WHAT ARE YOU? WOMAN OR A HUMAN?
“Women we are and women we will be.”
Despite the fact we maneuver through our clients at office, deliver a presentation on launching our company's product, stay armored and hold the award of glory against the thousands of back-biting and office politics while keeping ourselves informed whether our child reached home safely from school, whether they had their lunch on time, what kind of a day our spouses are having and being there with words of support whenever required, planning for the dinner which is the only time we get to see our families together and have a conversation about how each of their day was like, cleaning the dishes, tucking our children and later be the comforting buddy of our spouses in bed, we are women, only women, not humans.
Now, you smell feminism here, don't you? I am nothing but a creature of feminine gender talking about the social injustice to my own kind saying, 'Oh this is not fair! We deserve more! Right?
Now what if I said, “We don't need more. All we need is a little less.”
We surely have come a long way from the time Hitler uttered, ‘Women should be restricted to three things: kinder, küche, kirche (which means children, kitchen, church).From the sweaty job of being the kitchen lord, her journey to be lord of all things began.
In today's world, you have the duty to be an efficient employee, a professional peer with an image of polished looking Audrey Hepburn, a caring and yet disciplinarian mother, a modest and understanding daughter-in-law and wife and hundreds of other little but not negligible roles I've missed mentioning.
Considering you and your husbands are working parents, to what extent will you be judged harsher than your spouse, if you cannot attend a family event or your dear child's performance on stage due to being caught up at work?
Most people will be sympathetic to him and won't point their fingers, but you, being the mother of the child, will be on the dock, either by the people around you, or by your very own conscience. These rules get extremely difficult to carry out if you are a woman pursuing a degree to get ahead with you career, or if you are in a career where presence of women is quite rare. Here are some examples for your enlightenment.
Miss A (identity has been kept secret to value interviewee's privacy), a hardworking and aspiring young lady, who has been working as a government employee in a sector which is, till this day, reigned by men, shares her experience of physical harassment during the first year of her job saying, "For some seconds, I froze, and could not believe what just happened with me. I was not in a crowd of men, was not on the threatening dark narrow lanes of the city and not at a concert, but was at a place which should have been one of the safest ones known to me. “After being asked what her reaction was to such treatment,” she responded, “I preferred to keep quiet about this matter, not because I felt shy or guilty for another man’s action, but because I wanted to escape all the stares and preferred to fulfill my professional duties without interruption. Barriers are everywhere in my journey and I did not want to add another in the list. I cannot welcome something so unhealthy that would stake my work. I worked hard to reach here and I intend to go further.”
The next day after the occurrence of this incident, Miss A walks in to find out someone, who not only witnessed the incident secretly but also took the responsibility of publicizing it, approached Miss A trying to convince her to write an application against the culprit, as that man belonged to his opposition party- parties that are run to elect employee representatives who communicates to the office management board- in simpler words 'Office Politics'.
Miss A declined the request as standing against an entire party of men would have put her on a tightrope walk and the last thing she wanted. Miss A shares, as a starter in was almost nerve wrecking to stand in a room of 20-25 men, explaining how exactly you were humiliated and disapproving to let your experience get used for someone else's favour and putting your security at risk. She has been bold amidst such treatment and now stand as a person deserving further respect at her workplace.
Miss S is among the hundreds of other women working for our financial institutions in the country. She's loud and expressive and a woman in authority of making hundred others work. She expresses how her mother-in-law would speak of concentrating more at household chores rather her career. She is expected to prepare afternoon snacks, dinner after being back from work, clean her house, wash the dishes and clothes, feed her children, etc. Picturing her like the hindu goddess Durga wasn't much hard. But then questions arise. Is this what our predecessors have signed up for? For having superficial freedom, didn't we allow society to bind us with more and more restraints?
Our world has burdened us with its self-graven image of a desirable woman and as women, we are genetically more reactive to men's attention and praise. Complications arise when we are ready to sacrifice our individuality over objective appraisals and put a lot of our effort to imitate that image rather than learning to appreciate the natural image we are already blessed with. 53% of 13-year-old American girls are unhappy with their bodies, which grows to 78% by the time they are 17. 75% of 'normal' weight women of our world think they are overweight and 90% of women overestimate their body size. When men's image is standardized, social and financial stability, power of authority he holds in society, his academics and such more subjective matters are counted. Hence why are we shut in zero sized unrealistic, modified figures of the models on our electronic screens?
Let's be a little sensible. Your life does not revolve around the scarce piece of cloth worn either by a model of Victoria's Secret or by Dipika Padukone's tattered obes in the bollywood hit Lovely. They have practiced and prepared for over days and months to make those photo shoots and cinematography work, along with hours of rest in-between. It is the profession they live by, you are not in a profession as such and if you are, then good heavens, look at Tess Munster, the plus sized model, for some inspiration. Her story is breaking the norms and challenging the world's standardization of woman to a higher magnitude. If you have decided to influence other humans through you body, it's respectable and encouraging to rather see someone being benevolent and make positive changes than one who completely disappoints. We need less of those unhealthy practices.
To say on another note, the Bollywood women you observe head to toe every day, buy the clothes promoted by them and try to reach the physical standards established by them are the sole victims of gender discrimination. As records say they always are honorees with half the payment of their male leads. Although Bollywood actresses have proven to make business without male leads, through films like Kahaani and Queen, this matter stays unresolved and not-so-talked-about. The struggle, as it seems, is not and must not be with our exo-shell of skin and flesh we have been born and blessed with but beyond this.
Only then, we can, may be one day, be called one of the two significant kinds of humans and not just a woman. Do not understand me wrong in this- I do value and cherish my womanhood. However, I think, if we could be burdened a little less, just a little less, more of us would reach higher altitudes, which as a human being is our vital right.
Despite such presentation of ventures and examples, it is us, you and me, who can practice being firstly a human, and a secondly a woman, special of her kind.
After all women like Emelia Earheart and Kalpana Chawla stand their head high in history of humans, not the mannequin-like figures from your underwear store.