As a fashion student turned content marketer, there is one thing that attracts me like a magnet- Latest trends. In my humble opinion, there is no click-bait as potent as this one. The urge to validate that you are following the crowd and not left behind is not typical of a business only. This is human nature.
During one of the group therapy sessions, I was talking about my struggles with being an Indian married woman, working with a start-up, finding time for writing, blogging, painting and meeting social obligations. Before I could finish my monologue, one of the participant, a man quipped-
Ohh, women are from different planet.
They are so perfect.
They go through so much.
It’s beyond me.
They multitask without complaining.
They take care of family and work.
And so on…..
He went on to narrate how good were the women around him- his mother, his friend and few others. While everyone felt good about the fact that men do respect women, I realized that few minutes back, he cribbed about his boss, his classmate and few other people- all women. The only difference in his descriptions were that the good women in his life were those who muti-tasked, sacrificed and had a subservient demeanour. The bad ones were ambitious, outspoken, and competitive.
Following this not so brief interruption, people looked at me expectantly to complete my story. However, by that time I felt bogged down by an unknown baggage of a stranger’s expectations- his definition of a “perfect woman”.
A perfect woman multitasks.
A perfect woman never complains.
A perfect woman takes care of everyone’s feelings.
And isn’t perfection the biggest lesson all females are taught?
Through movies and series.
By the society.
But isn’t perfect a gender neutral word?
After all, for years in our resume, perfection has been our greatest weakness- something everyone desires secretly but the obsession with it badly affects our productivity and health. And that’s the problem. Perfection is like a mirage. And unfortunately, my perfection is not your perfection.
And here comes the dilemma. Whose definition of perfection is perfect? It’s you vs millions of people.
- Sometimes, its a collective definition- called society’s benchmark: A man needs to earn, no matter what his dreams are. A woman has to raise a family, no matter she wants it or not.
- Sometimes, it’s your family, your friends and even strangers.
Which perfection do you want to achieve?
And while I was drowning in my thoughts, the session got over and my story remained untold. But my takeaway that day was a question that we all should ponder upon.
Why do men have to say that they respect women? Are women made to be respected? Do they have a duty to be respected- by being pious and sacrificing? Why can’t they be treated like other men? To be respected only when they do something worthy of being respected. And other times, just be. And this goes both ways:
- Women should not be forced to fit into the definition of perfection and respectable.
- Just being a woman shouldn’t give someone a right to be respected and worshiped. Being wrong is gender neutral too.
And to reiterate, the opposite of being respected/worshiped is none of the below:
- Gas lighted
It’s not judging them and let them be.
The article was originally published here.
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