Udisha Srivastav - Get Over The Standardized “Good Wife Syndrome”, Appreciate Individuality

When it comes to women, isn’t our society highly obsessed with the words like “goddess”, “Durga”, “a sacred woman”, “peacemakers”, “creators of life”, and whatnot? Moreover, women are expected to be the epitome of perfectness in this highly imperfect, biased, and conventional society. You must have heard it quite often, “be a good girl”, “be a good wife”, “be a good daughter”, “be a good mother”, right? Do you see a pattern here? The pattern of the kind of expectations and the burden of satisfying others that are put on the women? Yes? Well, it’s a syndrome. The Good Woman Syndrome. The Good Wife Syndrome.

Good Wife Syndrome

Just recall how women are expected to behave and perform as “perfect” wives. You must have seen your mother going through this ordeal or if you are a mother yourself, you need no introduction to this problematic idea. She should be a beautiful and dutiful wife, must serve elders (especially in-laws) and take care of them, have children and nurture the family, take charge of everybody’s health, hygiene, and household chores galore. And what if she’s not this perfect wife who fits into the cubicles of “goodness”, then what? She does not have a good upbringing, she is ‘too much educated’, she is selfish and shameless, and she is irresponsible, for starters. Worse, things continue to be digging out of her character and personality which even she was not aware of in the first place. 

Most importantly, women are supposed to be unrealistically strong. Durga is strong right? They ought to be the arbitrators when belligerent men of the house indulge in a fight, they ought to be wise when children make mistakes, they ought to be caretakers when elders fall ill. Overall, it becomes their responsibility to take charge of everybody’s mistakes and all circumstances. But…..but, do we care about the emotional, mental, physical, and financial needs of the woman herself? It’s a legitimate question to ask. 

We often simply reduce women to the repositories of shame for the family if they ask for more something beyond their family. Once married, women are seen as somebody’s wives or daughter-in-law and once they have a child, they are seen in generic terms, as somebody’s mother. In all the unraveling of these roles, the identity of the woman herself is lost. Had she been allowed to be herself in the first place while also being a wife and mother, she wouldn’t have lost her individuality, uniqueness, and who she is.

It’s good to be good but it is best to be yourself. 

What Must Be Done?

It’s high time when we should behave like rational individuals and realize the essence of individuality. Women are not just the caretakers and the peacemakers of the family, the damage control systems that are called upon when in need or on-demand. They are as much a part of a family as anybody else. If a husband needs a pillar of support to help him become successful in his life, so does the wife.

It’s nothing wrong to ask for more and for what you deserve. We as a society must understand this and stop treating women as 24*7 free working machines. 

Every individual is different, it’s a fact. Then why generalize the roles of individuals, especially women in terms of what seems suitable and also patriarchal at the same time? Let’s grow up for real and not become the victim of our patriarchal conditioning.

Image credits: Free Press Journal

Udisha Srivastav is a Freelance Content Writer with Femsay.com