What Indian Women Achievers have that Men don’t

By Arpit Chhikara in Fashion & Lifestyle 28/07/2016

What I have personally seen with Indian women achievers is courage.

 

Although men boast about how much they have done and accomplished, but what women achievers have is a gigantic pair of balls.

 

Most people live their lives in delusion. It is a lie that they are living. If somebody comes up who is real and can stand up for their ideals, that person shines in the eyes of world and their own selves. And I have seen this with women who have struggled in their lives just for mere acceptance and acknowledgement as a human being.

 

Few months ago, I was with Vasu Primlani. She is one of the world’s top three female stand-up comedians. She has accomplished a lot of things in her life. From being a well renowned environmentalist to being a great entrepreneur, she has tasted all cuisines of life with great successes. She does stand-up comedy events worldwide and is known as the green comedian. But real Vasu is not who she looks like on surface. She is the girl who was raped in childhood. She is the who has been shamed for her sexuality. She is the one who gets called out as a butch. She is the one who suffered through bouts of depression. She has been to jail. She is a hallmark of strength and even I look upto her when I feel lost. She had the courage to find what she wanted in life and make it happen.

 
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Besides her, I also had a chance meeting with well renowned feminist lady who runs an organisation that works for queer women. She faced a lot of criticism for being who she was especially when she openly confessed about her romantic attraction to the same sex. She too faced serious social repercussions of being who she was. She never wanted to make a name for herself, she wanted to be treated as a human being first, and a queer lady later. But the narrowness of mindsets and small enough expectations out of her, she was forced to make a way out of this mess of societal hierarchy. Never the less, all her societal shaming led her to form the organisation she now runs and she has been making the lives of other women better in the ways she always wanted hers to be.

 

I see the following three things that a woman experiences in her life while making the way to her dreams and staying on that path as an achiever of her goals:

 

Shame

Most people see shame and guilt as same. They are not. Besides, shame is one of the emotions that has never ever existed among human beings. It was created by us and is doing no good other than making those people in power more powerful than ever. Guilt is, “I have done something bad”. It is about behaviour. Shame is, “I am bad”. It is about beliefs. Most people get shamed for their desires and particularly ambitious women are targeted for shaming. I used the word targeted since it is the actual representation of mindset of people who shame others. They see women not as humans, but as targets.

 

They feel like they can prey upon a woman’s insecurities and work on her psycho-sexual make up to wear her ambitions down. And many times, they succeed. A woman who works up the courage to question the status quo is seen as a threat. An outcast. A revolution.

 

History has enormous data and accounts on wars and most of them were started in the name of a woman. No wonder the society feels threated by women who seem to be a future success.

 

Women are shamed for having a lover, having sexual desires, dressing the way they dress, walking they way they walk and even told to not have noodles since it is a recipe for rape. Not every person is dedicated and self reliant enough to handle themselves and when you are a women, you have to have some support from the ones who care for you. Not every woman is Bandit Queen but each woman has those seeds of competence that can lead her to a life of fulfilment and achieve her goals. This gets me to the second point.

 

Parenting and self-worth

A strong parent raises a child with healthy self esteem and emotional health. A woman who becomes what she becomes is somewhat tied to her parenting. Since childhood, girls are told to dress modestly, not to go out late, be submissive, respect elders and seek approval from society for your own existence. No wonder they end up feeling worse about themselves and making choices out of fear and not joy. Most of what a woman believes is not what she feels like believing. An average woman is physically smaller than an average man but she is the one who bears the enormous pain of giving birth to a child. I wonder how psychologically strong she is.

 

If a woman’s friends are supportive of her along with her parents, she feels competent to handle herself in the world. If not, she faces the burden of being a great daughter while simultaneously being a woman of worth in her own eyes.

 

We can’t live dual lives and because of this constant pull towards safety and security and timely push towards ambitions and desires, woman are compelled to make a choice. And since they had led their lives seeking advice of parents, they end up choosing a life of safety and give up on their dreams.

 

No doubt many women leave their hopes for a life of greatness and live a life in regret while victimizing them selves for the harm that was done unto her by somebody else. That brings me to the final point.

 

Being weak and under control

Human beings fear the unknown. When we begin our journey towards our dreams, we face the inherent fear of our future. That is when comes the choice to move with courage or give up.

 

The patriarchal make up of our society forces a woman to make choices that are defensive and not offensive. What it means in simple terms is to give up on your dreams and lead a life of being a follower. Follow your parents, then your teachers, your boss if you are into work and finally, follow your husband. People, especially men, fear the women who stand up for themselves. They feel intimidated by ambitious women. That’s why there are no women on senior officer ranks in the armed forces. You know why? Because the forces comprise of men at lower ranks and a man can’t take orders from a woman. This inherent flaw of treating a woman as the weaker sex is making the world a pathetic place for women to become effective leaders and speak their truth. That’s why more often than not a woman is by her mere existence as a woman faces the situations and circumstances she faces. It is not about patriarchal mindset alone, it it about the deep rooted beliefs that have been instilled in us which force us to stay confined to our shells and not take a peak in the world so great that exists outside of that shell.

 
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All the above three points are in conjugation to each other. One feeds on the other. No matter where you are in your life, as a person (and also a woman) you just have to care about the following things:

 

The relationships you have with the people who care for you and who you care about

The work you love doing and feel connected to at a deep emotional level

The work you do and how it makes the lives of people in your life better

That’s it. The world needs more of you. A woman is no more a symbol of beauty. She is the one who is inspiring women of India. She is a mark of change. The most alluring woman in this world who destroyed empires world wide was not the one with a beautiful face. She was Cleopatra. She had a deep desire to gain power over the world. If she could do it then, why can’t you in this age of technology and opportunities. What are you waiting for? The world is in a crisis for startup women entrepreneurs, leaders, managers, women who could innovate, discover and have a hunger to excel and make way out of mediocrity. Then this world will be a better place to be. Watch inspiring women interviews and read up on Indian women start up stories. Don’t let others dictate you what you are capable of.

 

Show them what you have done and thy excellence shall pave way for the greatness that lies within you.

 
 

Contributory Writer for Feministaa

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