Utterances by erudite elite on womanhood are a sorry sham when women have been and continue to be classified blatantly as in past and not too subtly now. A woman is wife material or termed a whore, there are really shades and more colours in between.
Classified is one group to “fool around” with; have fun with; sow wild oats with and keep away from introducing to the family and then there is the other lot to whom preferential treatment is given to take home to mother and family, respectability and acceptance being the goal.
Be it the money lords in corridors of wealth, powerful in seats of respectable positions of envy, politicians elected, self-appointed leaders, governing officials, there is a skewed view that was more rampant in past that a wife at home shares the bed, children, tends to hearth and her worst is acceptable. She is the good woman who needs to be deified; respected; protected and elevated. Garb of respectability covers variety of choices so long as they are hidden.
Then there is an ageist, sexist, sad view that women striving to reach heights of success are willing to compromise their values, may be willing to sleep their way to top in addition to their skill set and talent. These are fun-loving, “free” ladies. Cyndee Lauper did not help with girls “just want to have fun”!
In the past, Bollywood would have black and white heroine versus vamp storylines with the “pursued vs sizzling seducer”, “idealistic glorified vs the immoral”. Over time the woman scorned has evolved and lines have blurred between the vamp and heroine as gray shades seem more realistic and – vamp characters seemed more glamourous, more fun and more real.
On the lighter side, in an interview, the gutsy Raakhee Saawant complained, “Why does Kareena snatch my bread by doing item numbers meant for me?” A designated sati-savitri leading lady has the vamp in her too – every good character has shades of grey and every bad character has goodness too is stark truth.
There was a time when refusal to serve her man in bed, unwillingness to conceive a child as expected, not to toe line of respectability in attire, behavior, choice meant conflict, breaking up of families unless she broke and gave in.
Roving eye concept is known from the days of Adam-Eve, in many a happy marriage, in lower or upper classes, it is overlooked, accepted, suppressed or hidden well. Polyamorous, polygamous, homoamorous are few labels for the not-willing-to-stay tied to monogamy or mono-amorous. Unless two partners are in tandem agreement and as indulgences in name of independence and freedom picks pace, separations, divorces and splits will continue to rise. Deal breaker clashes will not be only reasons contributing to dissolution or relationships.
Dating, live-in relationships, relationship out of marriage, adultery, cougar couples, seem more acceptable often in big cities, but small towns boast of the same in whispers too. It may be self- serving or meets financial or emotional or physical needs or it’s a momentary indulgence or individuals are lonely and need to fill that void inside. In the name of progress, modern evolution, we are open to many once-unacceptable choices to catch up with times, education, advancement, material, technology, availability, access and exposure.
As choices, intermingling and boundaries blur, as times get more complex and complicated with unlimited menu, there will be more confusions across burgeoning group of free thinking in the society.
Vaginas are neither in chastity belt cruelty from once; nor are sacred unreality as in recent past, but a female organ that one is learning is not a bad word. It is acceptable that womb no longer ought to be dictated by partner; family, and timeline; its activity may be a choice of owner. Womanhood is neither a glory, nor a doormat but a state of being that seeks freedom to bloom, support to be self-reliant so the essence of nurturing, compassion, love, softness is celebrated and not relegated to judgements, vaginas, wombs and woes of victimisation.