Remember the story of Snow White whose stepmother has this ‘mirror mirror on the wall?’ Shakespeare said ‘vanity thy name is woman’. I think this is the weakness of a woman... vanity. If women spent as much time in self development as they do in beauty parlours, there would be a tremendous change in their inner beauty which is more to be vain about than trimmed eyebrows and rosy red lips. It is vanity that makes women get into clothes that burst at the seams, wear weird hairdos, load themselves with jewelry and show off their physical assets. Even school and college girls spend more time before the mirror than looking within to see and focus on competencies. I was shocked to see in toy stores in US, ‘dress up kits’ for girls-with tiaras, princess wear and other baubles. There are Barbie make up kits too. It is high time women stopped looking at themselves as decorative pieces and take themselves seriously. The fashion gurus will be out of business no doubt but at least women will have little reason to complain that men look at them as commodities to be enjoyed.
Women have been erased, stomped, and buried for centuries – this is the opinion of a western woman. I would say that Indian women have been erased, stomped, buried and revered for centuries. To a large extent, women have been responsible for all this, themselves and that was because they had no support from each other. They had so much jealousy and suspicion dividing them that they allowed the men to take over and make use of this chasm. Things have not changed much though women have come out of the burial ground. They continue (at least most of them) to let themselves be erased and stomped and are no more revered like their predecessors were. While battling for supremacy in a male dominated world, we have left behind something even more precious-femininity. We are forcing ourselves out of the shell we were in and as it cracks, the edges hurt us, leaving us bleeding. It is great to be a woman and not feel self conscious about some of the responsibilities that go with it. Cooking and housekeeping are certainly top on the list! No getting away from those. Rearing children comes next and all else follows. If we can make a go of the various roles, we are ‘revered’. If we try to compete with men and put our own core competencies on the burner, we end up ‘erased and stomped’. I think we should heed what Joan Baez said, Instead of getting hard ourselves and trying to compete, women should try to give their best qualities to men – bring them softness, teach them how to cry.