The Women Gossipers

The Women Gossipers

Ms Sonal Singh

Head, Corporate Communications, Jindal Stainless

They are everywhere. Slavering with stories and theories on women. They are found among both sexes. Gossiping about women is their chief pastime. Like herds, their thoughts on the subject are all the same.

That women envy each other. That women can never be true friends with other women. That women are poor drivers. That women nag. That women are family breakers. That parenting is a woman’s responsibility. That women are born to be homemakers. That career women are social threats. Etcetera.  

“You know what, when we men become friends, we barely care about each other’s wealth or assets. We simply chill out. But when women are together, all they notice is the jewellery and clothes of other women.” I’ve heard self-appointed social commentators explain. Let’s ask them – do you remember the cars and official positions of your male friends? Yes, you do. Because you take interest in cars and designations. People remember what interests them. Social conditioning is a significant determinant of interests. Let’s take an example. You (a male) and your sister saw your father driving a car and chasing a career. You and your sister saw your mother engrossed in daily management of household and fashion and cosmetics. Your sister is as good or bad a driver, as you are a cook and nanny.

It’s no rocket science to infer why men and women behave like they do. The human mind makes impressions right from its days in the crib. In absence of absolute examples, people grow on to consider their parents’ values as ideal values. Author of the book The Road Less Travelled, M Scott Peck puts it in a simple and brilliant way: Our first (and, sadly, often our only) notion of God’s nature is a simple extrapolation of our parents’ natures, a simple blending of the characters of our mothers and fathers or their substitutes. If we have loving, forgiving parents, we are like to believe in a loving and forgiving God.  If our parents were harsh and punitive, we are likely to mature with a concept of a harsh and punitive monster-God. And if they failed to care for us, we will like envision the universe as similarly uncaring.

Upbringing is hard to overcome. We all are living examples of this fact.

It’s quite comical to see people talking about women envying each other. The same people get burnt to their last bone marrow if a fellow male colleague gets promoted ahead of them. They go hungry for the blood of brothers over family property and money. Their ilk leaves no stone unturned in impeding growth of their so-called brethren.

If such people haven’t seen women who are honestly good friends, I can understand that. Going by the quality of their thoughts, it’s not surprising to know the quality of women who surround them. I nevertheless hope that they get to witness true friendships among women. They have no idea how empowering, enlightening, and enriching friendship among women can be. If they had real friends themselves, they would understand.

They take special joy in highlighting the detrimental role of working women in upsetting family balance. “The financial independence of women has caused imbalance in the society”, goes their narrative. Decoded, it means that women are no longer ready to bear with injustice because they can fend for themselves. Decent people call it liberation. Their kind feels threatened. Let me voice out their unsaid concerns: Damn, if my wife starts earning, she will (a) not take nonsense from me or my parents, which is a huge problem (b) she will become street-smart and difficult to manipulate and (c) she will expect my equal participation in all the annoying house-work, potty-cleaning and homework-doing stuff. Arrgh.

They often point to biology to build their logic. They say women are natural parents because nature has endowed them to get pregnant and lactate. Meaning thereby that pleasure organs come with a responsibility. About time to look their own biology with the same logic, no? 

I know there is very little hope in them, but I still bank upon it, so that their sons and daughters turn out different from them. And the world becomes a better place to live in.

At this point, I bow to parents who spare their children such an abject image of women. They are the men who are too confident to feel insecure with power. They are the women who are intelligent enough to see through the farce, and courageous enough to call the shots. Thank you, Ma-Papa.