I woke up this morning feeling just the same. Tired and groggy as always! You see of late I had not been enjoying my desk job so much! I thought I had the same routine to follow and I thought it would be just another day!
But then a chance glance to my cellphone screen changed it all! Some twenty odd friends and family who barely would ever text me, sent me ‘Happy Women’s Day’ messages! Oh it’s 8th of March, I realized. I decided to scan through the messages.
Some messages were extremely heartfelt. Like a male friend wrote, “Thank you for being in my life, Happy women’s day”. I smiled big looking at it! For him, women’s day was a day when he hand wrote messages to all women in his life and thanked them for their contribution in it! How beautiful!
I hoped people stuck to doing just that today. Spreading love, lauding the women in their lives, leaving personal messages celebrating who she was. I would have even loved to read posts on how far we had come from being considered the “weaker sex” to being considered world leaders in our own little spheres.
But then no, my luck ran out, and there they came, those painfully long, absolutely cringey messages that do rounds each year on whatsapp and Facebook walls. Those messages that remind you that a woman is special because she changes her name for you, leaves her house for you, carries your baby for 9 months, puts on weight, births your child after hours of painful labor, so he/she can still carry your name. That a woman must be respected because she is an epitome of sacrifice, that she handles both work and home perfectly, that she works like she has 10 hands. blah blah!
Really? What if she did not change her name after marriage, refused to move in with her in-laws, proudly built a new space for herself and her husband, decided to never carry a child, prioritized work over family sometimes, sacrificed nothing for you and sometimes failed to be perfect at the balancing act? Would she still be a woman worthy of your respect on IWD? Read these line again and you’d find that these lines perfectly describe an average male, not all, but most.
They’re not expected to leave their houses, change their surnames, juggle work and home both (although I am proud to say, I’ve come across wonderful men who do it with absolute finesse), sacrifice a prolific career for his wife and let her take the lead. Not a lot is expected of men and hence, on Men’s Day, 19th of November(yes, it exists), we do not see a lot of messages doing the rounds that portray a man to be the ultimate epitome of sacrifice. Only because he’s not expected to be one!
Think! Are we empowering women this way, by perpetuating gender roles and lauding women for doing exactly what the modern day society expects of them. Do this, do that and more and you’re the perfect woman and we want to celebrate you because it’s 8th of March!
No! We’re burdening them again. We’re dishing out to her new rules to abide by! For example, previously a woman was to take care of her kids and her family back home. Now she’s supposed to do that and also be a bread winner along side her darling husband.
Sad, Don’t you think?
So it was Lunch already now and I met my husband and asked him why he had not wished me a happy IWD yet? To which he promptly did. I asked him next, why had he wished me?(I am generally not this torturous, trust me!) He told me because I love him so much and because I take care of the house so well. To this I replied, so do you! You love me and you’re awesome at home taking care of everything, so how am I special? To which he said, you’re not, you’re equal.
And that was music to my ears! I didn’t want to feel special today, I didn’t want flowers or breakfast in bed, I didn’t want him to put me on a pedestal and make me feel like a Goddess with no flaws today, because I am not. I am human just like him and that’s what I wanted him to celebrate.
And that’s what we all should celebrate this Women’s day and all year round. Celebrate that she now has a voice as loud as yours and if not, give her one. Celebrate that she has rights equal to yours and if not, help her stand for it. Celebrate that she can now make mistakes just like you and not be judged any harshly than you will, Celebrate that now she’s equal to you. Celebrate because 8th of March and 19th of November isn’t just another day! 😊