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Relationship advice for women, especially from well-meaning older people, is often meant to make us seem unthreatening to men. Here’s why such advice can be problematic.
Since childhood, those of us from typical Indian families have seen how our mothers behave with our fathers or any other men. They are always very polite, aware of how they speak, their pitch remains in a low tone most of the time and most importantly, they are extremely careful to attend to even small things that men need.
I think this code of conduct was influenced by their mothers. And they got it from their mothers. And so the legacy goes on. On the basis of their experiences, they pass on this well-worn relationship advice to their daughters and granddaughters. Today, young women like me do not consider ourselves inferior to men in any way. We are academically, culturally, physically and financially empowered.
Isn’t it high time for guys to accept the caliber of young women and praise them for their accomplishments? So, we young women must bid adieu to the so-called ‘Sanskaari’ formulae to win a man’s heart and flaunt our boldness – the no.1 relationship advice for women today is to love ourselves a little more – it doesn’t matter if that intimidates some men.
“Don’t speak so loudly, otherwise neighbours will think we couldn’t teach our daughter anything!” This well-known dialogue is one patented by Indian mothers who want their daughters to be ‘susheel’ in the eyes of the aunties of the neighbourhood. They also advise us to maintain the volume of our voice while speaking to our partners. If you are in a relationship, you discuss many issues which may heat up the atmosphere; perhaps you have been hurt by something unthinking the guy did or maybe he just said something against Virat Kohli (applicable in many cases). Isn’t it obvious that your voice may get a bit higher than usual?
We must take a stand for our opinions, views and choices even if we have to talk in a high pitch. It will not worsen the condition of the tympanic membrane in the ears of our male partners that much. Trust me.
Our grandmothers and mothers often followed in the footsteps of their husbands and agreed with their decisions. Even if those decisions were uncomfortable for them or they had better plans in their minds, they generally didn’t speak up. They always thought that it may hurt their husbands’ ego.
Relationships are about effective communication – if we cannot share our ideas and preferences with our partners then the relationship is going to be very toxic for us. The concept of being a puppet in a man’s hand is something modern young women are not going to entertain. Take the remote to switch to your favourite channel, order the dish of your choice when on a dinner date, buy a condom of your favourite flavour. Men need to accept us as human beings with hearts of our own.
We often see many women quitting their jobs before marriage as the fiancé works somewhere else or because of some other issue. We forget how much our parents sacrificed to give us a good education. When it comes to a relationship, women become the primary focus of compromise.
If husband and wife are both working, then it’s the woman who takes a career break after parenthood – while it’s true there is a biological component involved, men generally don’t do these things, even after a child turns 1. Why? Because there is a very sensitive, precious and delicate (and unnecessary) barrier known as ‘ego’ between them and society. We women can’t just let it get hurt, so goes the usual relationship advice for women. Never!
Folks, it’s high time. Men also need to take up home care and childcare responsibilities rather than make them a burden on women. Accept that offer of promotion even if it means your boyfriend or husband will earn less than you; split the bill in a restaurant, pay half of the expenditure on a weekend trip, buy gifts for him too. Stand up for yourself and make sure that you’re not bullied next time.
What’s one piece of obsolete relationship advice for women that you have heard/received?
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