If you look back at Indian society’s progress over the last many decades, you may feel proud of how far we have come in terms of women empowerment. From restricting women to their homes, forbidding them to step outside, or limiting their prospects in education, to being okay with women in the workspace and slowly warming up to the idea of gender equality, we have come a long way. But that doesn’t mean we get a gold star on our report card just yet. It is 2020 and there are a lot many things that continue to scandalise our society, which should have been normalised long ago. When will society be okay with a bra strap peeking out of a woman’s top, for instance? Or when will its obsession with virginity end? Why does pre-marital sex remain a taboo?
Here is a list of 11 things that scandalise our sanskaari society, and we wish it would just stop, and learn to mind its own business.
Bra- strap being visible
The whole world stops its tracks when your bra-strap is visible. Everyone knows that you are wearing a bra, you know that you are wearing a bra. Still, when your bra-strap is visible you can see people talking in hushed tones. Then somebody comes and just whispers, “Your strap is visible, theek karo.”
Yes, my strap is visible, what’s the big deal? It just shows that I am wearing a bra, to support my breasts. It is a garment, can you stop turning red over it?
Choosing to not have a child
Why is it so other-worldly for people around you when you choose not to have a child. It just feels like having a child is mandatory if you want to be accepted as a respectable member of society. Everybody is after your life, your relatives, friends acquaintances asking the same thing. When are you planning to have a child? Is there nothing more to a woman’s life than embracing motherhood? Shouldn’t the decision to have a baby or not be a matter of choice, than social and familial obligation?
Everybody is after your life, your relatives, friends acquaintances asking the same thing. When are you planning to have a child? Is there nothing more to a woman’s life than embracing motherhood?
Not being a virgin before marriage
Indian society is obsessed with women’s virginity. It goes without saying that a prospective bride is expected to be sanskaari, and clearly, sanskaari girls don’t have sex before marriage. Can society stop treated our bodies as property, that is to be treated and safeguarded by different families? As adults, don’t we have the right to choose? The right to live our life on our terms? Why must we feel ashamed of our desires?
Not knowing how to cook
Cooking is a life skill that every person should have irrespective of gender. It is not rocket science, and it comes handy when you have no one to care for you, or if you are stuck alone at home like many people are right now. But for women, it is mandatory to not just know how to cook, but to be good at it. A woman who openly says that she doesn’t know how to cook or dislikes to do the chore is shamed by our society. I can cook to fill my belly, but why am I expected to toil in the kitchen day and night, all on my own, just because of my gender? It is unacceptable in 2020 to expect women of the household to do this chore all on their own.
Wearing short clothes
Wearing short or “provocative” clothes has been touted by many as a reason why women get sexually mistreated. Wearing whatever she wants to wear is equated to asking for it. The fact here is that clothes are not in any way related to consent and sex. A woman wearing a revealing dress isn’t asking for it. So stop using it to defend predatory behaviour.
The fact here is that clothes are not in any way related to consent and sex.
An older woman having a relationship
Any woman who is in her 30s and above is judged for having a relationship and not having settled down. Single, divorced, separated, widowed, women who live on their own after a certain age, are subjected to intense scrutiny by society and “advised” to find a man and “settle down”.
Not wanting to get married
While men are expected to focus on their career and achievement, women are supposed to find a suitable groom, get married, produce children and focus on caring for their family. Even women who work are expected to treat their careers as secondary to their family life. So when women choose not to marry at all, society doesn’t know how to process this decision. What will such a woman do with her life? Well, she’ll travel the world, become successful, and buy a car and house for herself. Who said a single woman cannot be happy? Shouldn’t you rather not marry untill you find a compatible partner, rather than being in an unhappy marriage?
Live-in relationships still remain unacceptable in Indian society. The simple idea of two people testing if the relationship can work out seems scandalous to our society. Isn’t it better to test your compatibility with a person, before entering a life-long relationship with them?
Despite being decriminalised, people still haven’t been able to come to terms with homosexuality. They still don’t understand that everyone has different sexual orientations and it is normal. It is still so difficult for people to come out not because they are not sure but because they have to consider the social consequences. No person should have to live in fear of repercussions because of their sexual identity. Whileiwe have doen away with Section 377 how long will it take to rid our minds of prejudice?
Pregnancy outside of marriage
Having a child is a gift but only when you are married, says our society. A gift is a gift no matter what the circumstances are. What matters is that a pregnancy is a wanted one and it is the woman’s choice to embrace motherhood, out of her own free will. Why must society treat a pregnancy differently if there is no marriage in the picture? If a woman is willing to bring up a child on her own, or if a couple wants to be parents, but not legally wedded, why should their choice based on their convenience bother us?
Casual sex and dating
Casual sex is a concept our society simply refuses to understand. Any woman who has multiple sexual partners, or is in open relationships, or has casual sex is labeled as sluts, while men doing the same are called studs. Can we just do away with these labels? Casual sex isn’t a sign of immorality but a lack of willingness to commit to a relationship. There could be multiple reasons for that. Perhaps a woman is not ready to settle down. Perhaps she wants to focus on her career. the reason that should matter to us is that this is her choice. This is how she wants to live her life, and we have no right to judge her.
Shreya is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.