Women’s self-respect: “Adjust karo” how often have you heard this in your life as a woman? I bet many times because in our society women are taught to adjust even before they learn to own their choices. While it might be true that at some point in life, we all have to adjust. We cannot expect everything to be as per our choice and convenience. But is there no limit to how much we should adjust? Is adjustment only a woman’s responsibility?
Ever since a woman is born, she is expected to compromise her needs and choices. She is asked to be satisfied with the half-filled glass of milk because her brother’s glass needs to be filled. She is expected to go to a local school or quit education so that the male child of the house can get the proper education. And then the woman is asked to give up her dreams to protect the izzat of the family by marrying early and becoming a submissive bahu which is equivalent to a lifetime of adjustments and sacrifice. So when does it all end? When does a woman get to be herself? Just when is she free to live as per her choices?
Adjustments in life are undoubtedly important. But there is a limit to how much one must adjust in life and that limit is termed self-respect. One should not adjust so much in life that they lose their self-respect. No sacrifice, relationship or job is worth giving up your self-respect. Because losing self-respect affects a person’s sense of individuality. They no longer feel like the rulers of their life but like the puppets of a previously written drama.
But the problem is that in our society, self-respect of a woman is not given importance. A woman is always perceived in terms of her role in a man’s life. The more useful, the more worthy she is. It doesn’t matter to society if she has a meaning of her own individuality. And so adjustments are seen as a woman’s primary duties.
Why do we have a system that requires adjustments and sacrifices from women alone to function properly? Why can’t society thrive without forcing women to lament in silence? A woman can receive an equal amount of milk, education and time period to have a successful life. A woman can live with her in-laws without having to adjust to their regressive mindsets. Society does work without any major adjustments done by men. Then why can’t it function when women refuse to adjust? Why is society so intimidated by the idea of preserving women’s self-respect?
Dear society, it is time you stop using women to maintain social and familial peace. It is time that you stop expecting women to be quiet about the inequalities they face. A harmony gained by suppressing women, who form half of the population, is actually the silence of the battlefield that is strewn with dead bodies- horrid and ominous.
If we keep asking women to ignore the wrongs happening to them, how will we ever move forward toward an equal society? We can find solutions to gender-based issues only when we confront them. Parents need to teach their daughters about preserving self-respect before asking them to be adjusting. Families should not take a woman’s patience for granted. Women’s independence is the dawn of a better future and their oppression the doom.
Views expressed are the author’s own.