Women and Identity
The identity of women is affected by diverse factors which either reduces it or strengthens it. In the case of women employed as house maids, they loose their identity in a great way.
This is because they are often reduced to the status of commodities rather than being humans. There are people who engage in the business of buying and selling these house maids. The seller often places the girl under his or her custody and advertises the same. This makes the girl to feel like a commodity being bargained for. It diminishes her self identity and respect since she is under obligation and sympathy.
More often, the maids are abused by their employers because they term them as a commodity that they bought and that they are very desperate for the job (Hamid, 174).Boisnier presents five stages of women’s identity development closely related to the Black identity development stages of the Cross model. In the first stage, Passive Acceptance, a woman agrees to the adamant societal connotation of conventional gender roles and deems that they are beneficial. The second stage, Revelation, takes place when a sequence of happenings or challenges push the woman into a state of dualistic thoughts in which women are observed positively and men are observed negatively. In the third stage, Embeddedness-Emanation, the woman experiences strong association to other women, and she might choose to enclose herself with a self-establishing women’s society so as to make stronger her new identity. The fourth stage, Synthesis, takes place when the woman attains a genuine and positive feminist identity in which gender role is coupled with the assessment of men on a personal basis.
The fifth stage is Active Commitment which describes the condition in which the woman aggressively strives to significant action toward feminist goals (1).In India, tradition dictates scrupulous requirements on the way women live their lives despite regional location, class, caste or religious differences. These ranges from the clothes that they can wear, to their mobility and the forms of jobs they engage in. it has been observed by Psychologists that young girls conform increasingly with the feminine functions demanded of them as they develop into puberty and womanhood. For example, it is renowned that girls are better achievers at the school level and frequently are grade-holders and toppers in STD five exams. Nonetheless, their performance falls significantly once they are in entrance exams, in Pre-degree, and in specialized courses.
Identity in this respect plays a significant role since as a young girl grows into womanhood, she accepts herself as a woman hence has a sense of positive identity (Kumar, 3).Kumar further indicates that the advantages of contemporary life constantly influence the identity of women or how women feel about themselves. The image that women have of themselves is being changed gradually more by friends, education, money and jobs. Many young women have ambitions that do not fit with the feminine functions of mother and wife. More often, our perception of women’s reactions to their social situations arises from their voices: from autobiographies, stories, and movies.
Family and tradition inflict a network of prospects on women that they are caught within. In addition, there are women personalities who struggle to accomplish the requirements of their tradition and their own hearts (4). In several regions of the world, it is generally reported that a lot of female foreign workers are frequently asserted as valueless economic performers and are regularly treated without respect. A great deal news reporting female alien workers being raped and tormented in their host countries have been reported across newspaper front pages and have gained great airtime in countries such as Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines. Due to these harassments to the women workers, they develop a low self esteem and deem themselves as inadequate beings worthy of no respect. This often stifles their self identity since they view themselves as lesser beings (Hamid, 169).
Many talented women might have restraining experiences owing to gender, for instance being viewed as threatening to some men and other women in positions of power. Some might hide their talents to fit in society since they experience pain at being different from the way women are supposed to be. Some women feel uncomfortable when they are called “gifted” and will evade even letting the notion that they may in fact be gifted. Women should realize that they have a sense of identity and that being gifted is part of their lives. They should not feel embarrassed when they are considered gifted rather, they should develop a positive sense of identity for themselves (Eby, 6). Reynolds however argues that a different sense of identity of women is exhibited in the workplace.
These are women who developed in the self-help period with more self-assurance than the women who came prior to them. The bulk of the women at work nowadays represent the first generation of women who were told that they could achieve anything they desired to achieve. This has provided a sense of identity and self belief to these women. This is evidenced by the fact that these women achieve greatly in their work places hence they can evaluate their performance consequently acquiring a sense of belief. In addition, there are a growing number of women who believe they are tough in their bodies in addition to their minds. Moreover, the increase in college degrees gives women more means to be self-reliant (1).
Eby differs with this and states that several talented women, with prominent academic peculiarity, status, credit and professional achievements, do not expressively accept those signs of ability, but make out themselves as tripping through the system unnoticed as fakes. Their fears can stop them from entirely enjoying their success and clutching opportunities, and can cause them to overburden themselves to reimburse for presumed deficiencies. It is asserted that most of the gifted women pretend to be less capable and less gifted. In addition, a lot of them might have been impaired by emotional and incidental factors, such as mood disorders, cultural background, dyslexia, gender stereotyping, misogyny, race and other issues that can affect self-identity at several levels (8).On the other hand, current strong and smart women like being busy and hate feeling weary. They demand to be esteemed, valued and recognized and will strive to deserve it.
They always struggle when they feel micro-managed, pigeon-holed, and underutilized. These women do not need to be taught boldness skills since they demand for what they want. Immediately they feel that they are being treated unjustly or with disrespect, they start looking for another job or start planning to own their own businesses. This clearly demonstrates that these women have actually developed a positive sense of identity and self belonging. They feel good about themselves; feel adequate and capable of accomplishing various roles and demands for being treated with respect (Reynolds, 3).Studies indicate that there are some women who confess complexity to having sexual intercourse although they love their husbands.
This is mainly caused by a sense of disappointment due to being only a housewife. In some severe circumstances, apparently common women including housewives, students, and others, consent to being part of a prostitution ring in which the cause was clearly not financial. In this context, women loses their identity, they don’t respect their bodies and lack self-respect. A lot of women who are asked by family to stop their jobs or education after marriage experience a sense of identity loss. They feel that they are pushed to make some decisions that do not comply with their desires and ambitions (Kumar, 5)Kumar asserts that women should be permitted to undertake activities that improve their identity. The notions of masculine and feminine are unnaturally generated in society and attempting to fit real human beings into these notions will most likely lead to discontent and annoyance.
Just like men, women are inventive beings with a sense of identity and belonging. The notions of femininity frequently suffocate women’s creative side limiting them to just being mothers and wives. A working career is what gives a lot of women a sense of identity and purpose, that is, an identity that is deepening. Women should be given the chance to determine what things will make them happy. A situation which compels women to think of themselves only as beings of reproduction will ultimately suppress their personalities and lead to a crisis of their identities (6).The identity of women is a contemporary issue that presents itself in various forms.
At some point, women develop a positive self confidence and identity. On the other hand some women develop low self-esteem. These varying stages are presented due to differing issues. For instance, career women have a positive sense of self identity. They feel that they can achieve almost anything that they aspire.
This is because they are accorded respect due to their responsibilities in the society. On the other hand, women who are mostly housewives become very disappointed since they feel inadequate. These women also feel that their sole responsibility is reproduction and mothering. Consequently, they do not accept further responsibilities in the society which leads them to develop low self-esteem. Identity plays a vital role in the issue of women. Women should feel good about themselves and whatever roles they undertake in life.
This is because they can not perform these roles if they feel inadequate and inferior. On the other hand, women should be accorded the respect as human beings so that they can develop a sense of positive identity and self-belonging.