Breakups are harsh. But they are brutal for both men and women. However, in our society, women are judged more harshly for the number of failed relationships they might have to their name. What’s more, the number of breakups also becomes a hallmark of their character. A woman is slut-shamed if she has had more than one boyfriend. How is this fair?
The problem in our society is the norm that a woman is good only if she is a one-man woman. Even then, the man should be of the choice of family and society and not hers. If a woman breaks this norm and treads on the path of choosing her own partner, that itself is enough for society to question her sanskars. She is labelled as disobedient, defiant and dangerous for the decorum of society. A woman in a patriarchal society doesn’t have the right to take the reigns of her life into her hands. Her modesty lies in letting someone else control and make decisions for her life.
Breakups and women
However, things only go from bad to worse if a woman undergoes a number of breakups. She is labelled as “used goods”, who is not marriage material. “She had sex with so many men” “She has been touched by so many men” “She is definitely not a virgin” comments like these are hurled at her for just trying to explore her choices in life.
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A woman’s reputation, and her family’s too, resides in her vagina, but dear society, a woman is much more than that. She has an individuality, the right to choose and the freedom to date anyone she wants. Breakups do not say that she is characterless or not capable of handling relationships. But it symbolises the acumen of choosing the right partner for her and walking away from relationships that don’t bring her happiness. Isn’t this something that should be appreciated? Or should we rather coerce women to stay in unhappy relationships, for the sake of appeasing society’s idea of a “perfect” woman?
We live in a society where once married, a woman has to sustain that relationship forever. No matter how toxic it gets, a woman is supposed to be the silent bearer of every injustice. But if a woman has the acumen of choosing the right guy and rejecting the wrong ones, it shows that she values her happiness and freedom.
So can we stop shaming women for undergoing many breakups? It is not a marker of a loose character. Neither does it show that a woman is unfit for a long-term relationship. Ridding women from this unnecessary burden of shame will also encourage them to walk away from dysfunctional relationships and put their own well-being above everything else.
With our changing perception of marriage, how we view love, courtship, sex and heartbreaks too needs to change. What also needs to change is the tendency to project different norms and views on the same issue on the basis of gender.
The views expressed are the author’s own.