Why Are Women Who Voice Their Needs Labelled As Demanding?

demanding women
Women in our society are never expected to demand anything. Be it job, pleasure or justice, women must refrain from asking for anything. They are expected to be satisfied with what they have already. What’s worse is that this trait of women is romanticised. A woman who doesn’t ask for much is considered the epitome of sacrifice and a simple lifestyle. She is hailed as an “ideal woman”. Other women who express their needs are compared to them and shamed for their demanding nature. But is this right? Should women put a lid on their needs? Should they act as a puppet who is happy with whatever is provided to it? Are men ever asked to control their desires?

How often have you seen your mother demanding things for herself? How often have you seen their demands being met? Women are expected to be satisfied with the bare minimum that they are provided with. In fact, whatever women are provided with are not things that they want but things that patriarchy thinks are essential for their existence. For example, women are provided with financial security by their husbands but are not allowed to go out and work and become monetarily independent. Women are given the freedom to seek education but patriarchy can put a pause on it as and when it wishes. No wonder we are seeing a rise in graduate but gharelu bahus, as women are expected to earn a degree but not to work at the cost of causing discomfort to their families.

The myth of demanding women

Since childhood women are inculcated with the belief that asking more is not womanly. Girls, for example, are expected to be satisfied with half a glass of milk, local school education or no education at all. They are taught to never expect much from marriage prospects and adjust to whatever they get. Women are told not to expect a lot of love and support from parents, in-laws or even husbands. As long as you are given a bed to sleep in, food to eat and clothes to wear. Even if they abuse you, stay quite, because you are still among the fortunate ones who are alive and lead a “dignified” life.

But how long will patriarchy decide what women need? When will women get the freedom to decide and demand what they want from their lives?

The problem is that women are not considered important enough in our society to have the right to demand independence and autonomy in their lives. Their duty is to provide service not expect the same from others. So when it comes to providing women with anything, the minimum is considered the most.

But is it right to romanticise women for not asking what they need? Is it right to normalise the idea that women should be grateful for the basic amnesties they are provided with? Is it fair to expect that women shouldn’t aspire to lead a better life, based on their qualities and talent?

It is time now that women start demanding what they need. As humans it is their right to strive and fulfill their dreams. No one has the right to stop women from asking for more. There is no such thing as demanding women or the one who asks for “too much” because in our democratic country citizens are free to achieve whatever they want. The sky is the limit to what people in our country can expect from their lives. So let us treat women too as free citizens of our country so that they don’t have to be satisfied with minimum and never demand more.

Views expressed are the author’s own.

Suggested Reading: Strong Women Shouldn’t Have To Apologise For Challenging Social Norms