his pleasure is taken, not asking whether I want anything more? When I see couples kissing each other passionately, I ask myself, “Does it only happen in films? Why is real life different?
I know many things. I have read about feminism. I’m a public speaker but in real life I’m unable to protest before my own people. Can I say I’m unable to bridle my desires, let me go with anybody else? I might march in a “my body my rights” campaign, but I myself will imprison myself within social norms.
Precisely, I’m a toothless tiger. All campaigning feels like nothing but pseudo-feminism. I know I can never get everything I want in my life. I can never break the social customs as a married woman, but how can I forget that my life is also only for once? How can I deprive myself of many things which I deserve? And why should I deprive myself? If I cannot liberate myself then my life is nothing but a hypocrite’s story. Do I have the right to kill my wishes? Don’t I have any rights as an individual?
At least I can make my daughter’s life easy by protesting against social evils. The age old taboos are still in practice, and I hope to break that for her.
I do have respect for family bonds but some day somewhere I have to stop those things which I do not want! Of course It’s true that I will remain dissatisfied my whole my life as do millions of other women of my country. I will strive to keep my wild desires under the carpet, but can I check myself that day when a snake within will force me to be fierce? Should I ask that day the same old question of fidelity and infidelity?
I think as a human being I have every right to demand everything I deserve, and my body is absolulely a part of my life. I do believe in eternal love, but also believe that the body is the medium through which I feel all pain and pleasure.
What’s the path to follow then? I have to open up. I have to speak up. I have to protest because it’s my life, and it’s me who will emancipate myself. Only then I will have the right to stand for others. I do not agree to be a second fiddle always. Why? As a woman I respect my desires and I have to think of a path to get what I deserve.
Header image is a still from the movie Lipstick Under My Burkha
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