A woman doesn’t run after a man, she runs after his money. She needs his credit card, not his love. She cares for his paycheck not his emotions. She wants expensive gifts and not quality time. Raise your hand if you see such stereotypes being peddled every day on social media in the name of sharing life-gyaan. Does no one wonder how these notions tint the male gaze toward women and create unnecessary complications in relationships?
Radhika* loves a man who belongs to a very poor family. Whatever the man earns goes into providing for his ageing parents. But Radhika didn’t leave his side just because he had no money. She stuck with him and even provided him with financial support, helped in purchasing basic needs and bought gifts for him. When I asked her why did she not give up on the relationship, Radhika simply said, “All need from my partner is love and support, not his social status or money.”
There are many more women like Radhika who don’t run behind the money that a man possesses. They seek equality, respect, support and understanding in relationships that no amount of money can buy. This is only possible if there is immense love between women and their partners that can overcome the barrier of financial status.
Women run behind money: Let’s get rid of this stereotype
The problem is that in our society people have the mindset that only money and expensive gifts can please a woman. There is no or rarely any concept of some women being low maintenance or just seeking a man for love. This mindset has been set up to villainise and generalise women for being gold diggers. This compelling narrative of naming women as gold diggers is used to generate sympathy for men who claim that they were ditched because of their empty pockets. It doesn’t matter if that really was the case. But men often use this narrative to shame women who left them and hide mistakes they committed in relationships.
But is it right to villainise women to hide the faults of men? Is it right to generalise that every woman is a gold digger?
The way we shame women for running behind money, do we shame men for objectifying women? Do we shame them for being attracted to women because of their sexuality? If women run behind money, then why do men let such women be in their lives? If the reason is not sexuality and sexual objectification, then what?
I am not denying that some women do seek financial security from their partners. But that too, if you think deeply, is a form of support. It is not a hidden fact that women in our society are not allowed to work or earn their own money. Surat nhi paisa dekho, they are told when they seek a groom. So if they won’t seek monetary or financial support from their partners then from whom? Why does society expect women perform emotional and manual labour in relationships, have their careers curtailed and then not desire a quality lifestyle in the name of love and sacrifice? How is this not unfair?
You might ask why am I supporting gold diggers. I am not. I am simply speaking of the conditions that forces them to be one. Yes of course it is not right for women to depend on men or be with them solely for money. But if men truly want girlfriends and wives who are not gold diggers then they should advocate equal opportunities for women in terms or education and career. A financially independent woman is self sufficient but she also has agency on her life. She will make her own decisions and live life on her own terms. Are men ready for that?
*Name has been changed
Views expressed are the author’s own.