I am a girl living in modern-day India, in the metropolitan city of New Delhi. We’ve come a long way since women were measured by their looks and worth in gold, the caste system and the partition of 1947. We’ve had our first woman Prime Minister, as well as our first woman President; irrelevant of whether or not she mattered. We’ve got women politicians calling the shots. We have Kalki Koechlins and Kangana Ranauts getting the men by their balls, in a figurative sense, of course. We talk of feminism, women empowerment, equal rights and girl-child education. We’ve even made relatively significant moves in preventing child marriage, injustice done to widows and talk about taking the nation further by liberating the women of our country. But, that’s all on a massive; surface level.
Let’s dig deeper. No, not at the grass root level but, instead, at the modern-day Indian household level where families are educating their daughters in the best of institutes but, are telling them not to dream too much. We are telling society how forward thinking and liberal we are by letting our daughters mix in society; albeit with an ulterior motive of finding her a suitable boy amidst that society, while, at the same time reprimanding her of having ‘too many’ male friends. Define ‘too many’, please? Because, I’m a little confused.
You want your daughter to go out with her other lady friends wearing whatever she may please; but you don’t want her to do the same with her guy friends. And that’s not even the problem. The problem is we are hypocrites, the whole lot of us. We define a girl as outgoing if she goes out to all the places we want; but, just with women. We define her as easily available if she has more male friends than female friends. We define a girl as intelligent if she has all her educational degrees and qualifications in place. But, we define her as acting smart if she raises questions to which you have no legit answers. We define her as the doting daughter if she obediently follows your orders and does as you tell her to. But, she becomes the rebelling black sheep of the family if she does as she pleases and has a mind of her own.
If she marries a boy of your choice, never mind if they’ve never really met much before, and at the age of your choice; then she is homely. But, if she chooses her career and her independence over being seconded, then she becomes the shame of the family?
I only have one question.
Why is it that every time a girl goes out late—never mind if she is just working late—and cannot be reached on her phone, you start thinking about getting her “married off”? Why is it that a girl’s career is seen as a mere hobby till the time she is married to someone who can buy her diamonds and clothes? Why can’t she buy them herself? Why should she have to wait for a man to do it for her when she could just do it for herself? If she’s such a burden why didn’t you just abort her before she was born? How is your attitude now any different from the attitude of the old-school thinkers sitting at the grass root level? How are you any more educated and any less ignorant than them? Why is it that she is subject to judgment from her mother, father, brother (never mind if he is younger), aunts, uncles and grandparents? Why is that same judgment not meted out to boy of the family for having too many female friends, staying out too late and calling his own shots? Why does that make him the man of the house and her the black sheep of the family? Why is his working late called hard work and her working late called suspicious? Why is his partying called social and hers called indecent? Why does him being surrounded by girls get called manly and her being surrounded by men called cheap?
Why is there such a huge difference in your sense of judgment for your own blood and how can you boast of equality in love? Because he is a boy and she is a girl. Because he has a penis and can use it to flaunt his ego and because she has a vagina and it can be used by others to flaunt their egos.
What kind of sick society have you bred? What kind of son have you raised? And what kind of thoughts have you inculcated in minds?
We are in the 21st century. We have overcome caste system, women’s rights and education. We have let women conquer politics, the defence, the sciences and the world. And yet, today, after all this time, and after all the sacrifice, marriage—to a man, precisely—still stands as a qualification to be called the ideal woman.
What a hypocrite world we live in where our freethinking mothers and fathers want us to not think so freely. What a hypocrite world we live in where our younger brothers can get away with calling us easily available just because we may have many guy friends’; without being chided by mothers or fathers. What a hypocrite world we live in where our relatives are more burdened by our “responsibility” than our own parents and can get away with saying we need to be “married off”. What a hypocrite world we live in where there is so much to get away with just because it’s against women, even if it’s not pronounced.
What a hypocrite world we live in where a woman still needs to ask why.
What a hypocrite world, indeed.
Feature Image: Unsplash