The Burden of Womanhood
Nothing really can be defined in exact terms. Everything is a discourse. Now to define terms like burden, women, womanhood etc. can vary from person to person and context to context, in fact, it will even vary from perception to perception. So, the dictionary does describe woman as an adult human female distinguished from a man or a girl. So, to set the record straight, women are distinguished from men. Is it a bad thing though?
Now, when you are looking for womanhood, it says the state or time of being a woman or the qualities thought to be appropriate or representative of a woman. Who decides what qualities are appropriate though? And what if someone who isn’t a woman wants to embrace womanhood? Isn’t womanhood simply a label that has been created by human beings? Is womanhood only meant for women?
The dictionary has the most abstract meaning of a burden. Something that is difficult to carry. A feeling or an emotion that is difficult to bear. A stress or a worry....
The definitions and meanings are so absurd in nature that it is hard to understand it in exactness. Yet, is exactness a necessity? The exactness of woman or man; is that necessary? If social implications are to be believed, yes, they are. The society preaches that woman and womanhood fit into their perception of the norm. The society also preaches that not just woman but man, children, marriage, ideals etc. also fit into their perception of the norm.
Now, something as simple as perceptions of the norm leads to social injustice. When you stop lovers from making love, it is social injustice. When you force people to cover their body, it is social injustice. When you create chaos and eventually riots in the name of religion, it is social injustice. When you stop a man from cooking and a woman from riding a bike, it is social injustice. When you tell a person, to take it lying down from their spouse, it is social injustice. The plethora of social injustice is so huge that it could be an endless one. However, is it necessary to induce social injustice?
Coming to women, women have been denied the right to choose their own clothes, the right to vote, the right to think, right to education...one can go on and on. Have men been denied these rights? The upper class white man, no but black men, tribes, men from the poorer section of the society, yes!
Does feminism care about them? Well, yes, feminism is about equal rights and it does. Somehow feminism says equal rights for women and not equal rights for all and this is where it goes awry and turns to a gender war.
Feminism says equal rights for women because women were treated as unequal in the past, so they wanted equality for themselves and hence, they said equal rights for women. However, it is understood as privileges for women as the name can easily mislead anyone who doesn’t know what exactly the feminist movement is talking about.
It is often argued that feminism is no longer needed. Well, how true is it even for the upper class woman? How true is it for someone with all the power in the world? Doesn’t Katy Parry need feminism? Doesn’t Rihanna need feminism? Doesn’t the woman who both works and runs the house need feminism? Feminism or as I choose to call it, equality is the need of the day for both rural and urban women and men these days. Just like the man who is a victim of domestic violence, the woman who is a victim of domestic violence also needs help. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the need for feminism (using it in place of equality or equal rights because the term feminism is sadly more commonplace) in all settings.
A woman in rural areas is made to believe that she is inferior to men and she should breed herself to be a good bride etc. very openly. However, it isn’t like it doesn’t happen in urban households. When the girl is repeatedly told if she does so and so thing, no one will marry her, you make her believe something is wrong with her. When you tell her to wear certain clothes, behave in a certain way, sit in a certain way etc. you are in fact breeding the city girl to be a good bride.
However, aren’t we all in it? We don’t just breed the woman but we also breed the man. We ask him to man up, not cry, and tell him this is not becoming of a man and so on. We are all responsible for creating the mess and we are all to be blamed. It is now our responsibility to clean up this mess we have created.
It is when we all together irrespective of our gender, caste and creed, race and colour, join hands with clean hearts and no hatred that we shall succeed. It is then that there will be equal hullabaloo on the 19th of November and the 8th of March. It is then that we shall celebrate LGBT Day, Men’s Day and Women’s day with equal joy.
It is then that questions like why there isn’t a men’s day and why do women want a separate day shall not be raised. It is then that we shall all celebrate humanity and the existence of the universe and our existence in it. It is then that the men won’t be angry at the women and vice versa. It is then that we shall all be equal in our differences. For, none is the weaker sex; we are all different individuals to be treated in similar fashion on a scale of equality.
Do I want to celebrate my womanhood? Hell, yes!