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Social expectations from women have always been there, but it is important to be answerable to your self first. Love your self first.
She cried, finally! More like, I made her cry. Maybe as her friend, I should probably feel guilty of having made her so upset, but, I think, some crying was overdue for her. She had accumulated so much – so, so much – inside of her! She needed to let it all out- everyone needs to do that once in a while. We are all human, after all. There’s only so much we can handle.
And as the tears carrying all her broken dreams and failed expectations flowed out of the corners of her eyes, I could sense that she had begun to look a little better(?) I told her, “Screw the society and screw all those who doubt you. In fact, screw yourself if you start losing faith in yourself!”
Everyone else’s expectations of her being the perfect daughter who knows how to do household chores; the perfect sister who knows how to help the siblings in their studies; the perfect student who gets her name mentioned on the Excellent Students’ Board in the principal’s room in school; the perfect girl who looks like a ‘goddess’ and would fetch the best in the marriage market – it was only pulling her down and pushing her towards being someone she didn’t even identify with.
And what did it all result in? Self-loathing and low self-esteem and a resulting constant underestimation of her own self. So many expectations from just one individual! How, then, will the person get to have some expectations of their own, from their own selves?
I told her to just let it all go and stop worrying. I told her to not lose faith in herself. Simply put, I gave her the clichéd advice of “don’t let anyone affect the way you want to swing,” and “don’t live to please others, do it for yourself!”
But isn’t it true, though? We get so busy in pleasing others and abiding by their expectations that we simply forget ourselves. We get so busy in trying to be true to others that we forget being true to ourselves!
Humans are social beings, and society has expectations from us – or so you might have heard. But the advocates of society tend to forget that society is not an omnipotent entity with an upper hand in everything that humans are supposed to do. It’s just us who make the society. The expectations we want to abide by or fail to provide for are just those we had (or fellow humans had) from us.
A woman, married to an abusive husband with a child refuses to detach herself from her husband, just for the sake of her child. Go deeper, and you will find out that more than anything else, it is majorly so that the child will have a father’s name when it grows up. But, who or, rather what, in the first place, requires the child to have a violent wife beater’s name attached to an innocent 2-year old?
Expectations. Whose expectations, though? Society’s!
The problem is that the more ‘social’ we are becoming, the more we are drifting apart from ourselves. Individualism and being selfish were things of the past; nowadays, being a social butterfly is the ‘in’ thing! Being an ‘open book’ is what most people strive for. But in that alone, we have mastered the art of hiding. Granted, we all have a public persona and a private persona- one to deal with society at large, and the other? Well, that’s your issue right there! We have forgotten the purpose of the other, i.e., the private one.
Is being social equivalent to being what others expect us to be – no matter how unrealistic and illogical it may seem to a sane mind? Is it really justifiable to criticise someone just because their idea of something is not identifying with your own? More importantly, is it okay for that bruised woman to loathe herself just because she chose a scar-less childhood for her child over a man’s name?
We all have expectations- from others and ourselves. But we also have two little things called the ‘Heart’ and the ‘Brain’. And while it is absolutely necessary to try and fulfil that what is expected of us, it is all the more imperative to let these two entities interact with each other (no, the heart’s function is not just to pump blood!). A healthy interaction with the self can sometimes (correction: Always) do wonders for those who really want to get a deeper understanding of the Self.
It is fine to fail sometimes; it is finer yet to have tried and failed than to have never tried and succeeded.
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
As long as teachers are competent in their job, and adhere to the workplace code of conduct, how does it matter what they do in their personal lives?
A 30 year old Associate Professor at a well-known University, according to an FIR filed by her, was forced to resign because the father of one of her students complained that he found his son looking at photographs of her, which according to him were “objectionable” and “bordering on nudity”.
There are two aspects to this case, which are equally disturbing, and which together make me question where we are heading as a society.
When the father of an 18 year old finds his son looking at photographs of a lady in a swimsuit, he can do many things. What this parent allegedly did was to dash off a letter to the University which states: