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Even today, our society criticises a married woman for everything she does – right from the way she dresses to her career choices!
The married woman in the stereotypical Indian society is considered to be the idol of ‘stoicism’ She is someone who should wordlessly adjust to everything and display every proof of her being married to every person (read: stranger) in her immediate vicinity.
As a married woman, you’re not supposed to voice your opinions or express your dissatisfaction about anything. If you refute any opinion you do not like, you will be regarded as the rambunctious girl who has not been raised at par with the virtues (or vices, that’s a relative concept though) of Indian society. Thus, making you a totally uncultured and rebellious woman. In some cases, your parents might also have to bear the brunt of instilling the right values in you.
As a married woman, you shall always be at the mercy of others, irrespective of your educational qualification or your career. Your career shall always be subject to the scrutiny of others. If you’re lucky enough you might even be granted ‘permission’ to work post marriage, provided you succumb to certain conditions.
Now, mind you, some people have never heard of the term ‘gender equality.’ So if you think of schooling them for their regressive thinking, you will be labelled headstrong and obstinate. Additionally, you will be told you are an over-ambitious know-it-all.
As a married woman, you can never afford to return home late, even if your work demands so. You are answerable to everyone because you are a married woman who is lucky (or unlucky) enough to be granted ‘permission’ to pursue her dreams.
As a married woman, if you resume work post motherhood, you are most likely to be called a ‘heartless or a stone-hearted mother.’ I mean really? Our maternal feelings ain’t for display.
As a married woman, you are ‘never’ supposed to have ‘me time.’ The day you get married, it’s no brainer that you in all your senses shall be dedicating your entire life for others and only others. Your desires, your dreams stand null and void in the wake of your transformation from Ms to Mrs. Now you will be placed on a pedestal by everyone. You will be ‘adorned’ with titles like ‘adarsh bahu’ (ideal daughter-in-law) or a ‘pavitra nari‘ (a virtuous wife)
We’ve been conditioned to try and adjust. How much will we adjust? Over there hovers a humongous question mark. Society puts pressure on women to live up to the expectations of being the perfect wife/daughter-in-law or mother.
The concept of ‘perfect’ is non-existent. It’s easy to judge but difficult to understand since understanding needs patience and willingness to create a notion of something new! Though we know ‘Through judging, we separate, through understanding we grow,’ we never try and implement it in our own lives.
Married women are expected to work incessantly catering to their family’s needs without complaining. The chores done by women often go unnoticed, unpaid and even unaccounted. While gender roles are changing constantly, women are still expected to do the ‘additional work.’ This is quite often the work that is constantly placed on to her along with her identity as a ‘married woman.’
We may still have to tread a long path to be able to see the change in the patriarchal mindset of the people. However, we have certainly come a long way from where we once were and I believe that calls for a celebration.
Picture credits: Still from Hindi TV series Saath Nibhana Saathiya 2
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