[Disclaimer: I am not suffering from narcissistic personality disorder, nor am I a self-obsessed, self-centered, entitled jerk. Bear with me till you finish reading the first two paragraphs. I have some important things to say which I’m sure you’d like to read.]
I am a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a sister-in-law, a niece, a cousin, and more recently, an aunt. I am also a writer, a dreamer, a feminist, a hopeless romantic, a voracious reader, a realist at times, an idealist at others, and one who has been bitten by wanderlust. I am a unique individual, as are the people around me as I sit writing this piece on the train. These are all parts of me, but not all of me. Sure, they make up a great deal of what makes me me, but they don’t even cover half of what and who I am.
I am a single woman who loves her life as it is now, but it took me a long time to come to this state of being. I am not going into that here, because that journey is fodder for another post. Anyway, as I stand today, I may or may not remain single tomorrow. I may get married or remain single for the rest of my life. That’s my choice to make. I also like kids, and think that my six-year-old nephew is perfect and adorable to the point that I let it slide when he doesn’t wash his hands properly (dirty hands is a pet peeve of mine). But do I want kids of my own? Do I even want to take on such a huge responsibility? Do I have the capacity to raise a child in a manner that I was raised? Frankly, I don’t know. Maybe I will have kids someday, maybe not. That’s my choice too.
So you see, a person, an individual, has many facets to them – some good, some bad, some ugly, and some amazing. The sum of the parts is more awesome than the parts themselves. But the parts are important to make up the whole.
However, this belief of mine got a hit when I read a rather disturbing interview of Lisa Haydon by Times of India. When asked about feminism, this is what she had to say:
“I don’t like the word feminist. I don’t think women trying to be men is feminism. I also don’t believe in being outspoken for the sake of it, or just to prove a point. Feminism is just an overused term and people make too much noise about it for no reason. Women have been given these bodies to produce children, and the spirit and tenderness to take care of people around us. It’s fine to be an outspoken and working woman. I don’t want to be a man. One day I look forward to making dinner for my husband and children. I don’t want to be a career feminist.”
Feminism doesn’t mean hating men, nor does it mean women wanting to become men. In fact, in the simplest of terms, it means ‘seeking social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.’
Whatever day or age, we do need feminism. Women have NOT been put on this earth to pop out babies. It is NOT their sole purpose in life. If every woman adhered to such a narrow definition of womanhood, then we have a serious problem on our hands. It’s due to feminism that we have realized that we as women are entitled to what a man takes for granted. That being single or married, is entirely in our hands. That having a baby is a choice and not a duty that is to be fulfilled at all costs, even at the cost of our lives. Sure, some women love being mothers, they find fulfillment by it. It’s their choice, and that’s great. There are even some women, who don’t ever want to bring a child into this world. Again, it’s their choice, and that’s great too.
Being a woman doesn’t, shouldn’t, and mustn’t be tied to one becoming a mother or not. A woman’s self-worth doesn’t, shouldn’t, and mustn’t be measured whether or not they’re mothers, or even choose to be mothers someday. The sole decision to have a baby or not doesn’t, shouldn’t, and mustn’t make her any less or more of a woman. It’s their body, it’s their choice, and no one has the right to question that decision.
And if Lisa Haydon wants to become a wife, a mother, make round rotis and feed her family, great. That’s her choice, and no one has the right to question it. But she doesn’t have any right to judge other women who may or may not choose to become mothers. Or even suggest that it’s the ONLY purpose for which women were put on this planet. Or proclaim that ‘we are women made for the greatest role ever – bringing life into this world.’
Yes, I am a woman and I have a womb. But that’s not ALL I am. I am so much more. It is just a part of me, not all of me.
Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License