Threatening patriarchy: How a woman unafraid to demand attention can make society uncomfortable | The Financial Express

Threatening patriarchy: How a woman unafraid to demand attention can make society uncomfortable

The purpose of this article is definitely to seek attention. A woman deserves attention. You are doing no favour. If you won’t, someone else will…

Threatening patriarchy: How a woman unafraid to demand attention can make society uncomfortable
If a woman demands more than five minutes of attention, she is definitely a “difficult one to be with.”

“Why do you want so much attention? You’d end up single if you’d not change yourself… No one has time to pamper you all the time… etc”

I can bet, all strong and independent women must have heard these phrases at some point in their lives. Why is it so difficult for men to accept women who understand what they want in life and know how to ask for what they desire?

You know, the difference between sex and attention is basic – one is demanded by men and the other by women. It becomes too much for a man to give what’s needed. At least, that’s how the patriarchal society has designed things. Men are supposed to take pleasure while women have to give it. You must have heard men saying – “Oh, she’s a slut, she gets ready for sex easily,” or even when she takes her time, she is often labeled as “an attention-seeking slut.”

Having said that, when a man is easily available for sex, it’s called “being masculine,” or when he takes time, then he is referred to as “a gentleman.” Why double standards? Is attention also a man’s property? If a woman demands more than five minutes of attention, she is definitely a “difficult one to be with.”

I am an independent woman who is trying to figure out the patriarchal society’s “norms” and trying to understand why am I the “difficult one”.

I want to spell it out loud – “I want attention and I deserve it.”

After years of hearing the same dialogue and degrading remarks from men, when my partner recently complained and said, “You are asking for too much, I cannot give you that much attention all the time…” I was taken aback. Oh, let me specify – I asked for 5 minutes of his busy schedule each day. If that’s too much to ask for then asking for it in the first place is ‘way too much.’ Shouldn’t that be organic? Why do women even have to tell men what they want?

Let me simplify it, to be a woman with an opinion and needs is perilous. I was also told that I have no work in life and the only thing I am concerned about is “attention”. Well, let me put it out straight — I work for at least 12-14 hours a day and I understand how to balance my professional and personal life. I know how to respect a relationship. If a man is incapable of doing that then how is it a woman’s fault? Why do men assume that the only thing on our minds is – How to get attention? So, the best our patriarchy can do is accuse a woman of being difficult.

For so many years, I’ve ignored these taunts. I knew these would only make me feel low but now I’ve decided to speak up. “I will demand more than my allotted five minutes. Attention makes me feel stronger. As a writer and a journalist, I need attention for my words, so that it reaches the readers.”

Who to blame?

The films, literature, and also our parents are somehow to be blamed for this mindset. They have always portrayed women as someone who is a giver, even when she is not getting the respect she deserves. Attention is another word for care or respect to show someone that they are IMPORTANT.

Having said that, some people take attention otherwise…

No means no…

Aisha (name changed), an independent, 33-year-old woman met this man through a dating app. She clearly told him that she is not looking for hookups (but something real), and to her surprise, the man agreed and told her that even he is looking for good friends. After much persuasion, Aisha decided to meet this man but what happened next is something that will explain why we need to start this conversation. The man tried to force himself on her and when she refused, he said, “Itne dino se attention le ri ho, to mujhe laga interested hogi” (You’ve been asking for too much attention, so I thought maybe you want it). You read that right! That’s not all, when she decided to speak up, the guy said, “You’re too ugly. Why would I want to sexually assault you? You are just an attention-seeking whore…”

Recently, we saw how filmmaker Sajid Khan was invited to the biggest reality show Bigg Boss 16. The director has been accused in multiple #Metoo cases. Soon after he joined the show, Mandana Kareemi, one of the victims decided to quit showbiz. She felt cheated – How can someone with so many sexual harassment cases be given so many privileges? People on the internet, mainly men, accused the model-turned-actor of being “an attention-seeking whore.” Why?

Mansplaining…

Another thing that comes with the patriarchal mindset is mansplaining. Be it at work or in our personal lives, we often witness how men try to dominate women and cannot take if the woman is more successful or intelligent than them.

To conclude, I would want to put it straight – The purpose of this article is definitely to seek attention. A woman deserves attention. You are doing no favour. If you won’t, someone else will…

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First published on: 09-10-2022 at 10:40 IST