On of my pet themes.
Being a woman in this day and age.
Quite an interesting article. And she’s been able to sum up quite well the feelings, the options and the concerns.
Where am I in all this – somewhere between the twenty-somethings and the thirty-somethings 😉 And thankfully quite some distance away from the forty-somethings of Sex and the City.
My generation, or girls who grew up in small town India like me, didnt have role model working mothers. We’re mostly the first generation of working women in our extended families. We got conflicting messages – a forceful girls-can-do-whatever-boys-can; you have to study well… but you’ve also got to learn to cook and keep house and look pretty – how else will land a good groom, how else will you please your mother-in-law.
The ultimate aim of a little girl was to be married into a good house, with a good husband, and have good kids. And of course keep everyone else happy.
Women were to be like angels – selfless, always giving, always taking care of everyone else.
To be ‘ambitious’ was like being adulterous. Unless of course your ambition was to land a good groom, or run a huge household, or perhaps, by some stretch aspire to be a teacher.
Yes, every once in a while someone would say, “bitiya humara naam roshan karegi. humari bitiya tho engineer banegi. Humari bitiya tho IAS banegi”. But it wasnt meant to be taken really serious.
Talking to guys was taboo. So was wearing jeans, or “tight” clothes. Reading, playing, running were all taboo. “Jyada padhogi tho chasma lag jayega. fir kaun shaadi karega tumse.” “Arre, aise ladkon ki tarh bahar daudti rahogi tho padosi kya kahengi.” “Kabhi tho shareef ladkiyon ki tarah salwar kameez pahan liya karo”. “Chee chee yeh kya angrezi channel dekhti rahti ho” (even if you’re watching BBC!). God forbid you ever got a phone call from a male classmate!!
Women of my generation got conflicting messages while growing up.
I’ve gotten over most of that.
I’m a successful woman by any definition (except my parents – I wont be really “successful” till I’m married and have a coupla kids). I have a good college degree – a Masters from the top engineering institutes in the country. An interesting, well paying job. A car. A flat in my name (yah, I’m still paying off the home loan).
But somethings, still hurt.