Taking up a tag from Vatsa for International Women's Day, albeit very late!
What does it mean to be a woman in the 21st century. Apart from the obvious 'rights' and 'perks' which have been discussed to death, the very fact that women can discuss being women in the 21st century is a testament to how mindsets have changed.
Vatsa wrote a lovely post on the people behind a successful woman and I think that she has hit on a a very significant aspect of success.
I think that as 'modern' women we have it harder. Period. We have the additional responsibilities without the privileges. After all, is it not a privilege to come home to a hot meal, a clean house and a warm bed. Is it not a privilege to enjoy time with your children, without the responsibility of their upbringing, is it nor a privilege to be the 'bread winner' and not worry whether the bread has been bought or not. Is it not a privilege to be applauded for long hours at work and not questioned for ignoring your family and being 'career oriented'. Is it not a privilege to be able to walk the streets wearing whatever you like and not have to listen to jeers and cat-calls. These are privileges - not rights.
As a modern woman, I believe in only one thing - striving for equality. Not female chauvinism. I had once written a post about how my parents brought me up as a human being, not as a male or female. And that is what I believe in. But that is not to say that I am not proud to be female. Sure there are times when I am frustrated at the undeserved privileges that men enjoy but there are other times when I can see the changes that are coming about. I see it at home, at work, all around me, everyday.
I do not think that successful women are a testament to modernisation of society or changing mindsets. Success testament to the women themselves. Their struggle against several odds and the support of their families.
From personal experience I can say that the family is but the single most important entity in governing a person's mindset. For much as traits, opinions, likes and dislikes can be acquired, even the fact that one is open to such acquisition comes from one's family.
So in saying all this what is it that I'm trying to say - plain and simple it is this. In several parts of the world people (men and women alike) believe that emancipation of women means that they work, drink, smoke and have the 'right' to do what men do. But these same people do not acknowledge that emancipation comes not from what they can do but that they can choose to do. These are the same people that would raise eyebrows at a mother who worked all day and didn't have the energy to cook. At a woman who told a man she loved that she wanted to meet some career goals before marriage, or one that didnt' have the aptitude for decorating her home so it was always a pleasant mess. Because yes, society has 'given' women the 'right' to do things - to do more things. But not the option to forego their 'duties' in the process.
This is not to say that things are not changing. Just as men are patted on the back for helping out with the chores in spite of work, women are applauded for being successful at work as well as doing the chores. Both things being equally important for a good life.
So to me being a woman in the 21st century means being able to express myself, in thought, in deed and action. It means being able to share a part of myself with people and putting myself up for praise and criticism alike. It means having choices and the strength of make decisions and choose whether or not to stand by them. It means being able to walk, talk, think and fight. It also means being exposed to a lot of BS - and taking it like a man!