Patriarchy Ensures That Women Feel Small For Prioritising Themselves
Patriarchy at it again! If one is still uninitiated as to how patriarchy works in our society, here’s an example. Going through Twitter I happened to read a thread in which a woman has posted that she has secured a full scholarship along with living expenses to pursue her Master’s in education from a top university in London. And when she told people about it what she heard in response was bewildering. Their response was a variation of “But what about the kids. Your husband?” she writes.
Are we surprised? No.
- A Twitter thread gives a lesson on how patriarchy works in our society.
- A woman who secured a full scholarship along with living expenses to pursue her Master’s in education from a top university is told “but what about the kids.”
- Why don’t we as a society not let women feel pride in their achievements?
- Why don’t we allow women to put themselves and their dreams and aspirations ahead of family?
- How many ask a woman how will she manage the kids and household if the husband gets a job, why are people so interested in knowing how will the kids and husband manage without the woman?
Why can’t we accept the fact that women have brains and choose to use it too like men, that a woman can have dreams and ambition too like a man and has the right to pursue them, and marriage and kids are no hindrances? In fact the discussion should have been the other way round on how a woman despite being married and being a mother is taking the plunge. We should be congratulating this woman instead look at what the society made her do…
Why can’t we accept the fact that women have brains and choose to use it too like men that a woman can have dreams and ambition too like a man and has the right to pursue them and marriage and kids are no hindrances.
I was surprised to read further that after hearing discouraging responses, she told her husband that they should just tell people that he got a job in London instead and so the family is moving to London for a year. According to her this was in a way a good social experiment as she says she saw a drastic change in people’s response, now not even one person who they informed of the husband’s “job” in London asked about the kids or the wife. Instead they were about 100 times more enthusiastic about the husband’s job and most turned to her and said “good, now you can take a break and look after the children for a year. You anyway work too much. London is a great opportunity for him.”
I feel so much for this woman when she says now she automatically tells people that the husband’s job is taking him to London and in the meanwhile she will also try to get a Master’s if time permits after kids. She must really be tired of justifying to each and everyone that she is in fact not a horrible mother. If a woman is able to stretch herself after fulfilling all her ‘wifely’ and ‘motherly’ duties (as if all family responsibilities is only that of a woman) and plans to study or work. I fail to understand what is the problem in that?
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May I take the liberty to ask why it is okay for a man to take off for education or for a job leaving behind his wife to look after the children and the elderly of the family? I can feel for this woman and understand her frustration.
Why it is okay for a man to take off for education or for a job leaving behind his wife to look after the children and the elderly of the family?
The woman literally cries out in frustration in the next tweet. She says she did not have any time to actually revel in her achievements or feel happy of finally realising her dream of getting a Master’s degree because every single person she had mentioned this to had replied, “But kids? Who will take care of them?” We revel in pulling down women, especially mothers, don’t we? As if a mother doesn’t carry enough mom guilt, for not getting the homework done on time, for not making the kids look squeaky clean and tidy, or for not planning their lunch boxes, sometimes even if the kids fall and hurt themselves it’s the mother’s fault, haven’t we seen that playing out enough in our families? Of course in such a scenario women will be made to feel selfish for accepting a prestigious scholarship or admission in a top class institution or for accepting a job in an MNC. Her move will be made out to be a selfish choice no mother should make.
Or a woman will be told that she is highly privileged if she is able to pursue her higher studies and realise her dream not because of her individual merit but because financially, socially, emotionally, relationship-wise, support-wise everything has worked for her.
Why don’t we as a society not let women feel pride in their achievements, why don’t we allow women to put themselves and their dreams and aspirations ahead of their family? Coming back to this woman she had to let go of her pride in her achievement even when she was taking the kids and husband along with her for a year to pursue her Master’s.
One important fact that needs to be scrutinised here is, how many ask a woman how will she manage the kids and household if the husband gets a job.
One important fact that needs to be scrutinised here is, how many ask a woman how will she manage the kids and household if the husband gets a job, why are people so interested in knowing how will the kids and husband manage without the woman? If women are pivotal to a family’s sustenance even then she is not given her due.
She is crushing in her analysis when she says that irrespective of how supportive a woman’s husband/in laws are, irrespective of how supportive her closest friends/relatives are, patriarchy will make sure that woman feel small for prioritising herself over others and unfortunately women listen to that voice the most. How true, we women tend to look to others for validation for every step we take. Can we for a change do what we feel is the right step for ourselves and not for our spouses, kids and families. Can we stand up for ourselves for a change?
It is a sad fact but true that women who are full of potential kill their ambition and dreams not because they do not have the calibre but because of “what will happen to the kids and husband”!
Thanks @Full_Meals for putting words in my mouth literally and for opening our eyes to how patriarchy works in our society!
Smita Singh is an editor with SheThePeople.TV team. The views expressed are her own.