Happy Women’s Day! A lot is said on how men should change for us to respect our women better. Here are some: Men need to see women as people, not objects. Men should realize and truly believe women are as talented, capable as men, and sometimes even more so. Men should not discriminate in the work place or at home. Men have to respect boundaries and make sure their words to not make women feel uncomfortable. Men have to respect women’s choices – in what they wear, where they want to go and at what time. Men should never use force or intimidation towards women.
Yes, we men have to learn. However, the stubborn, fragile and pampered Indian male ego is a tough nut to crack. Collectively, we as Indian men, have a long way to go before our women can be proud of us. We will. At least the process has started.
But in all this well deserved male-bashing, I hope the ladies do not miss out on another set of changes required, on themselves. Yes, for all the talk of women being denied their proper place in society, ladies need to do some self-reflection too.
Hence, on this Women’s day, I shall attempt the unthinkable. As a man, I will venture out and give women advice, on women’s day. That alone is reason enough for me to be bashed to bits. However, every now and then, we men are prone to risk-taking behaviour. So forgive me, for I have dared.
Anyway, here goes. Five things I feel women need to change about themselves, to make things better for their own kind.
The first behaviour that needs to end is the constant desire to judge other women. Women are hard on themselves. They are harder on each other. An overweight woman enters the room. Most women are thinking ‘how fat is she?’ A working mother misses a PTA meeting due to an office deadline, others think ‘what a terrible mother she is’. A girl in a short skirt makes other women go ‘Slut!’ in their heads. A pretty woman’s promotion makes other women wonder what she had been up to to get the job. From an ill-fitting dress to a badly cooked dish, you are ready to judge others. This, despite knowing, you yourselves are not perfect. As a woman, it is tough enough is to survive in a male dominated world. Why be so hard on each other? Can you let each other breathe?
Second, the faking needs to end. A common female trait is the relatively quick adaptation to feed male egos. Laughing at men’s jokes when they aren’t funny, accepting a raw deal in an office assignment or playing dumb to allow a man to feel superior are just a few occasions when you do your own kind no favor. Who are you? And why can’t you be that person? Why are you faking it so much? If something bothers you, say it. What’s the point of collectively harping on equality, when as individuals, you are happy to lapse into being clueless eye flutterers, just to keep men happy?
Three, and this is serious, standing up for your property rights. Plenty of Indian women give up their lawful property rights for their brothers, sons or husbands. Sorry if it sounds harsh, but too many Indian women are emotional fools and need to be told so. You are not demonstrating your eternal selflessness when you give away your property. You are hurting your own kind.
Four, women need to become more ambitious and dream bigger. All young Indians – men and women, should have a fire in their belly. Perhaps the way the Indian society is structured, our women are not encouraged to be as ambitious as men. However, for their own sake and the nation’s sake, all Indian youth must have ambitions and aspirations to do well and reach their maximum potential in life. Many Indian women have done much better than men. Use them as inspiration and work towards your dreams. Your success is what will finally make Indian men respect women. Play your part.
Five, don’t be too trapped in the drama of relationships. Relationships are vital. Being a good mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and lover are extremely important. However, don’t get too tangled. You have another relationship, with yourself. Don’t sacrifice so much that you lose yourself. Not regularly, but just every now and then, be a little selfish. It is when a woman will assert herself she will be taken seriously. You are not only here to assist others in living their lives. You have your own life too.
I will end here. Hope you will see the point and intention behind what I am talking about. If not, then I am in big trouble. And there’s no recourse to a men’s day to save me either.