Man 1: This generation is just too difficult. The women do not listen to elders. They think they are always right. My daughter-in-law wants to work. She says she wants to earn. My wife stayed a happy homemaker all her life. And everyone’s happiness was her priority.
Man 2: Yes, you are right. Women these days are rude, they always talk back to elders. You know, my neice has divorced from her husband and she is now living alone with her son. What kind of a life would it be without a man? Couldn’t she just compromise?
Today morning as I sat on the park bench trying to catch my breath after an hour of walk, I overheard this conversation between two octagenarian men on their morning walk. I felt the need to tell them so much, but then I quietly walked back home. Uncomfortable with what I heard I was brooding over the conversation all day, so I decided to write an open letter on behalf of the women of my generation. I know that those two men will probably never read this, but then I hope someday this can make anyone really wonder what is really wrong with my generation of women.
Dear esteemed elders,
For all the grey hairs that have made you what you are today, I believe you have seen the real ups and downs of life. But it is disappointing to learn that those lessons could not instill in you the ability to accept change for the betterment. I am aware that each generation clashes with the succeeding one over ideas, ideals and ideologies. However, everything apart, I do wish you accept a few truths about us, the new generation women. Here are a few of them.
1. We speak our mind
We speak up whenever we feel the need to. We do not blindly accept what is wrong and unjust. We also do not exist to take orders from you. Also, we stand up for ourselves, which is not “rude”, but a human thing to do.
2. We know our rights
The right to express our opinion, the right to work and earn, the right to peaceful existence – these are not privileges but basic human rights that rest with ‘us’ and we cannot be coerced in any way to think otherwise.
3. Respect is a two-way process for us
We respect you as much as you respect our personal space, opinion and choices. Age is not a guaranteer of respect, it is kind of earned for the elder as well as the younger generation.
4. We prioritize ourselves
Perhaps generations of women had pushed their dreams, hopes and aspiration back for the sake of others, but we do not intend to continue this. We know the importance of self-love, self-care and a peaceful mind. We deserve to be happy as much as you do.
6. We value our independence
Most of us are financially independent or are capable of it, also backed with proper education and qualification (which gives us the option to work and earn). So, we do not owe any answer or explanation over our right to work or not. Our independence is extremely valuable to us and we expect you to respect this.
5. We are trying to create an equal world
For quite a long time, women have lived their lives in accordance to the wishes of men, but our mothers have raised us to question injustice and wrongs, to live life on our own terms and make it a world of equals, where women’s choices are not put to scrutiny.
7. We care for you
Perhaps our independence and fierceness as potentially aware modern women threatens you to believe that we may ignore you as “old people”. But trust me, we have been raised better than that, so trust the lessons that you yourself have taught us through your own life, for we learn from you.
8. We need your encouragement and kind words
Just like you we are adults too, though we may have seen lesser days than you, but that does not mean we need you to always show us the right way of life; we might learn it just our way through struggles and failures. We might have clashes over many issues, but your kind words can take us way ahead, just where women (of your and my generation) have always dreamt of reaching – an egalitarian world.
9. We are modern and proud
Yes, we are modern, and not traditional, and we are proud of it. Today we are talking about politics, equal pay at work, equal access to opportunities and about women empowerment. We are strong and determined. We rule our lives and our world as much as the men do.
So what’s wrong with my generation of women? Plenty wrong perhaps, for we cannot and do not compromise with our lives. We do not bear the brunt of patriarchy in silence. We demand respect and rights. We wish to be treated as human beings first.
Generation gap always exists. I know that years later, I will have disagreements with the next generation too. Live and let live – that’s the way out. Since we have to co-exist peacefully, I feel each generation is obliged to adjustments, and for that matter let the responsibility of adjustment and compromise not fall upon the women of younger generation alone. For years now, patriarchy has been the order of the day, so let’s try empowering women for a change, perhaps our world would actually change to a happier and better one!
All the Women of my generation.
Disclaimer: This post is not intended to hurt the older generation in any way. You may kindly consider this as a humble attempt to put down the viewpoint of my generation of women, the modern women who are often considered difficult.