Too strong to be a woman that a man could want,
The woman, they say, who wears the pants at home,
I ain’t coy and I ain’t shy,
And I won’t wait for life to pass me by.
I love my work and would rather be
In my office, than at home counting the laundry.
I can think faster than the man next to me
Won’t ask him for some silly little pocket money.
And because I’m married and don’t have children yet
Must mean my husband is henpecked?
Because I have an opinion on things
I’m not the kind of wife you must bring.
Since I am only pretty and not naive,
I’m far from the “perfect” wife!
I can stand up for myself, speak my mind
Won’t take his surname and give up mine.
I’m sorry if I don’t fit your stereotype:
I flirt a little and get drunk on wine.
I don’t have a mangal sutra
And don’t wear the vermilion,
If I don’t even feel the need to be protected,
Then, I’m told,
I must be too strong for a man to want.

19 responses »

  1. >Phew! With this all I wish to say is that life’s gonna b tough! By the way, I have deep thoughts to “I must be too strong for a man to want”Thinking..!!.

  2. >Heh. Marriage and it’s woes. And I’m yet a boy of 18, and I couldn’t care less about marriage. :PSeriously though, your poem uncovers issues. It’s very simple, and very effective. Kudos!

  3. >well maybe.. but then, life is about being yourself… and personally i feel if someone is adamant about how his/her spouse should be, then they should make sure they find that kind of person, rather than expecting someone you married for life to change for you…but i think the name thing is a little overrated.. i mean, even changing yr surname, does it really change the person you are? on the contrary doesnt it give you a sense of right/belonging in the marriage?

  4. >@Monika: It’s always good to know there are people out there who can relate to what you write.@Sach: Life’s tough, and it’s so for everyone.@Solitaire: And the perception of many men too.@Simplyme: Way to go, huh?@Prince: You’re young and you’re a boy. And I’m jealous!@Ab: This isn’t about what my husband expects of me. If he did, I wouldn’t be married to him! This is about how others perceive, a lot of them at least, perceive independent women.If the name change isn’t such a big deal then why don’t men change their surnames after marriage? Is it that only women have to “belong” in a marriage and men don’t? You see Ab, the onus of “looking married” is only on the woman: the mangalsutra, the sindoor, the surname change, even the title changes from Miss to Mrs. Compare that to what a man has to change after marriage – no physical manifestation of his marital status, no name change. That a woman has to leave her home behind isn’t good enough that she must change her surname as well?

  5. >maybe.. but im sure the ‘others’ u’r talking about are surely not 20-30 somethings, rit? u have to give time for a society to change… even im not in favour of having to ‘look married’… i mean, I couldnt care less… even the name.. but then, you should also argue, why do kids have to have their parents name? :D… i surely feel it gives a sense of unity for a family to be known by a single surname. (and if your gonna ask me why not th guy be known by the womens surname just think of what you yourself thought when the tabloids called K-Fed as ‘Mr Britney Spears’!) th thing is, there are some rules that keep the society going.. it may seem ridiculous, but departing from it would only mean chaos, how much ever you deny it!now, in some ways i feel we’ve got the gender argument completely wrong… like, women are women and men are men… thats how they were created in the universe, and there’s no point in women trying to men.. like, if you expect me to take over the kitchen, ill have some malnutritioned kids, that’s all… the best I can do is help at the kitchen (which I kind of do) on the other hand most ladies cant be expected to do jobs that need physical strength either.. Again, just because a lot of women want to be independent, doesn’t mean everyone does. A lot of 24 year old girls, even after all the progress we’ve reached, do feel the need for a masculine support… as long as that’s how the world is, males will always dominate… and just like I talk about the God-Satan (who is stronger) debate, if women were truly strong, they wouldn’t have to be so subjugated anyway… you could even call it the law of ‘survival of the fittest’… Here, I rest my case. I hope we don’t end up fighting about this.. actually Rama (on my blog) and I are not on speaking terms because of an argument like this we once had. The truth is that at heart, I am a feminist. Its just that Im convinced that the usual brand of feminism is not leading us anywer.. we should focus on what women can achieve/contribute being women. And make sure that women are not made to adhere to social stereotypes such as wat all to wear and how to behave… just let women be, like men want to be let! Btw, did you know that some 50 years ago, it was the husband who would go and live in the wives parental house?

  6. >@Ab: Let’s take this point wise.1. The people whose perceptions I am talking of are very much in the age bracket of 20-30 yrs.2. Kids don’t take on their parents’ name; they take on their fathers’ name usually. Which is why the son is seen as the one who will take the family name forward quite literally (The girl gets married into another family, takes on another name and her children take on the name of her husband). That’s one of the reasons, I believe, why people are still so obsessed with having sons, why female foeticide still exists and why are country’s population is uncontrollable!3. And trust me, my not changing my surname after marriage has made very little difference to my marriage. We still live like a united family. And there is no social chaos caused by me and loads of other women who’ve done the same.4. The rules that you talk about have been created by the society and society has not been created by these rules. 5. The biological differences between men and women is one thing, but surely you can attribute a man’s ineptitude in the kitchen to the universe?! There’s something called conditioning. If parents of boys also made sure their sons were as helpful in the kitchen as in the garage, there wouldn’t be malnutritioned children in houses where men take of the kitchen. And FYI, most chefs in the world happen to be men!6. Two wrongs don’t make a right wrong.Just because a lot of women do not know what it means to be independent, doesn’t make it the perfect state of being for all women. And does a dog know what it feels like to be a human? Doesn’t a human know better than to envy a dog? 7. “…males will always dominate…” And you think you’re a feminist at heart?!8. “…if women were truly strong, they wouldn’t have to be so subjugated anyway…”Right! Going by that argument, the Indian were subjugated by the British because the former were not strong! Ever heard of gender politics?9. And there’s nothing like a good argument!

  7. >uh well, my problem is I dont know to unargue myself out of something :).. maybe you can compare it to Abhimanyu and the chakravyuh!anyways to reply!Im not sure Im a feminist, strictly speaking.. but then, just because I leave my ballots in the box without voting for any party in a general election, doesnt make me a traitor, does it? thats my way of making my point, however insignificant… i consider myself a feminist because i believe women all over are given a hard deal, and that I must do my little part to make the lives of as many women as become dependant on me, in any way, the best possible!!! that doesnt mean, IMO, that I should toe along with the common, and in my opinion pointless, argument about who should change their surname and stuff! The way I see family, is husband is undoubtedly the head. Its more a question of responsibilty than superiority. And howevermuch you argue, it is the man who is capable (not all are, though) of taking the tough decisions. and we’re talkign generally, not specific cases.. and i think I would say the same thing even if i was a women. this being the situation, why cant you see it as a family that takes a surname? are you saying it be okay if the husband also changes his last name to something unique?summarising the answers to all the other points, i think the current situation is like the animal farm wer all our equal but some are more equal than others… and somehow men take on the attitude of being super-humans and their female counterparts as sub humans… the change the society needs is to accept that women have as much as a right as well as ability to live by their own rules as do men! but to be frank, I really dont see that happening in bulk (like you cant sell vegeterianism to lions), which is why i take refuge in that I will do my little part to make the lives of as many women as become dependant on me the best possible!!! Again, society must stop being nosy about how anybody lives lives (lives laives:))their own way.. i dont thing the issue is about feminism as much as it is about our nosy nature!finally, i didnt mean chaos in the family… i meant that it is always good to have some sort of order. for example, the man being the ‘nominal’ head of the house. i dont see myself arguing in favour of the other alternative, women being the ‘nominal’ head, because it just wont work out! anyways, good debate… it helps because otherwise you dont really know what your thoughts really are, and why, unless it is tested by a real argument! also, u will forgive me for assuming that my views are representative of people like me (men, 20-30 yr olds etc)awaiting rerply!!!!! 😀

  8. >@Ab: I don’t agree with almost everything you’ve said. But let your comment be a testimony to how well men in our society have imbibed the patriarchal values handed down to them.

  9. >uhhh.. now wat exactly did u mean by that?But I am reminding you D, before we close the debate, that i started not to deny that society is like that, but that they are evidences of how our society sees anyone who dares to tread away from the stereotypes that our parochial minds have defined, rather than prejudice against women! I cant imagine the ruccus I could create if i get married the way id like to.. and then of course, the surname thing cropped up…

  10. >I loved the poem! Very honest and a very true picture of what many women feel today.I did not like the questions/arguments raised by ab.what a spoiler!I wonder how people fail to understand themselves so badly(ab calling himself a feminist at heart). Disappointing!:(-Sparsh

  11. >@Nisha: Oh, you missed the reply Ab wanted to give you but which I chose to edit out!@Sparsh: I think it was fun – silly, but fun!

  12. >I think strong girls were always preferred, but earlier they were expected to cloak their strength in veil of standardized-femininity, today that has changed or is changing. This means the guys have been liberated too, they can marry/befriend the kind of girls they really like, not the kind of girls they were expected to approve of…Then also there are various kinds of guys, tough guys like tough girls, a shy, sensitive boy might prefer a girl like himself. Loved this piece. And glad I found your blog:)

  13. >@IHM: Women like me know nothing about cloaking their strength under feminity. I am what I am and that may not be such a smart thing to be after all!@det-res & threedrinksahead: Thank you 🙂

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