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Does a woman have the right to say No to anything which she doesn’t want to do? In real, everyday life in a ‘traditional’ Indian society, I don’t think so.
Generally we have seen that a woman doesn’t have the right to say NO to anything.
She has to do things which are pre-defined by the society as things that should be done only by women.
Like she has to learn cooking as it is her duty to be done after marriage. If a woman doesn’t know how to cook, then it will be difficult for the family to ‘search a groom’ for her.
And once she is married, cooking is to be done by the daughter in law only, even if she is working and she can’t take off on weekends. She can’t say NO.
‘Acceptable’ skin colour and looks are also pre-defined by society; if the girl is dark skinned or ‘not so good looking’ then it is very difficult or even next to impossible to fix her marriage with a well-educated boy. She has to go for the one who gets ready to marry her, and maybe she won’t get options. She may not have the right to say NO to that one person.
After marriage, she can’t say NO to her new family for anything they tell her to do. She has to get used to their comments, like cooking is to be done by the time we are habituated to eat, we don’t like to wait for food, come early from your job hours even if you have to do extra work as women are not allowed to stay out of home late night and many more.
As soon as she gets free from all the office and household chores and wishes to spend some time with her own, her husband demands some time from her. She doesn’t say NO as it is a women’s responsibility to ‘keep her husband happy and satisfied’, even if she is tired or what.
Consensual intimacy is also not optional for a woman; she is not asked whether she want to do it or not. Her partner doesn’t bother to take her consent.
It is difficult for women to cope with such comments and situations. A working woman, who gets time for the family only after working hours, tries to balance her time so that no one feels that being a working woman, she is arrogant. She has no option.
Women need to prove that they are strong enough to say NO in a positive way. Society can’t force things on women, not even her own family members.
Image source: a still from the short film Ghar ki Murgi
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