She is weak. She needs a man to protect herself. She needs to be behind the purdah to safeguard the izzat of the family. She needs to preserve her body for her husband who has all the rights to her body. She has to be submissive. She has to serve. She has to forget who she is. This is how patriarchy defines women in our society.
According to patriarchy, women are not individuals but just a gender subservient to men who have the privilege to rule over body and choices of women. But is this all that defines women? Is the patriarchal definition of women enough to sum up the identity of a woman? If it is, then why are women half of the population with the rights and freedom granted by democracy as much as men?
Today, I came across a quote by Simone De Beauvoir which read, “A woman is what men think she is, everything that he is not.” The quote reminded me of the daily lives of a woman in our society. Even though they are restricted to the kitchen, they know things that are much beyond the capacity of a man. They know how to cook, clean and serve. They know how to multitask by parenting, working and handling the house. They know how to bear the pain of labour and childbirth which is equivalent to the breaking of hundreds of bones. They know how to bear the monthly pain of mood swings and ">period cramps, which as per research is equivalent to the pain of a heart attack. How much of this do men face in their daily lives? How much pain do they face, mentally and physically, every day and month?
Men are usually praised for just going out and earning a living for the family But women not only earn a living but also use it wisely to handle the house. Men are praised for taking care of their old parents. While women have to leave their jobs and hobbies and indulge in serving their in-laws. Men might not be criticised for leaving their parents on their own but women have to face several criticisms for just missing the morning tea of their in-laws.
What men think about women comes from the idea that women can never cross the limit of being the subservient and submissive section of society. And this is undeniable. No matter how much we argue, it cannot be denied that women are the disadvantaged groups in society. Every second day, a woman is subjected to gender crimes. They are not safe even inside their house and don’t even get me started on their safety in public places. The lack of safety in our society makes reservations for women mandatory. No matter how much a woman opposes injustice, she is roped into unjust practices in the name of tradition. No matter how much outspoken a woman tries to be - be it about politics, injustice or sexual needs- her lips are sewed by patriarchal norms. More than her ambitions, her izzat is valued. Even if her izzat is valued, her individuality is not valued. Her body is reduced to the battleground on which familial disputes are resolved and political wins are hoisted.
But dear society, women are not just the properties of patriarchy that can be moulded and used as per one’s wishes. A woman is much more than her gender. A woman is an individual with the right to decide what she wants and what she doesn’t. A woman is not just a part of a man. She carries a whole individuality that has the power to give birth to a generation or destroy an age-old custom. She is not a woman in a man. She is a woman who carries a man. All she needs is a push. And we are here for it.
Views expressed by author are their own.
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