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We Think We’re ‘Free’ But Remain Slaves To The Male Gaze For Approval!

Posted: December 1, 2020
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True freedom will be achieved when we will be in actual control of our lives with no pressure to conform to the wants of the world.

“She ran and ran, feeling the freedom, destination stayed distant,
Until she felt a shackle around her feet, invisible but existent”

Feminism. A movement, a revolution that was aimed at liberating women from gender discrimination and gendered dominance of men. It gave the presumed ‘weaker sex’ a voice; it armed us with the tools to level the playing field and seek equality of sexes.

The era of domination of men was no longer welcome, as women after women started breaking the glass ceiling and upsetting the scales of gender discrimination. Today, women are reaching new heights in all spheres of life. Today, women are surgeons, engineers, astronauts and what not. But have we really achieved freedom in true sense?

Have we attained what we set out to seek?

Yes, we have taken huge strides in every walk of life but somewhere, we have still not broken through the chains of societal pressure.

Our fight was not against men, it was to seek freedom; but even in the freedom we have attained, we are still enslaved by the standards set by men over a thousand years, that condition our minds. Most of us have just managed to convince ourselves that it is us who seek those standards. Even the most successful of women are besotted with the cosmetic standards fed to us by the incessant advertisements.

The desperation for beauty that is praised by others

Now some may say that the desire to look beautiful is a natural desire and I completely agree with it, as long as we want to feel beautiful for ourselves, to feel good about ourselves. But the desire to look beautiful in order to get likes on Facebook, Instagram etc is not natural. The hunger to get “Nice DP” comments on social media is by no means a sign of freedom.

How else do you explain the need to wear heels? They are medically proven to be a torture on your back and dangerous for our spine, legs, ankles… and also highly uncomfortable to walk in. Yet, we wear it because we have been made to believe that they make us look and feel sexy.

The need to wear push-up bra is not liberating but a kind of mental slavery served as ‘sexiness’, for we women must perk up our breasts as per male desire. This is not freedom by any means if inspite of breaking the glass ceiling, we still have to resort to use that very same glass as a mirror to see ourselves and try to satisfy the long established concepts of beauty.

Concepts that were conceptualized by men in first place.

A flawed idea of freedom, defined by the male gaze

This is not the freedom we must seek for it is nothing but a smokescreen. If we still have to worry about how tight our thighs look in a denim, or how in vogue our hairstyle is as per the current fashion trend, or how my breasts are perfectly fitting the shallow ideals of this society, then we have achieved as much freedom as a lion who has been transferred from the cage in a circus to an enclosure in a zoo.

The real freedom, lies in being free in the wild. Where the hair are messy but the happiness is perfect. Where I can brew my own coffee and sit down to sip it leisurely, planning my next destination without an iota of worry if I am fitting in with the cosmetic benchmarks of what is a successful woman.

Freedom is where I can walk into a store in pyjamas because I am comfortable in it, and buy myself whatever I want with my own hard earned money.

Freedom is when I will be judged at my office on basis of my work and not on the smell of my perfume.

Freedom when I don’t have to marry because the society expects me to but only if and when I feel the need to.

True freedom will be achieved when we will be in actual control of our lives with no pressure to conform to the wants of the world.

Freedom lies in being unconventional and exploring the world on my terms and as per my schedule. This is what feminism sought for us, and this is what we all must seek. Equality in true sense. Freedom in its purest form.

“She felt that shackle wither into dust, and the bars of society disappeared,
Her ship was sailing in her own ocean, and she alone to commandeer.”

Image source: a still from the film Piku

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