#FeministMondays | A Penny For Your Thoughts

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We women are expected to dress a certain way, behave a certain way, talk a certain way, laugh a certain way, and what not. Who decided that women should be like this? Who decided the default characteristics of a woman? Ever since I can remember, I have always been a rebel. It had nothing to do with the fact that I was girl. I was a curious child and I asked a lot of questions. Growing up, I became ambitious and worked hard to get where I am today. Still there are a few people out there who raise their eyebrows and drop their jaws every time they learn something about me. Most of them can't believe that my parents and my husband "let me" be the way I am. If I had a penny for every time someone asked me the following questions or made the below statements, I'd be richer than Jeff Bezos today.

~ You have way too strong opinions.

~ Why do you always question the norms?

~ Convention is good. Stick to it.

~ Do you always dress up like this?

~ You do not look married.

~ Is your husband okay with you wearing modern clothes?

~ Didn't your parents stop you from this while growing up?

~ What is the need for you to work?

~ Women shouldn't dream so much.

~ Ambition is bad for women.

~ Focus on your home, work can come later.

~ Why do you take your work so seriously? Your husband has a good job right.

~ You talk too much for a woman.

~ You drink? Is your family/husband okay with it?

~ You drink beer? Wow, not many girls can do that.

~ You cook? You don't look like you have ever stepped into the kitchen.

~ You clean and wash too? Your nails are too well groomed for that.

~ You still support your parents financially? Why?

~ You are allowed to make decisions?

~ You got that pay raise because you are a woman.

~ You can talk your way and get things done. Being a woman helps.

~ Don't hire a girl, she might take a break for marriage or motherhood.

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~ You don't want to have a child?

~ How can you not want to have a child?

~ Your life will be incomplete without a child.

~ A child will show you what true happiness is.

~ You shouldn't wear make-up, that's for the "not good" girls.

~ Do not sleep in late.

~ Do not leave your hair open.

~ Why did you cut your hair so short? How is your husband okay with it?

~ You shouldn't provoke men.

~ Never argue with a man.

~ As a woman, you need to respect all elders, no matter how they are.

~ You still go out with your friends?

~ You have male friends?

~ If you don't cook well, your husband will not be happy.

~ Didn't your husband want you to change?

~ You haven't taken your husband's name? You must not respect him then.

~ You watch sports?

~ How can you not like pink?

~ Sit like a girl.

~ Why don't you use your husband's money?

~ You are so dominant. How does your husband "deal" with you?

~ Family first, you later.

Have you even met a man who has been asked such questions? I have gotten sick and tired of hearing all these things, time and again. I'm going to be honest, most of these have come to me by women. What hurts me the most is that some women are totally okay to adhere to the restrictions imposed on them by the people around them. They need to be taught to stand up for themselves. They need to be taught to question the conventions. They need to be taught to live for themselves first. They need to be taught that they are human and deserve to live a life of their own, free from restrictions and expectations. Who will teach them? Nobody was there to teach me to fight for myself. I learnt that on my own. They should too.

But the real question is, do they even want to learn all this?

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This post is a part of the powerful series #FeministMondays on Naba's blog and you can be a part of it too. On the second Monday of every month, write an impactful post with the hashtag #FeministMondays and link it back to Naba's blog.

14 comments:

  1. Hmmm Can't say I haven't heard these questions except for the ones related to kids. But yes as soon as I was married, I heard questions about good news and I was 26! It was wonderful that initial years of marriage I was in the US. Very liberating! I started loving myself. It was wonderful. Now I don't care . I am way too confident for most people. I understand if they are not on the same plane as me. Its difficult right when you and I are so evolved. 😊 I guess it is a cultural thing and it will take a long time to evolve. Let's just continue to do our bit.

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    1. You are lucky, I'll say. Probably living away from India also helped.

      I'm way too confident and expressive, so people just assume things about me and try to "mellow" me down. Hell with them, I'll going to be the way I am.

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  2. Ugh. I recognize these lines only too well. Been there, heard them all. Over and over again. But here is the thing, no matter what you do, there is no stopping the opinions and the judgement. Even after I had a child, I was continually nudged to have another one. To ensure the child is not lonely. My friend had 2, but 2 boys, she was told to try for a third, to try for a girl to "balance" the family. I don't know what these people smoke!

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    1. It is so annoying to listen to such crap, right? I'm so tired of arguing when them that I only listen and nod quietly these days. Just not worth the effort.

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  3. Such questions are indeed annoying. It is sad to see that though our society calls itself a progressive society we find people asking such questions! Why not treat everyone like a human?

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    1. Apparently a woman doesn't qualify as a human these days.

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  4. I’ve heard almost all of these, at some time, or the other. Thanks for this post, Soumya.

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  5. Oh Sou!! These questions are asked just to haunt us, forget hurting us! Before we are married, people question about the wedding, after, they question about the kid, and much after they question about the second kid! Well, people always need something to ask! If not, they question about whether I feed my kid anything or do I eat it all!

    Motherhood is just a choice! I truly support all those who have decided to be child-free. I mean that's definitely okay! Even as a mother, I really see no wrong in that! For those who say a mother will never feel that way! You are a rebel and that is all that matters!
    I haven't stuck to conventions, but I definitely have issues when it comes to replying to bullshit in a subtle manner! No clearly means No to me and in a so-called joint family, I am a threat you see! ;) Well, I used to cringe a lot about it earlier, but now I am okay with it!

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    1. Ah people just exist to make others lives miserable at times! We cannot do anything about it, looks like.

      Every woman should learn to speak up for herself. It is most vital these days.

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  6. Soumya, you would really have been a millionaire twice over with the pennies you'd earn for every time you heard these questions! Haven't we all heard such dumb ones over time? Wait till you get even older. You'll hear even more stupid ones like "Oh so you don't dye your hair? " when its all white or " You don't look old?" when you obviously don't look young! Hang in there girl. You haven't heard the last silly question yet!

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    1. You said it, Unishta. As I was writing this post, I kept thinking about what more I'll have to add to this in the future. Sigh, why do we women have to have it so hard?

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  7. Theres not going to be a single woman who would deny hearing these. We all do! But not many of us stand up to fight against conventions. In fact, in my early years of being married, I succumbed to it all, and seldom spoke up. I blame my own self for it, cause I was battling my own conflicting thoughts. But with years came maturity and confidence, and now I really dont care, and give it back. I live my life the way I deem fit now. Luckily for me, the man isnt like the rest and stays sane.

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    1. I'm glad with time you realized your worth and stood up for yourself. So many women are yet to do that.

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