Freedom and Women


Sadly, as a society, we live by denial. A romantic lot that loves its women on a pedestal- A Goddess. Or in Ads where it is the primary concern of ONLY women to ensure clean toilets at home, sparkling vessels, stiff-clean uniforms for the kids, low-cholesterol oil to cook a tasty meal for the entire family and serve standing at the dining table, envy the sparkling white clothes drying on the neighbor’s clothes line, worry-sick over husband’s life insurance, feel disappointed that the evening date has gone for a toss because the hubby returns home tired simply because she did not nurture him enough with a cuppa Horlicks (ok, some drink or sun flower oil!) and such matters of earth-shattering importance. It is assumed that these are the most pressing matters on a woman’s mind. If by any chance she creates a ruckus over something trivial (and if you didn’t know, most of the issues she raises are trivial!), it is because she is PMS-ing. In fact this knowledge too is limited among us. After all, why should PMS-ing interfere with behavior? We surely have seen people (both, men and women) deny seeing such symptoms in their moms, aunts, sisters, grandmas..

We can hope for a tiny bit of change if we first start acknowledging there is a problem. The problem being that the definition of freedom is different for women from that of men. What would you define as freedom for a woman today?

To me, true freedom is

– not in being able to stay single because you want to. It is when you don’t have to put up a fight to stay by your decision and are not judged based on your status – single, married, divorced, live-in, anything!

– not in a woman being able to go out and work at odd hours or even reach home safely. It is, when the parents, parents-in-law, or the spouse don’t welcome her with hostility and guilt-trip her.

– not in a husband sharing the household chores, but only when it is not done as a ‘favor’.

– not in just being able to report an abuse or rape, but only when the guilty are punished instead of guilt-tripping the woman.

– not in just being able to study in a co-education institute or work in a male-dominated environment, but only when you don’t have a moral police telling you when to leave, how to dress, whom you can work with, when to call, when to receive one and from whom.

– not in being able to drive your car or ride on your bike, but when a collective society does not make a loose, irresponsible comment of how women can NEVER get this one thing right.

– not in a man ‘agreeing’ to stay nuclear post marriage, but only when the woman is not expected to fall at his feet and worship for bestowing such a huge favour on her!

– not in women and men co-existing in an environment, shouldering similar responsibilities, but only when the cliched, sexist jokes, supposedly funny, ceases. Not because I think it lacks in humor (it does anyway!). Its just the extent of irony in those and the sheer mockery. Yes, we still find it funny that a man cooks a meal in some homes. A tiny cut/bruise/late attendance at work by the man, is attributed to a good thrashing from the wife. The only good sense that prevails here is that the one relaying the joke is aware that it can only be a joke.

And am not even talking about the serious physical abuses and offenses here! Some of us just get lucky.