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Javed Akhtar Says Marrying Independent Women Not Bed Of Roses, Isn't it Patriarchal?

It is high time we accept that a woman’s identity is not dependent on a man. A real woman is one who is independent. Maybe financial independence is a choice but social and bodily autonomy are necessary. So stop shaming them as if they are different or difficult to handle. If independent men can be handled by society or by women, then why can’t independent women?

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Rudrani Gupta
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Javed Akhtar On Marriage
Independent women! What comes to your mind after hearing these words? A picture of demanding, rude and dominating woman? Or a woman who is opinionated and strong-minded with all the rights in her hand? So are opinionated women difficult?
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Javed Akhtar On Marriage

I came across an interview in which lyricist Javed Akhtar opened up about the secret to a happy marriage. He is currently married to the actor Shabana Azmi. Replying to the question, Akhtar said, “Living with an independent strong-minded woman is not a bed of roses.” He further added that sometimes those women need to be pushed but to an extent that they don’t lose equality.

When I read this interview, I understand marriage can be difficult. Staying with a person with different personality traits is no cakewalk. But tagging it as 'independent strong-minded woman' doesn't go down well with me. It raises questions in my mind- Why women are labelled difficult for being strong headed? Why do men find independent women difficult? Why women never complain about independent men being difficult to live with? Call it marriage is difficult with so and so person, but why categorise the particular from entire gender?

It is very common in our society to have a marriage in which women are the submissive ones. They are restricted to kitchens and being a caretaker of their husbands. While husbands, totally independent, are free to go out, earn and have fun.

In the marriage market, the demand for independent men is so high. And the reason behind this is of course the idea that an independent man can take care of a woman well. On other hand when it comes to marrying an independent woman the narrative is vice versa. The society usually finds it difficult to dealt with strong headed woman. One of the reason is you can't put such women down or walk them as you want. There is no 'haaji-haaji', there are questions to everything that is not acceptable to her.

Since childhood, women are groomed into submissive brides. They are asked to agree to all the terms and conditions put forth by the grooms or their families. Women are never taught to seek their independence because it is assumed that their welfare lies in being dependent on their male partners.

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But why doesn’t anyone think that maybe a woman doesn’t need to be taken care of? Maybe a woman can be independent enough to take care of herself right? If it is difficult to deal with strong-headed woman, then isn't something wrong with men's mentality? Why women don't feel that living with independent men is also not bed of roses?

Because we are never allowed to think that way and men were conditioned to deal only with submissive women. So, when they claim it is difficult to deal such women, it just reflect patriarchy is another form. None deserve a trophy or mere recognition for so-called living with strong headed women.

Are Opinionated Women Difficult?

Independent women threaten society, so society make sure they are dependent on men at every stage of their life. Society is used to keeping women at the margins. But when women try to take the centre position, the entire dynamics is disturbed. Society doesn’t want women to be independent, financially, socially and bodily. Society feeds off women’s submissiveness. So, basically, there is no reason to say no to a woman who wants to be opinionated, strong-minded and independent. If being dependent only causes them pain, why should they be the ones sacrificing themselves for society? Would it not be better that women to claim their rights of being independent and not be selflessly oppressed by society?

As far as marriage is concerned, a strong-minded and independent woman will not conform to the social norms of being the woman behind the success of the man. Rather she will lead her own path to success. This doesn’t mean she will be selfish enough to ignore the welfare of the family which many people think and hence criticise independent women. An independent woman is as much her own as she is of her family members. Being opinionated, financially, independent and strong doesn’t make men irrelevant to the family right? Then why should independent women be shamed for that?

Dear society! It is high time we accept that a woman’s identity is not dependent on a man. A real woman is one who is independent. Maybe financial independence is a choice but social and bodily autonomy are necessary. So stop shaming them as if they are different or difficult to handle. If independent men can be handled by society or by women, then why can’t independent women?

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Views expressed are the author's own. 


Suggested Reading: Submissive Or Opinionated: A Woman Is Much More Than What Patriarchy Defines Her

Javed Akhtar Shabana Azmi
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