In the middle of slogans and social movements that empower women in our country, I request you to pause and ponder. Do you know who are women fighting against? Is it our social system? Is it our men? Or is it other women? The question may seem weird, but it is not. Until we know our real adversary, we cannot hope to win!
Movie-plots or real-life events?
You must have come across the typical Indian mother-in-law in some pathetic movies or some deplorable daily soaps. The vile, scheming, obnoxious old woman, who cannot see her daughter-in-law in peace. She taunts her continuously and finds faults in everything the poor girl does. She expects her to work in the house, while the other family members make merry.
Then, there are stories about how a girl’s best-friend fancies her husband and ends up breaking the marriage. Or those super possessive friends who cannot bear other females interacting with their ‘besties’. Have you ever thought how these plots are conceived by the super-imaginative writers? Is it possible that these events are inspired by real-life situations? I say, YES.
The life of a girl in India
Let’s talk about the typical life of a typical girl in India. She grows up in a family where her parents take the most important decisions of her life- her schooling, her education, and her marriage. She is raised to become a meek, submissive woman who should ‘adjust’ to her future in-laws’ way of living. If at all she has a career, she is conditioned to prioritize her family over her career, if such a need ever arises.
After marriage, her life-choices are governed by the sensibilities of the in-laws. The kind of clothes she should wear, whether she should work in an office, the number of children she should have etc. are all decided by her new family. Once she embraces motherhood, her life starts revolving around her child(ren). She is expected to give up her aspirations to raise the kids, because, “Career ka kya hai? Family sabse zyaada zaroori hai”.
Once her kids grow up and become independent, she spends her life taking care of her ageing husband. Sometimes, this means neglecting her own health and wellness.
The Three Important Roles of Women in a Woman’s life
Women play a very important role in a woman’s life in the form of her mother, her sister, her mother-in-law, and her closest buddies. This is why women have the power to bring a positive change in another woman’s life. They don’t know it, but women have the potential to change their world for better. The day they will realise their true power, they will be unstoppable.
- The Mother
As a mother, a woman has the power to raise a strong and independent girl. She has the potential to create a professionally successful and an emotionally secure individual who refuses to cater to nonsense. We need to be raise our girls with the belief that they don’t need a man to complete them. We should give our girl child the same education and opportunities as we would give our boy child. Mothers who differentiate between their children because of their gender give them the wrong start. Such mothers are one of the reasons why our society has still not been able to embrace gender equality.
- The Mother-in-law
This role is perhaps the most talked about in our society, and for strong reason. The attitude of the Indian mother-in-law determines the happiness of the daughter-in-law. It is a sad reality that our past hasn’t been glorious when it comes to the topic of ‘sasural’. Dowry and related inhuman treatment are ugly scars on our society’s face. Though times are changing, the change is slow and weak.
As a mother-in-law, we should not forget our own struggles. We should try to support the daughter-in-law and help her without interfering her life. Instead of dictating the terms and conditions of peaceful existence, we should try to understand them and their life-choices. Why should a mother-in-law have to be judgemental?
- Colleagues and friends
Women have at least one close female colleague or friend. If you have this role in someone’s life, you have the power to give strength to her when she needs it the most. Instead of demotivating her or being critical of her decisions, try to make her look at the bright side of her situation. Give her a supportive hug, and tell her that she is not alone. If need be, stand up for her! Sisters can also play a similar, important role.
The Ray of HopeThankfully, many women are realising their power to bring a positive change in other women’s lives. This is evident in the society, for example, by social movements led by women, social media movements, and word of mouth. More women are appreciating other women in their lives. This, however, should not only continue, but grow. Let us, as women, become the reason for someone’s smiles today, and every day of our life.