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For thousands of years, women have been labeled as the weaker sex. The gender that has given birth to generations of men, has been oppressed, suppressed and often depressed, first under the farce of protection and then, just because! Because the very men who protected them realised that it's a heady rush to be in control. And so, the entitled men violated the helpless women who were burdened and buried, chained and shackled, under the weight of the rules that their protectors had dictated upon them.And this happened across the globe, with the stories of the violation and crimes against women from India alone, sufficient to fill a library.
But then we fought! We rebelled and revolted! It took centuries to do so. To burn the bra, to exit the kitchen, to enter the schools and to level the playing field. Every woman world over was a warrior in her own right. Some won battles, some marched in small strides but every time a woman anywhere in the world said her piece, it was a giant leap for feminism.
And each giant leap propelled us forward. Until we have finally reached an era that our great ancestors had probably viewed as their touchstone. Imagine a world where you don't need to adopt your husband's family name, dont have to cover every inch of your body, can be Ceo of multinational companies with men working for you, can float in space, can even rule a nation. There still remains a lot to be done. And all that has been achieved hasn't been easy, and by no means should it be taken for granted.
But somewhere along the way, maybe, we forgot when to stop!
Fighting a battle is hard work. Keeping the flag flying high is even harder. So now, we are constantly at war with ourselves, because somewhere deep down we feel like we have to justify this victory. We have to constantly prove to ourselves, that we deserve it.
‘We don't belong in the kitchen’,
‘of course we can work and raise our kids’,
‘we don't need help in choosing a spouse’….so much energy was spent fighting so many battles that we now feel obligated to constantly live up to all our promises.
So we set our bars too high and have our plates too full and multitask like mean machines, until we are blue in the face.
And we also feel the need to constantly motivate one another. Inspire each other. Remind each other by constantly bombarding the message through the media, that we can be whatever we want to be and no one dare tell us otherwise. While all along what we are really doing is challenging each other.
For every gold medalist there's a hundred women running an unseen marathon with no finish line. For every presidential candidate almost breaking the glass ceiling, there's a million of us feeling so guilty for not even wanting to try. Today it isn't enough that women no longer need anyone's permission to work, we need to be on top. Raising your child is not complete until we pass the accomplishment baton on to them and ensure they excel at everything they do too, as a testimony to our parenting skill.
And this is why we are all so fatigued!
How many women do we encounter everyday who begin every conversation with an admission of some imagined guilt? With a hasty, self-conscious, often self deprecating anecdote, of some unseen ambition that they should be fulfilling but are not. The working mother's guilt of negligence, the stay at home mother's guilt over not living up to her full potential, the fat girl’s shame in the presence of her too thin friends, the fifty year old who does everything in her power to still look thirty.
The battle is still very much on. Only our enemy has changed. After proving to the world that we can do everything men can, every woman is now fighting a passive aggressive war...with other women. And every other woman's success reminds us of our own failure. Whether she is a cardiac surgeon or just someone who has mastered the art of getting her curls right.
Maybe it is time to call a truce. To officially admit that we are tired. Tired of trying too hard…. Too hard, not only to succeed but to hide our flaws and failures. We need to be tired of photoshopping and airbrushing our lives so other women think we are perfect.
Because heaven forbid the world should see that we are not. So worried are we about the proverbial ‘I told you so’ that we physically and emotionally deplete ourselves to prove that we can do it all. By expecting so much of ourselves, just because we now finally have the liberty to.
Maybe, it's time to let each other and ourselves be. Like princess Elsa said….Let it go!
Yes, we need to stop judging, stop shaming, stop opinionating. But we also need to stop overachieving, stop constantly inspiring, motivating, encouraging and most importantly stop competing.
Let every woman stroll at her own pace. With or without a wonderful husband, brilliant child, successful career or perfect body in tow! Let's be less militant towards ourselves and stop treating everyday of our lives like a performance evaluation of our skills or a report card of our success. Let's stop trying to outdo each other every step of the way. Let's fight for equality. Equality among women….and end the one up-womanship
The war is over. The enemy has retreated. We saved our fort. Now let's enjoy our victory, take off the armour and let our long, soft, beautiful hair down!