“Self-revelation is a cruel process. The real picture, the real ‘you’ never emerges. Looking or it is as bewildering as trying to know how you really look. Ten different mirrors show you ten different faces.” – Shashi Deshpande
But for women even this self- revelation has been repressed by men for ages and every definition of a female has been a social construct that has subordinated women. Since women have long been described by society and men, women are losing the will to even try and find their own true self and therefore easily let go of their identity after marriage.
The concept of woman’s right to define themselves, their discourse, and their bodies have never existed. From her birth, she is her father’s daughter and after marriage her husband’s wife. Although the norm that women take their husband’s last name at marriage may be weakening, it remains nearly worldwide.
Many have risen to fight and break the society’s stereotype of feminity as a specific external style and behaviour, but in the process lost the real and traditional worth of being a woman. Women are so busy proving their worth compared to men that they have forgotten that there is a power and privilege in being a woman; once again losing their own identity in the process.
According to the first review research on gender psychology in India (2001), the beginning efforts aimed at increasing the visibility of women, highlighting problems specific to women, correct inequality, injustice and oppression, and identifying the sources of powerlessness of women. The focus has gradually shifted towards examining the foundation and ideology that led to the formation of values and standards underlying women’s oppression and discrimination. Yet it was felt that to a large extent the research failed to recognize and unify women’s question into psychological inquiry in a meaningful way.
According to Erikson, to achieve masculinity or femininity signified the recognition of identity and was grounded in the different social roles of production and reproduction. In his view, a child begins to recognize itself as male or female as early as it begins to develop free movement and a sense of initiative. With this, the child not only begins to make comparisons and develops a perceptive curiosity about size and kind in general but also about sex and age differences in particular. This is when one begins to understand future roles and develops sexual self-images which become essential for future identity.
Restricted to the household a girl’s identification is based mainly on female figures around them and gets dissolved into their relationships with men.
For a woman, it has always been a fight between losing their identity to men and losing it in catching up to them – in any manner, it’s a loss for the female community.
What women need is a proper recognition of the unique value of feminity and its crucial mission in the world, as said by Dr Alice Von Hildebrand. She says that feminity is the linchpin of a human; once it’s uprooted, the consequences are disastrous. Hence only self- confidence and trust in herself would help a woman in understanding and building her identity apart from proving equality to men.
“Above all be the heroine of your life, not a victim.” – Nora Ephron