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Woman…Woeman? Wow-man!

Woman…Woeman? Wow-man!

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Woman on street

Taking inspiration from Becky Hemsley’s poem ‘Breathe’ the author explores the societal dichotomy surrounding woman and the scrutiny she faces regardless of her appearance or choices. It delves into the notion of women being labeled as ‘weaker’ and ‘fairer,’ questioning whether these terms imply physical weakness but immense mental strength.

  1. The poem by Becky Hemsley titled ‘Breathe’ perfectly captures the societal dichotomy when dealing with a woman. Whether she is in a form exposing miniskirt, or in a form covering hijab, there is bound to be an uproar and surprise surprise! It is her psychology, her upbringing, and her ideals that are under scrutiny, not those of the eyes that lech and leer at her!
'Breathe' poem by Becky Hemsley
‘Breathe’ poem by Becky Hemsley

Why are the conflicting terms ‘weaker’ and ‘fairer’ used to describe her? Do they specify anywhere that the ‘fairer’ sex may be physically ‘weaker’, but unfathomably strong in the mind? Such strength as is unknown to the ‘ stronger’ and the ‘ darker ( for more reasons than one!)’ sex? Do they?

No, they surely don’t, blame it on oversight or convenient amnesia, or plain callousness! There are societies where women are never called upon to opine, on anything at all, be it their choice of attire, stream of study, or life partner almost as if they are terrified that she will make the right choice for herself, and how can a patriarchal society allow that?! All decisions about the ‘weaker’ sex, good or bad, must be theirs. There is a need to play God and God forbid, should the girl succeed, there will be questions raised on the ‘means’ she used to get there fringe benefits, anyone?!

A woman with a brain that works is considered very dangerous, a threat to the prevailing social order in many societies… hiding behind veils and nodding mutely in agreement with all male opinions and decisions is all that is expected of her. A very sore and disputed case in point is that of marital rape… yes, a tragic oxymoron… where the husband completely disregards the wife’s consent or intent to participate and goes ahead with his act..and our patriarchal order just smiles upon such behaviour as proof of manhood.

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For centuries, the women have been quietly waiting in the wings, biding their time, looking for an opportunity to trample misogyny under their feet, and let their dreams and aspirations take flight …they have been pinned down physically, pulled down morally, scarred emotionally and yet, look at their innate strength, they have kept that innermost core, that little corner in their intellects and consciousness intact and unscathed, for the day when eyes and minds will open and will let them breathe..let them be, free of all prejudices, biases. The day when the world will accept a woman for who she is, and not chain her in pretentious customs and bigotry..till then, we are waiting with bated breath.

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  • Another jewel of an article. Having told us in the previous article that there are the exemplary characters like Dr. Kadambini Bose Ganguly who have gone through unbelievable odds to get where she did, the author now takes the opportunity in her inimitable eloquent style to show that all women deserve our greatest admiration, respect and understanding of the pillars of strength that they truly are.

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