The brutal reality of life is that no matter what women do, they will be judged. This is probably because as a society we never got to define what we expect out of our women. Leave aside the rural or underdeveloped sections; even the elite and educated have a consistently fluctuating expectation graph when it comes to accepting women and appreciating them.
I list here a few common judgment-metrics set for the 'arrived classes'. Even if you don't consider yourself to be right at the top as yet, I am sure you would have been judged on one or many of these parameters already! Maybe that's a sign of your progress. Probably it is a reflection of the society that has a vague or hypocritic definition of equality and freedom.
If the lady reads the Page 3 section of the City Supplement, she is a 'Bimbette'. However, if she knows any less about fashion or 'who's dating who' part of Bollywood industry, then she is a snob for her own social group.
If a woman manages to do well in her career, the men definitely feel that she got their only, and only, because she is a woman. And as a woman, she has ways to impress the bosses. Interestingly, her female peers feel the credit for her success goes to her overtly supportive husband, in-laws or parents who volunteered to baby-sit her kids and take care of the household for her. "Not everyone is blessed with such love and kindness you see!"
If the lady doesn't smoke or drink, she is surely not eligible to be a part of 'The Men's Talk' – the conversations where the grey cells amalgamate with the grey smoke to form life-changing strategies and, at times, plain gossip! Well, if the lady is cool with drinking and hanging out, it also signifies that she is outgoing which for most also means she is 'available' and hence one can make a move!
If the working woman can't be in office till late, is not meeting the unreasonable deadlines set by the bosses - she is not just competent enough but she also lacks the drive to excel, or is more focussed on her personal life. However, if she is committed to her work and aspires to succeed in her career, then there is something surely wrong with her personal life. Either her husband doesn't care for her or she is frustrated with her marriage or maybe she is dating someone at work.
Last but not the least comes the most frivolous one. If working women wear those sizzling stunning western clothes, people believe it is to lure the world and get some favours. If they are adorned in traditional Indian outfits, then they are out-dated or not hot enough to be worthy of making it despite their intellect or skill-set. Deciding the outfit becomes a more important predicament for a woman than working based on her talent!
There is more to the list and definitely more to the scrutiny that women in our country are put through irrespective of their age, stage or educational status.
The views expressed in the article are writer's own.