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A Good Woman

by Aarti Singh

29 October 2022

Over the years, generations even, women have been made to feel like in order to be a ‘good’ woman and desirable they need to be selfless, nurturing, sacrificing, always putting others’ needs ahead of their own. This deep seated yet irrational pedestal of being ‘wife-material’.  Women are made to believe that they will be deemed perfect only if they think about the good of others first. This is one of the numerous ways how being more self-centred in choices has been the easiest way to villainise women. So today, when a woman decides that she has had enough of bearing people’s expectations and chooses to live life on her own terms, we don’t take over a second to label her as selfish. 

As a society, we love to villainise women. It’s our favourite timepass. As soon as we see a woman comfortable in her sexuality, concentrating on herself and not seeking constant validation, it irks our soul and pricks our ears.

Generation after generation, we are fed with the framework of being the “ideal” woman. And more so than often this includes being able to cook well, looking after one’s family, being independent but not so independent as to threaten their male contemporaries; managing, juggling everything and being good at it. The list really does not end. And for all that matters, we can’t seem to trace where and when it commenced either.

Every villainess you see, every single one of them is portrayed as this head strong woman who has problem trusting people, who is independent, highly educated and in a place of power as of to portray that this is what will happen if we give women power. They are always shown to be alone. Or cheated or abandoned. Why is it the prevalent thought that if a woman is successful and unabashed then she must be hard to love? What is it exactly that makes them hard to love? The fact that they aren’t dependent on someone’s validation? Or is it the fact that they are comfortable in their own selves? 

So quick question- who set this narrative? And had they ever met an actual living, breathing, strong woman in their life? Because it doesn’t seem like it.  

One would ask out of sheer curiosity that why are we served this narrative. The answer is simple, really. It is done in order to reinforce the popular idea of how successful, educated and modern women are usually selfish and in the wrong to not think about the population of the whole Earth before making decisions that doesn’t have anything to do with- well the population of the whole Earth. With this obscure message of misconceptions that have been so broadly and falsely advertised, we are not only equating women’s independence with arrogance and modernity with shamelessness, but it also projects highly educated women to be ill-mannered and inconsiderate.

Truthfully, there is no woman who wore make up one day and ran away from her home the next, or a woman who got a promotion and decided to divorce her husband, or a woman who earned money and turned into a witch. But there are women who are seen as arrogant and ill- mannered just because they did not let anyone else’s idea of femininity describe them.

It's sort of humorous as to how lipstick of a slightly darker shade carries the ability to put a woman on a pedestal, how portraying a woman successful and confident goes hand-in-hand with her being non-religious and how merely a haircut or piercing or tattoo holds the power to pronounce a woman pure or impure. And it’s absolutely hilarious how you can be educated, successful, rich, romantically settled, and doing well in every aspect of life yet still you will be forced to fit into a bogus mould of femininity to be considered a “good” woman.

Honestly speaking, it is utterly baseless that society has a set of guidelines so as to judge what a conventional “good woman” looks like. You can’t enclose anyone in an invisible cage and expect them to grow at the same time. So it is about time that those guidelines should be either updated or done away with.

Why is it the prevalent thought that if a woman is successful and unabashed then she must be hard to love?

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