As a 21st century independent woman, I wonder when we will finally live in a judgement-free world and society.
Because when it comes to women – I think we’re all slightly confused. And not just the men; sometimes us womankind too. Between what we think we do, and what we actually do. We share quotes on girl power on our Instagram and Whatsapp stories regularly. We send social media love to female athletes when they bring home medals from the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. In our own circles, we talk highly about women who are doing well in their professional and social lives. Yet, what we don’t do is stop judging them. While we continue to sing their praises, we don’t refrain from passing judgements about the way they look, talk, behave – all of it.
And with judgement comes a truckload of free advice. Whether you’ve asked for it or not. It all starts with a casual comment – about how you look like you’ve put on a few inches and how you could think of signing up for yoga classes, because you’ll look so pretty when you’re thin. How you should’ve chosen a slightly brighter colour for the society Diwali party outfit because pink makes you look dark beta. Advice on how they shouldn’t stay out late at night because you’re an achhe ghar ki ladki. Everyone from the neighbourhood aunty who you barely know, to your boss at work, to relatives you meet once a year. Everyone will tell you their opinion and give you their advice. And if you politely try telling them that you don’t want their words of wisdom, they will make you feel bad. Uff, yeh aajkal ki ladkiyan. They just don’t listen. Afterall, it’s all for your own good beta. They will say.
What also doesn’t help is that in our minds and heads, we have this pre-set stereotype of how the perfect woman must resemble. And anything lesser than that calls for a round of passing judgements, comments and opinions. When a 34-year-old female Prime Minister enjoys a private night with her friends, we call her out for dancing and drinking alcohol. Because apparently people holding public office and positions of power have no right to a personal life.
A University lecturer is almost forced to resign because she posted pictures of herself in a swimsuit. Never mind all those men who spam women’s inboxes with questionable pictures of themselves. A pregnant 29-year-old, in absolute casual humour is jeered at by her own husband and family, for the weight she’s put on during pregnancy. For goodness’s sake, do you not realise that she’s carrying an entire human being inside of her? And as a family, you probably should be worrying about her and her baby’s health, over how she’s not fitting into her slim-fit jeans anymore.
Do we really live in a free world and country? Because as far as we womenfolk are concerned, we always seem to be somehow trapped in the judgments of others. If it’s not behaviour shaming, it body shaming. If not that, it is sanskaar shaming. They judge when we’re pregnant, they judge we’re not. They judge when we party, they judge when we don’t. And, of course, the list only gets longer.
Maybe it isn’t completely our fault that we end up consciously or subconsciously judging other women. Maybe it’s just ingrained in us after years of conditioning. By what we’ve seen on TV, and around us all these years. From what our mothers and nanis and dadis have taught us. It wasn’t completely their fault too, they were acting out of their own beliefs and conditioning. And what they had seen with the generations of women that came before them. But the question is – can we, as a slightly more evolved, aware generation, make it our responsibility to break this circle of judgement? To allow other women to live their lives the way they wish. And if we cannot be a support, at least not be an obstacle at least?
I know this sounds a little dramatic, but if we can train ourselves to not look at other women with the lenses of judgement, perhaps we might, in the long run, ensure that our daughters and granddaughters may not have to suffer the way we did. And just like how women before us fought for privileges that we enjoy today, perhaps this can be our own contribution to generations that come after us. The gift of being free to live, without being judged.
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