Why Does Being A 'Rule Breaker' Woman Come With A Cost?

Walking on an unconventional path is never easy. You have to not only fight with society but with your parents too. No doubt the fight with social norms breaks you down but when parents are there to hold your back, you get the will to stand up again.

Rudrani Gupta
New Update
Hina Khan

I used to be a science student. Participating in science quizzes and olympiads to scoring the highest marks- science became a matter of pride for me and my family. However, life took a turn when I started writing diaries. The words, the format and the flow of the writing hooked me in and made me happier than I ever was. Soon, I started losing interest in science when I scribbled poems at the back of my books. My parents who had huge dreams for me were shattered when I said I wanted to become a writer. 

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
                             -Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

A personal anecdote

Writing was always a medium to express myself, especially the emotions that I suppressed due to social stigmas. Naturally, it became an escape from the reality and then the reality itself. Today, I am a writer with lots of articles, poems and short stories credited to my name. But am I happy? Unfortunately not. I did justice to the younger me who dreamt of being a writer. But I had to sacrifice my relationship with my parents whom I consider my entire world. Till today, they haven't accepted writing as a career. Whenever I see my articles published or receive complements for my writing, I feel happy as all the fights seem worth it.   


Not even once did they say "I am proud of you". It is not just my parents, my relatives and the entire town consider me useless and unemployed. They giggle and deny when I try to explain my career. "It is not going to help you survive", "It is destroying your mind", "It is useless", "It is a hobby, not a career" or "Does that even exist?" I get to hear things like this every day and yet wish that someday I will prove myself right.

Breaking rules comes with a huge cost   

Walking on an unconventional path is never easy. You have to not only fight with society but with your parents. No doubt the fight with social norms breaks you down but when parents are there to hold your back, you get the will to stand up again. No matter how many differences and disagreements we might have with our parents, their presence and their appreciation are unmatchable. But unfortunately, parents are a part of the society too. They have also grown up conforming to the same social norms. So it is unimaginable for them to visualise and witness a life that is different. 

Indian actor Hina Khan also faced the same struggle. While speaking to Shaili Chopta, founder of SheThePeople and, Khan said that she belongs to a very conservative family in Srinagar where anyone who belongs to the entertainment industry is considered "wrong". However, Khan broke the rules of her familial expectations at every stage of her life. From going out to study and balancing her studies with work to becoming one of the highest-paid actors on Indian television. 

Hina Khan talks about the lack of familial support 


Talking about the opinion of her family on her career, Khan said, "I fought to be an actor. I would credit my father for always being by my side like a rock. He was the only one who supported me. Otherwise, my family and my extended family are still against it. They don't talk to me, they don't talk to my mother. And of course the mindset of the place I come from, it is difficult when I don't get acknowledgement, the due recognition and appreciation what my contemporaries or my co-actors get who come from different places. The way they are welcomed in their home state, I don't get that."

When asked why after winning so many accolades, the lack of familial support bothers her, Khan took a pause and said, "It does. The place where you are born, the place where you grew up. the place that is very close to your get all the accolades and appreciation from all over the world, but you miss that (familial appreciation). You do. It is hurtful; it is disheartening when you don't get that appreciation and acknowledgement from the place you belong to. I feel bad. It is like a piece is missing."

Hina Khan, who has everything to live a lavish life, still struggles to get acceptance into her family. How can common people like us win our family's hearts by breaking the rules? 

Breaking the rules doesn't depend on privilege

Hina Khan firmly believes that everyone breaks the rules. It is not dependent on privilege. This means that breaking the rules requires willpower and dedication, not money and power. In our society, many people who go against their families are considered privileged because their parents are not that strict and 'allowed' them to break the social norms. But that is not right. Privilege can give you a soft mattress to lie on but it can't give you the strength to fight the social norms. It comes from within when the fog of conditioning starts to clear. In fact, people who are privileged are more dependent on their parents which makes the battle even more tough. Of course, those who aren't as privileged have to overcome the double challenge of familial expectations and economic subjugation. 

We are different, but still your blood


But dear parents, standing by and speaking up for our life choices is not disobedience or disrespect. It is the basic right of every human. Just because you brought us up, you cannot make decisions for us when we can make it on our own. Please understand that no matter how different our mindsets and choices are, our love for you will remain the same. We will still run back to you if you shed tears or fall sick. And we wish we could expect the same from you.

Views expressed are the author's own. 

Hina Khan breaking social norms parents