Woman : More than a "Last Name Branded" property!
08 Nov 2016
It wasn’t long before Anita knew she was a responsibility rather than being considered as someone who could take her own and other’s responsibility.
She was raised with immense care and efforts, but not as individual. She was brought up learning etiquettes but not independence. Perhaps, she was raised to be a ‘good girl’.
One fine day, Anita was married "off". The marriage rituals were all centred around her husband.
After marriage, her husband now calls the major shots in family. Where to go, what car to buy, what investments to do are of course controlled by him.
Even decisions for Anita, are only made after there is his approval.
Even though Anita is an engineer herself but to send away money to her mother or to buy things for herself are things she can’t do! A full grown individual, still feels she is a property with a different label today as her Surname!
Unfortunately there is an Anita in most of us. The Indian woman have been owned like other materials with an assumption that we don’t have opinions or ideas. Alas, for Anita, it is as if the house never belonged to her; it is as if she did not belong to herself. This state has become so obvious that we don’t even realize it, leave questioning it.
However, This treatment, it continues to have deep impact on us in subtle unnoticeable ways.
·Low Expectations from Self and Others- we grow up having difficulty in raising our opinions or arguing for our rights because we assume that these are the things to be granted and not demanded. Hence, we take whatever rights and privileges we get and learn to be content in it.
·Forced Priorities- perhaps, we automatically tend to make the family a priority of our life and end up losing ourselves in their care and needs. This aspect, sadly, works automatically and is not a thoughtful decision, which is also the reason why most women feel depressed because they never ‘thought’ of it.
·Undue Anxiety- the heightened emotional and financial dependency makes us feel stuck and lost rather too often. We tend to be so dependent on others that we need them for our smallest decisions or require them to assure us about our choices and decisions.
·Feeling Discontent- a life spent trying to be the perfect daughter/ sister/ wife/ mother leaves no space to do justice to oneself. It is as if one has to constantly perform and suffice others. This makes us overlook what we really are and what we want. Perhaps, gradually the tangible reasons vanish but a feeling of unhappiness and discontent prevails.
Depression and Dysthymia: The shallow conditions and constant second grade treatment slowly pushed the woman in her own shell, in a cocoon that then engulfs her. Depression becomes a living reality. However depression is a deadly disorder. People with untreated depression are likely to die early, lead unhealthy and unproductive lives and are more prone to heart attacks and brain strokes later in life.
There are many things that play a role in making women more of a material than a person. Some of the reasons include:
· Culture- the culture assumes how women should be and enforces this idea firmly. Perhaps, any attempt of being different from the cultural ideal is considered shameful. Alas, women tend to comply by the ideologies of the Indian culture.
· Society- while it is a vast and dynamic space, but the unstated norms and bias continue to be more favorable to men and lately, also women who are associated to men in terms of daughters or wives. Thereby, the identity of the women continues to revolve around the men.
· Internalized duties- Since we have seen our mothers and most of other women sincerely performing the roles of a wife or sister, we come to see that as the only way of being. It becomes obvious to us and we forget to question the way we are treated and viewed.
· Superficial Changes- sadly the society is moving towards a change in women right and growth; however, the change is essentially superficial because the women are still expected to be a relational being. In other words, the superficial changes make things appear better and we do not realize the real situation.
Perhaps, individuals, families and society together play a massive role in making the women appear no more than a material to be owned, decorated and presented.
The loop continues mostly because we don’t realize its presence in our everyday lives. However, certain things women can do to own up to their lives include:
· Break the Silence- this necessarily does not mean fight for your rights; rather negotiating and expressing one’s thoughts and ideas is essential and one must not restraint from the same.
·Be financially independent- as difficult it may seem but being financially independent enhances one’s self esteem and one begins to perceive oneself in a better way. This grows the ability to believe in oneself.
·Form house rules- certain things are simply nonnegotiable; such as abusive language or discrimination. The woman should be able to make rules about things that should not happen at any cost and make others follow them too. For instance, the house rule of ‘no abusive language’ is a great indication that the woman is also a person with rights and expectations and not to be treated like an object.
·Love yourself- if you cannot believe in yourself and love yourself the way you are, then there is no way that you can demand respect from others. Know your strengths and accept your weaknesses; do not let anyone put you down.
·Get into Therapy- the realization of being nothing more than an object is painful and discomforting. We do not want to be like this but we also do not want to give up everything. Perhaps, it is a state of confusion that is best shared with someone who won’t judge you and help you see where you are and what you want.
Simon De Beauvoir once said, “Nobody is born a woman; we are raised a woman”. Perhaps, the people and circumstances around us raise us in a certain righteous way. However, it would not be a moment of regret, only if, we know the difference between a thinking mind and an object.
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