‘Woman, Know Your Place!’ – The Ultimate Guide To Keeping Women In Line

It is high time that women truly understood their worth and place in society, and rightfully claimed it for their own good.

Albert Einstein pretty much nailed it when he said, “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

The crazy-haired genius was being eloquent about a facet of human nature that doesn’t really deserve that sort of consideration.

As an extension of this strange predilection, it’s in our nature to put things in their place and most people, in particular, simply cannot resist putting a woman in her place.

Women are criticised no matter what they do

She could be doing something as innocuous as plucking flowers to something as important as leading a nation. God forbid if she is a confident and outspoken one to boot. For them, that’s the final, extra seeti on an overcooked dal! Unacceptable!

An accomplished friend recently put up a post about being her own inspiration, and bas! She was inundated with comments about her lack of modesty and being arrogant, self-obsessed, and a poor role model. Since when did being your own champion instead of relying on someone else become an emblem of conceit? Left up to these folks, they would change Maybelline’s tagline to ‘I CAN be worth it, but let me try harder!’

Women have been silenced throughout history

For centuries now, women have been conditioned by society to stay in line, and not come across as proud or overassertive. Even speaking of your accomplishments or promoting yourself and your work will land you in the socially ostracised mandali of the ‘proudy’ women.

Psychologists have long examined the undeniable effects of this constant badgering and questioning of self and our abilities. It leads to what is now commonly known as imposter syndrome, something that is compounded by the fact that women are innately born with issues of self-doubt and self-worth. The antecedents of this phenomenon can be traced back to the 1970s when it was believed to be prevalent primarily amongst high-achieving women. It’s no surprise then that the bold ones, the clever ones, those who had dreams, who basically chose to step out of the line and far beyond were the ones left questioning everything they stood for.

“Bicycle face” – really?!

Have you ever heard of the term ‘Bicycle face?’ It was a term coined by doctors in the late 18th century describing a condition that largely affected women as a consequence of riding bicycles. (No, I didn’t just make this up. I promise.) This ‘ailment’, born of excessive bicycle riding led to flushed faces, dark circles, uneven skin tone, and other problems which could even alter the way you looked! It was nothing but a tactic to get women to stay indoors instead of experiencing the freedom and flexibility of life offered to them through the ease and mobility of bicycles. Years later, many doctors challenged the very premise of this ‘condition’ and the sufferers, or Bicycle facees, so to speak, heaved a sigh of relief. Can you see how easy it is to manipulate women back into the cages built for them?

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So many years later, in every pocket of the world, we are still suffering from many unnamed maladies that are born at the confluence of our own insecurities and the rule book of society. Outspoken women across the fields of entertainment, politics, business, literature, and even home makers continue to be targeted for their choices and most of the time without any provocation.

What we need to do now

Isn’t it time that some fortification began in the foundational home space even before our little ones stepped out into the world and dealt with the minefield of psychological warfare and gender biases? That job is ours. I read an article recently where a doctor recommended that we should start the day by standing in front of the mirror and proclaim that we love ourselves. At least 10 times. We might not believe it the first 7 times, but by the end of it even if we can truly accept and absorb it even once before we get on with the day, that’s already an arsenal in the bag.

Whether it is being mansplained to (even by women, mind you) in the kitchen, the home, the office, the bedroom, we all are battle-hardened veterans already. All we need to do is ensure that we keep eating into those invisible lines that have been drawn all around us like a web, to contain us. It’s not about a rabid revolution but a mundane and frequent denial of towing the line. In fact, its about consciously walking through the line, one step at a time, so far, that we are beyond the reach of censure, conventions and labels. Like Priyanka Chopra Jonas very eloquently explained, ‘Haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate, rotis gonna rotate, you do you!’

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About the Author

Richa S Mukherjee

Richa is a Ted X speaker, an award-winning writer, columnist, ex-journalist and advertising professional. She has authored four books of which three are being adapted for screen. She is a blogger and travel read more...

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