I received an interesting feedback from a woman to my last column “emerging identity”. I reproduce the comments here for readers to judge its merit and demerits.
The lady X goes thus in her mail–“madam, you may prove this as an emerging identity but it is a psychological disorder which has to be mended. If this girl, Mansi feels making ‘rangoli’ a silly job I will narrate an incident, the same Manasi will dispaly a rangoli at her working place on some special occasion and show she is very feminine to attract the opposite sex. But her mind-set is in sending signal in workplace but not at home. Because from the childhood, she is being brought-up as an achiever and these jobs like decorating the home, being a house-wife is all looked down. They may reject prospective marriage offer, but can they accept a life of singleness without marriage? They may reject many offers with their skin being young, but as time goes, they will wish to swap their so called “good career” for a blissful married life. You have quoted the engineer girl who wanted her husband to share the household responsibilities. You yourself have given the answer in the column “She, earning better than him. Let us reverse this case and see. If the man was earning more and was more powerful, she would have worshiped him and done all the chores without murmurs. Women want best man to dominate her and she will-fully submits to power.” You cannot abuse the power you have got and misguide the future WOMAN.”
The letter truly dumbfounded me! The tone and tenor was not only degrading to the spirit of womankind but outright abusive. So men say that ‘a woman is the best enemy of a woman’. Not very far from the truth, if you read the letter of lady X carefully.
It is true that women are split in their identities and attitudes towards career and homemaking. There are many models of women’s life and there are as many identities. There are as many critics as well. The traditional model of women being full time homemakers which was much revered for centuries is also under assault by society today– men and their families want educated women for wives, want them to be busy with some creative activity too, want women with good income as well, and also want her to be fully responsible for the home. That is a tall order indeed according to me. Some want the mixed model where she is fully responsible for the home and part time worker outside with supplementary income (no threat to the male ego and no burden of sharing domestic chores). The third model which is emerging is the serious career women with a professional education and a great career ahead which she wants to pursue with devotion. This category wants equal sharing of domestic duties and therefore men don’t like it and nor do many women like lady X. This emerging model seems to be a threat to many minds which do not want the social status quo to change. They find this too radical and subversive!
The women who want full time careers have no ‘psychological disorder’ as mentioned above by lady X and women wanting the ‘best man to dominate her’ is a myth. Women do not want domination by anyone whether the man is best or not. First of all, women want respect and empowerment to lead their lives with dignity. Women want to be treated as a human being with normal human needs and emotions. Education has taught her to think for herself and to be self reliant. If she wants to choose between engineering and making ‘rangoli’, the choice is hers. If she wants a good career and does not want to marry the choice is hers. If she wants to be a happy homemaker the choice is hers again. If she opts for the mixed model she is in her right to do so. Why should society pass judgement on women and their choices? Men make choices according to their needs that suit them- they can marry, not marry and be single and make any career they like. So who is complaining?
Let women also lead their lives as they want to.