31 July, 2012

A Perfect Indian Woman. A Stereotype?

A women is a creation, just like a male. She is a sex that experiences strength, love, weakness, hatred, diligence, laziness and every emotion perceivable. She is an emotional being. A women's emotional side responds more often than her logical side. Each women is unique; but aren't they stereotyped nowadays? Isn't a women expected to be an object of noted precision that any change seems to be undesirable?

It all started with the bride hunting sessions going on in my family for my cousin brother. He has no wishes to get married, but my aunt has started 'browsing' for brides. It was during one such session, that I came to the realization how women have to fall under a particular category to be 'desirable' for marriage. My aunt wants a Tamil Brahmin girl of height around 5'11", fair, should be a trained Carnatic singer and a Bharatanatyam dancer. She should be born under a particular star and her family should be well-settled and comfortable. Wait. What are we looking for? Oh yeah, a bride.
Women are not viewed as human beings with their quirks and different personalities. They do not appear to be different to the 'common eye', but a class of beings with the same outer looks and an assumed same inner beauty. The only variation perceived by the society is the size of her bust, her height and her apparent curves.
The search for a bride was more like hunting for an object in a shop. It was not about the bride herself, but things that were of minor importance about her. It wasn't about the emotions, logic, dreams, personality, quirks and inner beauty of the bride, but her 'quotient' at being an object of desire. When will our society ever understand that women have more to them than what is visible?

A 'perfect' Indian woman. Who is she? Is she one who expresses herself? Is she one who is desirable? Is she fat, is she fair or is she tall?
According to our society, a perfect Indian woman is one who drapes herself in a sari (that too draped according to tradition), only leaving an inch between the waist and hip visible and the rest of her body covered. She keeps a bindi on her forehead and wears gold jewellery. The sound of her anklets 'echo' when she walks. She has the head bowed down and doesn't complain about anything. She faces any type of discomfort without expressing it. She follows the advice of her elders and believes in 'Pati Devo Bhava' (husband is God). She is well trained in traditional music and dance and enjoys Indian culture. She thinks love marriage is a sin and career should follow marriage and kids.
No, I'm not kidding. I'm not picturing Aishwarya Rai or Madhuri Dixit in Devdas, as I type this. I'm thinking of the majority of guys who told me their definition of a perfect Indian woman. I'm thinking of how there is no depth in their imagination. There are no emotions involved. The attitude of the women is totally out of the picture. Apparently, it has to be. The perfect Indian woman isn't expressive! Even if a man's hands 'accidentally' touch her on a bus, she would have no choice, but restrain it, isn't it? After all, she is the 'perfect' Indian woman!
An Indian wife is to be blamed, if her husband strays away, inspite of being married. No, she can't sue him. She can't leave him. She will have to woo him back by 'apologizing' for all the 'mistakes' that she did and get him back. It is her 'duty' to stick with him in all odds to be tagged the perfect woman.
An Indian woman is honored as the goddess, Devi. She is worshiped during festivals, adorned with flowers and jewellery and treated in such a high manner, so as to not seek her wrath. But the Devi that we see around us can be subject to domestic abuse and whipped to be kept at a man's fingertips. So much for representing the Indian woman as a goddess.
A Indian woman is never molested. She dresses 'appropriately', so as to not end up in such a situation. It is only those 'inappropriately' dressed who get raped. Those who wear jeans, halter tops and western clothes shame our culture and deserve to be punished by the great Indian men, don't they?
A perfect Indian woman is one who is an epitome of sacrifice, so much that she never lives for herself. She is an representation of love, care and duty. She never disrespects or questions instructions given to her. Her duties are allotted and her 'needs' are tended for. She is one who never raises her voice and bears criticism with all her heart. And that she will, for her heart is numb beyond comparison. All the years of storing pain in her heart has indeed made her inexpressive.

I am not a perfect Indian women. I believe in equality and expression. I believe in my right to freedom. I speak whatever is on my mind. I cannot be stereotyped. I wear western clothes and drape myself in a sari. I keep a bindi, according to my fancy. I laugh when I want and snap at strangers. I do not tolerate inappropriate touching and do not live with it. I compromise, but never sacrifice. My life will come before all those involved in mine. I complain, I respect and disrespect people depending on their character. I have needs that are tended by people because they love me, not because it is their duty. I believe in a happy, well-communicated and an equal rights marriage. I am not Devi, I am not Lakshmi, I am not a goddess, but ME with my flaws, strengths and inadequacies. My heart feels pain and expresses it. I have my quirks. I am annoying at times and very loving when I want to be. There is depth to my looks; my personality and character resonate through them. There is happiness in my life, which adds life to my life. And finally, I cannot be objectified. I am not an object to be 'desired', but a person shaping my life.

I indeed believe that I am a perfect Indian woman. There is more to perfect, there is more to Indian and there is more to woman. I am a perfect Indian woman. The only thing is that it's my own version of it. :)

P.S: 'It' refers to perfect Indian woman and 'more' refers to different versions of perfect/Indian/woman. 

(I felt provoked to write this post after experiencing the above incidents and after reading a particularly infuriating blog-post on the same topic.) 


  1. Lovely post.. I can understand what your cousin must be feeling. I have been there, done that though from a girl's perspective it is more difficult as it means you are expected to change overnight into someone you have not been till now....

    And yes we all are Imperfectly Perfect because perfect is so boring and monotonous. We all strive to be expected as we are and at the right time in life we do find someone who loves us for who we are rather than anything superficial....

    Loads of love and hugs....

    1. Thank you for the lovely comment Me! :)
      What you said is very true.. Perfect is not unique! Love itself needs to be unique enough to suit the lovers :)


  2. A perfect Indian Woman is a Woman without right , privileges and has to live a life according to the wimps and fancies of the so called superior male. This belief has been carried on for generations and about time that it changed. Even men have to realize and ensure women are treated equally, respectfully and HUMANLY

    Nice post:)
    Food for Thought:)

    1. Thank you very much Akhil :)
      I suppose you meant whims! :D

  3. very true and perfectly relevant to the indian system of bridal "browsing"

    1. Thank you very much Yash!! :)
      Hope to see you around often! :)