Ladies, you are NOT doormats, stand up for yourselves!

Published: January 25, 2014
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My advice to women out there is, stand up for yourselves. Do not show your weaknesses. PHOTO: PINTEREST

My grandfather’s voice still echoes in my ears. He used to say,

“Be a strong woman. Do not take insults hurled at you lying down! Never stoop to low levels. However, do take a stand.”

My grandfather was an intrepid and a fearless man. The man of principles that he was, he never shied away from calling a spade a spade. However, he was dignified and humble too. I never saw him humiliate or ridicule anyone.

Yes, he did get angry.

Oh yes, he did!

But he never stooped low to badmouth anyone and maintained his grace. Those who remember him can vouch for that. Women would compliment him for being a gentleman. He knew how to treat ladies. My Nana was a great man.

Indeed, he was.

But enough of my rambling!

Now let me get back to the original subject of this piece – women’ strength.

In the six years that I have spent in the corporate world, I have come across many people – some good, some bad, some indifferent and some very nosy.

The nosy and bad, in my dictionary, have no reservations when commenting on other people’s clothing, shoes, bags and even weight. Perfectly stylish and good looking women are subjected to mean remarks.

“Your fashion sense is so outdated!”

“You need to learn to walk in heels!”

“You look so fat in jeans!”

“You have such boring hobbies. Why don’t you do something exciting?”

Surprisingly, instead of telling such people to mind their own business, these women become meek and intimidated. They start losing their self-esteem. They start asking themselves if there’s something wrong with them. This is a classic example of harassment and abuse. To belittle and degrade someone is abusive behaviour.

Why highly educated and independent women take on such behaviour lying down is beyond me.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, has the right to comment on your appearance, hobbies and taste.

Another thing that I have come across is that women in relationships, dating, engaged or married, destroy their self-esteem to please their partners. One of my friends, who is highly educated and is well informed on domestic and foreign affairs, admitted to me that women, herself included, refrain from speaking on political and other important issues when their husbands are involved in the discussion with their friends.

“He says he does not like it when I try to be a smart aleck among his friends. So I avoid it.”

I have also seen women who let their partners walk all over them, while they remain silent. When they are angry, these men scream at their women, hang up on them and call them names. In my dictionary, even words like crazy and idiot fall under name calling. These men get pushy when women do not agree with them on any point. They make the women feel guilty and obedient to them.

These are signs of controlling and manipulative behaviour.

Ladies, if you are being subject to the treatment mentioned above that should set alarm bells ringing.

Wake up!

You are in an unhealthy relationship.

An educated and self-sufficient woman does not need to tolerate a controlling and manipulative man. And why should she? She does not depend on him financially. Then why should she put up with such disrespectful behaviour? People who care about you will respect you and would want you to be happy.  They either respect you or they don’t. There is no other way. It is not worth being in the company of someone who does not value yours.

My advice to women out there is, stand up for yourselves. Do not show your weaknesses. Do not be apologetic and meek when it comes to your dignity and self-respect. Nobody has the right to hurt you.

Stop making excuses for people who do.

If someone belittles you, makes you feel like there is nothing good about you and mocks your interests, show him or her the door and tell them to walk out!

Show them that they messed with the wrong girl!

You are not a doormat.

Your parents did not raise and educate you to be treated like crap. Empower yourselves, ladies.

How, you may ask?

Educate yourselves and become independent. Grow in your field and strive to get to the top. You have no idea what impact a strong woman can make. People will want to be in your company; they will value your opinion and will give you the importance that you deserve. Some women learnt it the hard way. You don’t want to be one of them.

Just last week I came across this exceptional public service message sponsored by a hair care brand. It fantastically depicted how women are labelled by men and women, sometimes, when they portray the slightest evidence of competence and confidence.

The tagline is brilliant – ‘Don’t let labels hold you back. Be strong and shine’.

I conclude this piece with Jinnah’s words.

“There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a great competition and rivalry between the two. There is a third power stronger than both, that of the women.”

These words should inspire and revive all women; I know they work on me.

Khushbakht Vaka

Khushbakht Vaka

An accountant and auditor by profession, Khushbakht’s interests include reading and writing. She is also a member of Women’s Action Forum (WAF).

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Hass

    slow news week at tribune.Recommend

  • Saleem

    Keep up the good work KhushbakhtRecommend

  • Zain

    Another one singing the same song….!! Nice writing though but old song…Recommend

  • TIN

    I remember once reading a long long time ago a girl from a university in USA confessing that if she wrote letters in good English without spelling mistakes to her male friends, they avoided her so when she again got a new boyfriend she ensured that the letter she wrote had many mistakes and the relationship survived for sometime….when I read this I was in school but now I after having a career realize somewhere men don’t like too confident women…somewhere they feel intimidated by them unless they are confident persons themselves…Recommend

  • Man

    okey that’s fine! now get back to the kitchen and make me a sandwich!Recommend

  • Donga Bonga

    which corporate world u work for where people comment on your dressing and weight etc.
    Such a boring subject Recommend

  • Parvez

    What you have said needs repeating over and over and over………
    Full marks to your Nana…..he must have been an amazing person.
    I relish when my wife decides to engage in political discussions…….then I sit back and only step in if I have to stop her from murdering the other guy.Recommend

  • Khushbakht Vaka

    Thank you very much.Recommend

  • Khushbakht Vaka

    My friend, people (both men and women) comment on women all the time. It happens in schools, universities, workplace, i.e., everywhere. It is worse in our society where women have to face other challenges.Recommend

  • Khushbakht Vaka

    Thank you. Will come up with something different next time.Recommend

  • f.a

    Best write-up EVERRRRRRRRRRR!Recommend

  • f.a

    Absolutely righttRecommend

  • AH

    Easier said than done. Empowerment may sound good on paper but for a lot of these women who are financially dependent on their husbands, I can completely understand their behavior. Why rock the boat by arguing with your husband or his friends about politics. They are doing what is in their best interest. Let them be.Recommend

  • Jeet

    Common Girl………… Door mat Dont use too mean words Rest is goodRecommend

  • Noman Ansari

    Maybe this girl was friends with guys who were still learning English, so when she wrote well, they didn’t understand what she was saying? :DRecommend

  • Nobody

    Ufff, get a new joke man; this one’s played out.Recommend

  • Nobody

    Marks of a rational and secure man. A rarity in many parts of the world.Recommend

  • Nobody

    As much as men need to stop labeling women (and vice versa), women need to stop labeling one another as well. Labeling each other for any reason only gives guys the idea that they have the liberty to do the same. I don’t care what a woman’s done or what she’s wearing or how she’s behaving, it angers me when anyone, man or woman, tries to label her. When women stop giving one another crap and stop taking it from men for ANY reason, labels will cease. Or if they don’t at least you just won’t care enough to be affected by it.
    Cheers.Recommend

  • Sahir

    Nice to read such motivational blogs for women in a male dominated society.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Madam, now you’re making me blush………Let you into a little secret, it took years of pain and anguish and then I slowly realised how wrong I was in the begining.
    To be honest I find your comments both sensible and mature.Recommend

  • raj

    its boring for you because you will never have a sense of it and would never experience it.Recommend

  • raj

    If its old and understood by men then why is it still the same.. There is nothing old if its still there in the societyRecommend

  • Quantum

    Ok that’s fine, now go back to the bank and clean up the joint savings. Consider yourself permitted and liberated :)Recommend

  • TheAverageMoe

    he wasn’t joking…Recommend

  • ad

    hahaha :) what a joke in this society.Recommend

  • yogi

    huh..? wha..? Them women be no doormats?
    Maybe them be carpet in de living room.?Recommend

  • JnD

    Nicely written…. a women has maitain a balance between alot of things in her life… and being door mat in never one of themRecommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Thoughtful and sensitive, but repetitive. It’s like we’re in a rut here at The Express Tribune on blogs regarding women.

    The cycle starts with a blog by a hijab-wearing woman feeling oppressed, followed by three more blogs of the same nature, followed by a vague inspirational piece telling women to be strong, and ending with second-hand news on a horrific crime against a woman somehwere in the country, and the culture that such crimes are a part of.

    I believe the readers are maturing, and are ready to entertain new ideas and topics under the genre.Recommend

  • Nobody

    What makes you think I’m married?
    On a side note, joint account=bad idea. Husband and wife ought to keep their earnings separate. Money’s a nasty business.Recommend

  • Skeptical

    I agree, we girls do get comments on dressing and weight.Recommend

  • Skeptical

    In our society, standing for yourself means to stay single for a lifetime or live as a divorcee. Here people do not want to marry girls who wish to work and support their parents after marriage, let aside accepting a strong and successful woman.Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    except that its not in their best interest in the long run. and not rocking the boat makes it worse for other people who are willing to rock the boatRecommend

  • gp65

    ” Perfectly stylish and good looking women are subjected to mean remarks.”
    What if they were not stylish and not good likng? Would the mean remarks be justified then?
    Bullying is unacceptable and reflects on the bully. The victims characteristics are irelevant to the discussion.Recommend

  • x

    You wife is a lucky woman. As a twenty four year old engaged to a twenty eight year old since a year and about to get married soon, I can say that our young generation of men , the educated, liberal, progressive and successful ones prefer their wives to be in the background. As someone actively interested in current affairs, politics and history, I do have something to contribute to the discussions but if i disgaree or correct him -politely i might add- he gets extremely offended nd considers me being rude, disrespectful and bossy.Recommend

  • Parvez

    At the beautiful age you’ll are at, trust me, you are most likely more mature in THESE matters than your hubby to be. The male ego is a stupid and difficult to control energy……..never provoke it.
    After about 40 years of being married even today it my wife that diplomatically sooths issues and madam it I WHO AM THE LUCK ONE.
    I wish I had realised this many years ago.
    Sorry for the late response I hope you get this.Recommend