I don’t know anymore if it has become only a “modern” South Asian sentiment or if the whole world resonates the same, but must being a “successful woman” mean a woman who “balances” all the “roles”? This is gonna be an “uncomfortable” one, if just not “boring”. Thought I’d just let you know.
I should clarify the premise beforehand. Last Friday I went to a book launch event. That book included many success stories of women around us (mostly women born in Bengal region). This book written with a view to bring about female role models for the young generation, regardless of gender. My friend, an educator, and a passionate feminist, was very excited. Actually she informed me about this book and everything.
Anyway, this panel consisted the moderator, who was one of the authors, an educationist, who runs the administration of a very famous school, the first two female combat pilots of our airforce, the first female Mount Everest climber in our country, and a champion weight lifter. The last four ladies were mentioned in the book.
I guess my friend’s enthusiasm and (more importantly) a shitty week at work (it’s gonna start from tomorrow, and is gonna get A LOT WORSE) heightened my expectations and I hoped they would talk about the REAL issues women face.
INSTEAD THEY TALKED ABOUT THINGS WE ALL KNOW, AND SUPPORTED THE KIND OF “MODIFIED STEREOTYPING” THAT WE ARE TRYING TO FIGHT!
Every single panel member was gushing about how they “manage” every single role they play, how it is “natural” for women to “compartmentalize” and “multitask”, how “supportive” their families are. Like they’re trying to say, “if you want to be successful, you MUST BE PERFECT!” Like that shitty meme (or a motivational quote) found in every trashy “for female” facebook pages, like how a woman must, “Look like a girl, think like a man, work like a horse and dress like a lady” to be “successful”.
Sure they can keep their achievement to themselves. But HOW DARE THEM!
I don’t believe, for a fucking moment, that a woman must be a mother, a wife, a daughter in law to be “complete”. A woman does not need to be a “multitasking angel” to be “complete”. A woman does not need to be “close to nature” or have the “natural superpower” to “be perfect and nurturing” to be “complete”.
A woman is “complete”. That’s it! She is born complete. She is complete when she accomplishes things she wants to accomplish. Sure, to some extent she might have some responsibilities as an offspring to parents, like very humane, obvious ones. But that she’s born into. BUT SHE DOES NOT NEED TO HAVE THE REST “ROLES” THAT WE IMPLY THE “MODERN EDUCATED WOMEN” CAN “BALANCE”.
I fucking HATE the word “BALANCE”.
It is a shitty, condescending word, used on women to make life harder for her. And “successful women” in limelight normalize the condescension. The patriarchy implies that a woman need to be a good wife, good mother, good at her work AND A GOOD OFFSPRING to be complete.
There is NOTHING WRONG with balancing ALL THE ROLES. The problem is, we use this against women who are successful and choose not to play “ALL THE ROLES” and “be perfect”.
If you are a man who never married and lived your whole life focusing on your career, you are a devoted bachelor, applauded by family and society. People mention that in block letters, makes it an important point to mention. Parents tell their boys to “be devoted like this man”.
If you are a woman who never married and lived your whole life focusing on your career, YOU ARE A WORKAHOLIC SPINSTER, WHO ENDED UP BEING A CRAZY CAT LADY AND NO MEN WOULD TAKE HER!
I went to that book launch, hoping to hear things like, WE ARE IN A WORLD WHERE THIS BARRIERS ARE DIMINISHING! WHERE GENDER STEREOTYPING IN THINGS LIKE THIS ARE DIMINISHING.
All I ended up experiencing was ANOTHER CAREFULLY CRAFTED LAYER OF THAT MISOGYNISTIC STEREOTYPING, THAT CAN EASILY FOOL A NAIVE MIND INTO THINKING IT IS OTHERWISE!
This is 2017, we already know there are successful women around us! WE NEED TO KNOW HOW THEY FIGHT AGAINST THE ADVERSARIES, WE NEED TO KNOW HOW THEY ARE FIGHTING AGAINST THE UNDERLYING, SILENT STEREOTYPING THAT WAS NORMALIZED IN THAT BOOK LAUNCHING PANEL, WE NEED TO KNOW HOW THEIR LIVES ARE AFFECTED BY PSEUDO FEMINISM!
Katharine Hepburn, my most favorite Hollywood actress to date was faced “criticism” from feminists for saying “Women cannot have it all”.
I don’t necessarily agree or disagree. I believe women DO NOT HAVE TO “HAVE IT ALL”. Neither do men.
If we could have it all, and we were perfect, what would the poor devil do? Do you want to put that poor soul out of work? You’re fucking horrible! Dang!