Freedom of women in the contemporary times: a myth?

women’s freedom

The concept of freedom is a widely advocated topic. However, there is a generalized yet stringent template of freedom construed by society when it comes to that of women. Somewhere, is it happening that the society in attempting to advocate for women’s freedom is rather curbing it by deciding the definition of freedom on behalf of them? Freedom is not just about the popular idea of it. Instead, it needs to get reflected from the inner self of everyone. Freedom should, ideally, lie in the mind and demeanour of an individual. It is intrinsic and cannot be fathomed in terms of only external pursuits. The actuality women’s freedom in India, and not the fancy version of it, is shown in the following instances:

Marital Rape:

Marital Rape can be seen across as a major impediment in the way of women in attaining freedom in its true essence. It is discrimination that has been conveniently homogenized in society. The presence of such an unfortunate conception reflects upon the materialization of the whole existence of women in society. It reduces their position to a mere inanimate state. It clearly asserts that marital rape is an engrained nuisance in Indian society. The idea of consent to sexual activities post marriage is to “implied” on behalf of a woman. The mere fact that she is married takes away her right to say no to any kind of intimate activity between her and her husband. Isn’t this a violation of the Right to live with dignity? Does it not go against her guaranteed fundamental rights? The reason behind such heinous reality is the misconstrued notion that wives are their husbands’ property. How can we assert the presence of equal freedom between men and women when such a basic element of consent is subjectively available to women?           

Irrational Generalizations:

The modern age definition of freedom of women is very constricted and narrow in terms of the inclusivity of choices. It doesn’t provide for the free flow of decisions amongst women. The society, while constructing this definition, forgets to provide the right to decide for themselves to the women. It creates a standard idea of the freedom of women. However, one generalized idea of fancy freedom might not be freedom at all. Freedom implies the liberty to take decisions of one’s life, to make choices, to freely express one’s self and the like. But, the new-age definition of it certainly revolves around the surface definition of freedom. But there are instances when, while attempting to conform to the generalized idea of freedom, the real sense of freedom gets lost. For instance, a woman wearing Hijab is not necessarily a sign of religious repression. It might be her choice to wear Hijab and not a compulsion. But society has become so obsessed with the generally perceived perceptions that it will make irrational assumptions without even knowing what that woman really wants. We are advocating for women’s rights without even knowing what they really want. How can this be freedom in its true sense? It is less empowering and more constricting rather in the modern age world.

Non Conformity with the set beauty standards:

The society has created an archetype of beauty. A woman who, apparently, does not conform to these ridiculous set standards of beauty she is not considered beautiful enough. She has to go through various struggles on a daily basis. She is realized what all she lacks. These standards are more like iron shackles tied to every woman, putting the weight of an irrational checklist of beauty on her. The social media has put pressure on women to look a certain way. This definitely affects their self-worth. They doubt themselves and their capabilities. This has often induced many issues among women. The instances of bulimia and depression, for example, have increased manifold times over these years. Women like Angelina Jolie have often been vocal about their struggle with body issues. Women are getting enslaved by such absurd societal expectations. The biggest ramification of it is the low self-esteem of many women. It restrains their growth and development to the maximum potent level.

The blame game:

The blaming and shaming of women after something unfortunate happens to them is another obstacle in the pursuit of freedom of women, altogether. There have been multiple cases in which a woman is blamed for any kind of brutality inflicted upon her. It is either blamed upon the length of her dress, her timings or simply upon her illusion of having the freedom to live her life on her own term, guaranteed by the society, which is nothing but a fallacy. There have been many cases in which this blame game is done by the relatives of the victim, politicians, and society in general. The same is done in rural areas in a more vocalized version and in a sugar-coated manner in urban areas. Moreover, the character assassination of women is also prevalent in the society. There have been many yardsticks set by society to evaluate the character of a woman. Such irrationalities and absurdities reflect upon the repressive and regressive mindset of society even in the 2st century. This prohibits the actualization of freedom of women. This is the sad reality of this so-called woke world.

The actual comprehension of freedom is a matter of dynamic approach. It needs to change with time in order not to become redundant. No more advocacy, irrational justifications and unnecessary clarifications will be required from when the freedom from the years of patriarchal instincts will be achieved. The contemporary situation needs to evolve and develop into something more inclusive of women and their right to make choices and decisions. India ranks 131st among 152 countries in the Global Ranking of women’s inclusion and well being. What more needs to be said? There is still a long way ahead. A major change is required to combat this social termite. The definition of Freedom of women, henceforth, should not be confined to the fancy ideas of it. It should rather be naturally ingrained in the mainstream fabric of society. Freedom of women, in its entirety, will be achieved when women get to define it. Mere subservience to the generalized definition of it is not freedom

Edited by Ojaswi Gupta

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

I am pursuing BA LLB (Hons.) from Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala. I am a first generation lawyer of my family. The intricacies of law fascinate me a lot and I enjoy myself while dealing with the same. Reading is my stress buster. I am a firm believer of the saying that law is the rudder of the ship of state and I endeavour to contribute to the development of the same to my maximal extent.