Our society is most nosy when it comes to the lives of women. Women have to face a barrage of the most inappropriate questions at the most inopportune moments. They have to keep their personal lives on display most of the time for the world to look at. Comments on their skin colour to hair length are always incoming and with unapologetic candour from relatives or neighbours or acquaintances. It is high time, we as a society realise certain questions are really unacceptable to be asked to women of any age.
Start with women’s skin colours. Dusky girls have their worth and value questioned all the time from judgemental stares and comments about their fashion choices to casually flipped advice at what homemade remedies could lighten their skin by a tone. Comments starting with one’s skin range up to considerations of the volume of hair on one’s head, the length of the same, the width of a woman’s waist to how out of tune her body proportions are. Every public gathering involves women having to answer redundant questions about their body weight, fashion choices or quality of personal grooming to over-curious acquaintances.
Questions regarding life choices are the next most frequently asked ones. Choices about career, about working after marriage, about their spouses’ approval in this decision made, about work-life balance, planning a family, raising children, timing a family, having enough time to sustain it, so on and so forth. It is mostly older women who engage in this activity of interrogating younger ones. What fails to be perceived is that these questions are highly personal ones, often demanding answers loaded with a lot of personal trauma, insecurities and discomfort.
Yet over the years, society has taught and conditioned women to view intrusiveness as a form of bonding, showing concern. For generations, women have had to put their personal likes and dislikes, wants and needs, shut up in boxes to act according to the conveniences of a patriarchal social set up. The practice of having their lives laid bare to open questions about their most private details has to be recognised for what it is: an unacceptable breach of social conduct. Women should in no ways be accountable to society for the choices they make nor bound to justify themselves for their decisions.