The day of women has just passed by leaving the fairer sex soaked in aduzlation and superlatives. The past week kept women successfully engaged over catchy slogans, meetings and discussions on women empowerment. Respect and salute to the men force behind the female enthusiasm who acted as the caregiver back home so that the ladies could live the day their way. It is heartening to see the men defying high eyebrows on their motives supporting the females and rejoicing in their happiness. The act is laudable more so because this gesture is not only making the world a better place to live but also acknowledging their own inner femininity lying beneath their rock hard surface. There is no dearth of generous, compassionate, kind men around who are choosing to be Stay Home fathers, delighting in role of homemaker or playing nanny to their kids. Womanhood is not about manicured nails , frills and pink clothes but celebrating softer and subtler side of one’s personality usually kept wrapped up,..hidden and unseen in a man. Shedding tears and expressing emotion is such a taboo for him in society. Women’s day mark the freedom to let out those bottled up emotions and revel in the femininity of self. Men who achieve greatness as poets, artists, chefs, choreographers, fashion designers only prove the dominant subtler side of their selves while once considered masculine jobs like drivers, pilots, army person, engineers are flooded with woman workers. Warmth, kindness, love that usually defines a woman is a powerful trait of a human being in general. Simone de Beauvoir rejects the biological basis of being a woman in society and writes “one is not born, but rather becomes a woman.” People struggle to fit into the ancient standards of womanhood and manhood fixed by society. Different societies fix different norms and standards of femininity, womanhood and beauty. The year 2017 saw the tabloids flashed with the pictures of dark skinned Demi Leigh Peters representing South Africa wearing dazzling Miss Universe crown for being the most beautiful woman in the universe though Indian society at large still stand by the fair skin standard of beauty. Earlier people liked to wed demure, docile and submissive kind of girl and now outgoing, bold, independent female is the preferred lot. Indian kings & maharajas are often picturised with long flowing hairs, adorning danglers, jewelleries, bracelets, armlets making us doubt credential of a woman not chasing those ornaments. Women and men are not only xx and xy chromosomes but more than that – a persona of myriad characteristics that needs to be commemorated. If we relate masculinity with being muscular and strong , the celebrated boxer and a mother of three children Mary Kom sets an example to that and there are many others sportswomen who follow her footsteps.
Many women are taking up the path to freedom but not all by choice. Out of fear and insecurity of being left out penniless and homeless, a woman enters men’s world and gradually become one of them. The harsh world wipes out the pretty smile off her face. She tries to put stern and tough look and wears serious facial expressions to display power and determination so that to survive in the rough and rowdy world. Career takes preference over homemaking. She ceases to be the same fragile, sweet, dependent woman that the man desires and values her for. Hurdles come her way in form of discrimination, sexual harassment and other evils. But equally doubtful is of her being happy and secure within four walls .There is hardly any space to do little things of pleasure…as to help a needy relative, or to make any purchase without being questioned. These lesser halves toil as slaves and maid servants and denied the basic needs, necessities, and nutrition. The society must come forward to help her from this role conflict, living in constant self denial and guilt. Household work must be recognized and our country must learn a lesson from Venezuela where the law permits salary and full time mother’s pension to a housewife thus building respect for domestic work and dignity to the Labour of Love. Women’s day could be a tool to move a society away from inequality and violence . It is about nurturing and complementing each other, narrowing the gender gap as well as weaving the lives together like a spider web – the symbol of industriousness and fragility.