Happily Ever After
By Maneesha Ashutosh
Chauvinism is prevalent in our world. Want it or not, women get a dose of it every now and then. But are women too perpetuating chauvinism in a way? The lines have become blurred over the centuries. It is time we consciously make the change and a better world for the next generation. Read along to know how male chauvinism has made its foray in women’s lives and how to constructively stop it from being there!
Womanhood is so much more than the perceived notions of society. From a very young age, we, girls, are culturally schooled to look and dress up in a certain way. And why do we need to do that, we ask? Obviously, to land a knight in shining armor or a prince charming in our not-so-complete life and thus to complete us! Wow!! This statement is wrong on so many levels. Every woman is beautiful in her own way. We should not change it to fit into a certain social setup or to find that dream man. Secondly, how can someone else, who we have hardly known for such a short span of time complete us?
How it Begins
We, knowingly or knowingly, use adjectives for boys and girls that might be leaning towards the idea that girls need to look pretty and boys need to be smart. How many times have we not complimented the sweet little girl that she is looking pretty, and the sweet little boy that he is looking smart? Over time that little girl will grow up with the perception that all that is important in life is to look pretty and beautiful! We need to use more meaningful adjectives too like, intelligent, strong, empathetic. Aren’t these qualities much better to have than just look beautiful?
‘’Teach girls to be kind and respectful. But give them the tools to be strong, too.’
Knowingly or unknowingly, even the women have been perpetuating this untruth into the next generation of kids. Here is a list of things that we might be doing to adding on the woes of our progeny!
- Defining gender roles at home:Father takes of the financial responsibility and mother is responsible for the upbringing of the kids. Why can’t we just agree on shared responsibility?
- The one and only to take care of the sick and ailing: Does it happen often that you always be the first one to volunteer to take care of the sick and ailing in the family? If Yes, time to rethink your mindset. Is your parter, at the very least, returning the same kindness to you?
- Prejudicing women who choose to be Single and child-free: There is no rule or necessity that everyone has to marry or have a child to feel the ultimate happiness. Everyone has the right to find happiness in the things that they want to do or not do. Next time you get this disparaging thought in your mind, hold it there and cut it off!
- Criticising Successful women for ignoring their families: Why do we, for a second, not think that a successful woman has actually not ignored her family and that she has a very supportive partner? Or it could be her choice not to have a family and pursue what she is passionate about in life.
We just do not stop there. The whole marriage industry and the fertility centers are feeding on the idea that the wedding day is the most important day in a girl’s life and that having a biological child is the only way to feel like a woman and that is precisely when life is going to be happily ever after! But is there really a happily ever after? I guess it exists only in the Disney world. There are so many feisty women out there who are living a contented life without a child or a husband, beyond the concept of the institutionalised setups of companionship and childbearing.
Onus on Us
This scenario is going on from so many centuries that we have not realized what damage we are causing, be it consciously or unconsciously! Knowing something is wrong is the first step away from ignorance. We can change our mental thought processing to create the change that we want to see in the world. Agreed that it is not something that can happen overnight but might take generations. Nevertheless, it is something worth doing!
- Stop buying Gender-specific toys for kids:Let them choose what they want to buy. Your son might want a kitchen set and your daughter Legos. Do not be critical, let them be what they want. This is the first step where we plant the seeds of gender roles in kids
- Stop highlighting only the beauty in girls:This brings in a notion in girls that beauty is the most important aspect of her life, which is not true. Try appreciating the good qualities that she has. Encourage her to be independent and follow her dreams irrespective of what society might think!
- Treat both daughters and sons the same:Have them help you around the house and make sure to give them tasks in rotation. Sons can definitely set the table and daughters can buy what is need from the grocer.
- Hold your thoughts:Don’t ever be critical of the women, who do not lead their lives according to the normal confines of society, in the presence of your children. It is her life and her choice after all.
- Find your passion in life:It is time that you find the passion in your life. Go ahead and chalk down the list, be that woman you always wanted to be.
‘’ Help your daughter become her best.’’
A shoutout to all the girls and ladies out there! You are beautiful the way you are. Be the feisty and fearless woman that you are. You are complete with or without a man in your life! Decide to have a child only if you want to. It is only you who can decide whether you want to have it biologically or to adopt or surrogate it. You are less or more than anyone, you are who you are! Go gal!!