A few days ago as I sat in bed flipping channels, holding a jar of Nutella in one hand and my TV remote in the other, I came across a movie I suddenly remembered I loved watching as a child; What Women Want. The movie stars my all-time crush, Mel Gibson (and Helen Hunt) and of course as the name suggests, it’s all about how his character in the film, a typical male chauvinist (obviously), finally discovers what women really want.
This movie got me thinking, as do most things in life nowadays. What do women really want? Is there a specific set of requirements that we as a gender actually have? Is it so easy to pen down what men want? Is that why that’s never a question? Or is it just that what men really want is never given that much of a thought? Are they just so easy to interpret or are they so complicated that no one even wants to try figuring their brains out? Either way, the hullabaloo over the question of what women want really amuses me. We’re not that complicated.
After a little bit of effort to shake off these random thoughts, I actually sat and tried to think of what I as a woman want. I came up with a list of things that when I read out loud to myself, seemed too petty. See, I realised soon enough, though, why that was. My list entirely consisted of what I as a woman would want in a partner. I felt ashamed because I think of myself as a strong independent woman who, yes, just like everyone else wants a happy relationship with someone who they can love and cherish; but at the same time, I have never wanted my life to be about just that relationship. I couldn’t have been too hard on myself, though, because that is what us women are conditioned to think like. That is what we are taught to want. A good man, a beautiful home, so on and so forth. So yes, that was my instinctive thought process, and then there’s the thought process that I have inculcated in my life.
So take two; what do women really want? Yes, I mean other than loyalty and flowers. It didn’t take me long to pen this down either. Actually, it was easier than the first list.
Number 1 – To Feel Safe
That sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately in the world that we live in, it only sounds simple. It is a far away dream that keeps my mother awake every single night.
Should a girl, just 13, really have to worry that a strap of the bra that society deems so important to wear might actually attract unwanted attention and be the potential cause of sexual harassment?
Should a young woman, of merely 25, really have to think twice every single time she wants to step out of her house after dark? Should her life depend on the grace of the sun?
Should a mother to a newborn girl really have to worry about leaving her alone with a distant relative for just 5 minutes?
Is that really the kind of world we want to live in?
Number 2 – To Not Be Judged
For every single move that she makes.
It can’t be that hard, can it?
Why does my stomach, bare in a sari not give rise to the demon in you when just the nape of my neck in a plain white T-shirt might? Who are you? Why is your mind so impure?
Why does the thought of a woman staying on with a man that abuses her give you more comfort than the thought of her moving on to another man that loves and cherishes her? Is it because you thought that the holy fire was somehow more sacred than her self-respect?
Why do you think that the successful woman spending hours working hard to give her family a better life is a bad mother? Why do you think she slept her way to the top? Does she scare you? Does her power intimidate you?
Number 3 – To Feel Free
Here’s a harsh reality of being a woman; most people you meet don’t respect you. In fact, they analyse the daylights out of how you speak, eat, sit, stand, what you look and smell like, all while you’re probably talking to them about a potential business idea.
How can I feel free if I don’t feel respected?
How can a girl walking to school feel free when men her father’s age look at her like she’s meant to be devoured?
How can a girl who just learnt how to drive feel free when she’s told women aren’t good drivers anyway?
How can a girl who wants to study or pursue a career feel free when she’s told that she can’t because this is her age to get married?
How can a woman who was made to get married at that “right” age feel free when she wants to walk out of that marriage and can’t; because she wasn’t allowed to lead a life of financial independence?
It’s this simple. Really. The answer to this question. What women want is so so simple, and yet it seems so unachievable. Like they say though, life is nothing without hope and a little bit of hard work. So I suppose that’s where the answer lies.
Love, peace and the freedom of choice. Here’s my wish for you until my next post.