I’ve been debating if I should write about this or not. But it has been on my mind ever since I read a post by an acquaintance who clearly defined what makes a woman and doesn’t. She was talking about her opinion, of course, and clearly stated that the ‘woman’ has disappeared in today’s world where women are trying to be equal to men. They wear pants, smoke and ‘speak foul’ she said. And that apparently takes away a woman’s feminity from here.
Such a post can never go unchallenged and she was shortly beset upon by various people such as me asking ‘what defines feminity’ and ‘how can you be so archaic’.
She defended herself that she was talking about individuality and the ‘natural innate constitution of a woman’.
Is the ‘natural innate constitution of a woman’ actual feminity or is this something we learn as we grow up. As children, boys and girls are the same. It is only when the reach the age of 3-4 years is when you begin to notice their gestures as male or not. A woman has more access and is approved to wear more bright, colourful clothes and accessories. Let’s be honest – a woman’s make up is a fascinating jumble of colourful pots and every child gets attracted to it. But while girls are encouraged to play with it, the boys are gently dissuaded from touching it over the years. A girl is dressed in pretty, frilly frocks and a guy is given an action figure.
I believe that the whole concept of ‘innate feminity’ is a myth and the biggest societal imposition. It is something society expects you to be, with the decorations of clothing and a particular kind of behaviour. Womanly Grace is an entirely different thing and that, every woman has. But most of us look for a different kind of grace when we talk about ‘womanly grace’ – the sway of her hips, the drape of a sari or a dress, the gentle gait.
When women like the person above state that a woman’s feminity / womanliness is restricted to the way she looks and if you smoke, drink, wear jeans and curse, you aren’t a woman, it answers the question to why we are still so regressive.
Another friend pointed out today that women are the custodians of culture. Your initial thoughts and actions and lessons are shaped by the mother rather than the father. And if women think so regressively, how can you ever expect a man to respect a woman when he has been taught to respect only the ‘sway of her hips’.
A fruit vendor I pass everyday is perhaps the most rough looking woman I’ve met in a while. She is dark, fat and even has a light moustache. But when you take a closer look and watch her hands. The way she slices the fruit, the way she deftly adds the spices you want to it. That’s grace.
Watch the way a woman in a sari jumps over a ditch and a woman wear pants does.
The person also claimed that she did not mean these thoughts in an archaic manner. I’m “Modern” she claimed because she hated cooking, household chores, she wore jeans and she came back late from work.
Really? Is this all that defines as a ‘modern’ women? The inability to cook and returning late from work? When did being ‘modern’ or feminist become synonymous with “I will not do what other women do” or “I’m better than him”. To me, that’s merely an immature woman.
A real modern woman, to me, would just make her choices and is self sufficient. She doesn’t do things because she has to and does it because she wants to, and maybe sometimes needs to. This does not mean has alienate herself from family life, needs to be a bitch or not know how to cook. All of that is the composition of her as a person. Does alienating yourself from the world and family make you modern?
I do not like to cook. It is not that I cannot. I can, even if I am no gourmet chef. If I have to, I will cook and survive. But my abilities in the kitchen do not particularly translate to me as a modern woman or not. My kitchen skills are a mere reflection of my laziness and lack of patience. How does that reflect on my modernity or lack of it?
Am I modern woman? Some would say so, perhaps. Do I think I am one? I’m not really sure and I don’t particularly care either. I’m just trying to navigate things in the best way possible. This is who I am, without trying to make a statement.
I honestly do not know what makes a ‘modern’ woman. Women have been breaking conventional molds since the mold was made. Because you cannot fit an entire gender into a mold.
I’m just a woman. And that’s all I want to be. Not modern. Not feminist. Not a crusader. Just me. With the freedom to make my choices. Why the hell worry with yet another label?