“Build a house?" exclaimed John.
"For Wendy," said Curly.
"For Wendy?" John said, aghast. "Why, she is only a girl!"
"That," explained Curly, "is why we are her servants.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Woman. If there is a creation of God that can be unbelievably emotional in the heart but also extremely strong in the soul at the same time, it has to be the woman. When she is a daughter, she is tender and submissive as a mark of respect for her guardians who care for her and to whom she is forever grateful. When she is a sister, she is selfless and sacrificial owing to the beautiful bond she shares with her siblings that persuades her to act in their favour. When she is a wife, she is loyal and loving, providing a comforting shoulder and a wise ear into which her partner can pour in all his problems and trust her to make the best decisions. And when she is a mother, she cares for her children like no other being could care for them, understanding all their needs, giving them the best of the best, never compromising with their happiness.
In all of this, she seems noble and selfless, an 'ideal' character for a woman. But isn’t there one thing that jumps out at you when you read through that paragraph? In all these phases of a woman’s life, she lives, not for her own self, but for someone else – someone she feels obliged to care for. No amount of denial can change the fact that since the inception of our kind, women have been expected to talk, to walk, to eat, to behave in a certain manner. She has been expected to dedicate her life for the wellbeing of the ones around her. But now, don’t you feel it is high time that women, for once, started living for themselves?
Don’t get me wrong – I am in no way suggesting that young girls all over the world start throwing away their lives and become deranged punk rockers or nomadic hippies. Neither am I implying that this particular trait that is somewhat exclusive to women is improper or something you just have to do away with because we all have had at least one woman in our lives who has made a whole lot of difference to us – our mothers.
I have a mother too, and I don’t know what I would have done without her patience and gentleness with me even when I’m being the headstrong teenager that I am. My father has done a lot for me too but it is true that Mum has had to sacrifice a lot more than he did. She gave up her job to raise me, to be there for me all the time, to watch me grow and to seek happiness in my first steps and first words. She silently deals with it whenever I yell at her for touching my stuff and never says ‘no’ to any of my extravagant wishes. And it’s not just my mother we’re talking about. Think about yours – how many times has she given up her share of dessert for you? And what thanks does she get for that? You complaining that you didn’t like what she cooked for you and your friend’s mum cooks better food than she does.
It’s the little things that matter to her now because somehow, for some really unfortunate reason, she has stopped expecting big.
I understand that it is naturally embedded in a female’s character to be gentle and kind, to a greater extent than in males but what we need to understand is that there is a fine line between being kind and being exploited. And what we girls need to figure out is where exactly this line is. Don’t let this world, which is still essentially male-dominant, oppress you and your dreams. If there’s something up there, twenty miles above you that you really want, don’t be afraid to reach out and grab it. You deserve every opportunity and every privilege in the world. You are strong enough to break free of the bonds and fly higher. Being a girl doesn’t mean you have to compromise with anything. You are just as special as anyone else. Be proud of the woman you are.
And yeah, if you need to make yourselves feel good about it, always remember that a great man once said –
“What would men be without women? Scarce, sir...mighty scarce.”
― Mark Twain