I was watching the movie, Queen starring Kangana Ranaut when I came across a scene, where Kangana, sitting in the backseat of a Parisian taxi, tells Lisa Haydon, “In India, girls are not allowed to burp… in Rajouri, girls are not allowed to do much.”
Women are still being told to behave in ways society thinks they should. Patriarchal mindsets and societal pressures seem to dictate a lot of the expectations that we have from women today.
Millennials or Generation Y are the largest demographic category in India and the world now. They are making waves in all spheres of life and yet we seem to have unrealistic expectations from them.
Here are some things that millennial women hear often but have had enough of.
The going out conundrum
“Don’t go out alone”, “Take someone with you”, “Don’t stay out late” - these are phrases women hear probably every time they even mention going out.
Even the choices women make of whom to go out with are questioned. Ritika Naidu, 26, from Nagpur, is often chided for wanting to go out alone.
Given that India is not a safe place for women concerns though not always unwarranted should not put a stop to women's and girls mobility. Life can't stop, but society can change and that is where all our energies should be.
Don’t wear this, don’t wear that
It’s 2019 and women are still told what and what not to wear. Especially
From subtly asking you to “adjust your bra strap”, or increase the hemline of your skirt so you look “appropriate”, everyone seems to have an opinion on your dressing sense. What’s ironic is that men roam around in with their undershirts/vest peek out and they are never discouraged about it. Why? Are vests a sign of being macho as the ads proclaim?
Someone also seems to have put out a PSA that dictates that women look “beautiful” with long hair. Women are encouraged to grow out their hair, especially when it comes to getting married.
Anaga S from Bengaluru says, “My relatives were offended when I didn’t wear a necklace to a pooja.” How did she react? “So, I wore it for a few minutes to humour them and then removed it.''
Get married and have children
Sania Mirza was once asked by journalist Rajdeep Sardesai about her plans to “settle down and motherhood”. To which she fittingly responded, “You sound disappointed that I’m not choosing motherhood over being number one in the world at this point of time. But I’ll answer your question anyway, that’s the question I face all the time as a woman, that all women have to face -the first is marriage and then it’s motherhood. Unfortunately, that’s when we’re settled, and no matter how many Wimbledons we win or number ones in the world we become, we don’t become settled.”
Once you get married, one would think the questions would end. Sugunya Mohan, a medical coding professional in Chennai got married in October last year. After which, the questions about children started coming in. Her new family would expectantly wait every month for her to tell them the news. (As I write this, she is pregnant.)
It is 2019 and our notions of women and womanhood are still atavistic. Women are reaching for the moon, literally. The world needs to start seeing women as individuals and equals. We need to reset our notions about women and give them a new spin. Let the world see us for what we are, with all our scars, insecurities and the beautiful souls we are.
(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)