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“Flattery and insults raise the same question: What do you want?” said Mason Cooley. Women receive both in abundance. So the question that should arise: What do they want? But is anyone asking the question? Very few it seems want to know the answer, especially not when it comes to flattery. It is all being lapped up so eagerly and happily by a substantial number of women.

Over centuries women have been fed a lot of gobbledygook which they have swallowed hook line and sinker. The worst of them is the flattery heaped on them, that they are this incredibly special breed of humans who are the sole repositories of qualities such as patience, caring, affection and the much touted of them all, sacrifice. Women pleased at being singled out for the honor, believed this to be true in their hearts and struggled hard to live up to the picture of themselves painted oh-so beautifully by those with a hidden agenda of their own.

For hidden agenda there definitely had to be.  Somebody was surely benefitting from this arrangement and it definitely weren’t the epitomes of sacrifice so busy sacrificing. In Theophrastus words, “One may define flattery as a base companionship which is most advantageous to the flatterer.” Take note, to the flatterer, not to the flattered. The clueless women were playing into the hands of the true beneficiaries, the flatterers. They were those who put woman on a pedestal, sang paeans, and called her a Goddess. They knew they only had to invoke the supposed special abilities that woman (and only a woman) had, to get her to melt to a puddle at their feet and do their bidding.  How convenient, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, this is still not a thing of the past. Even today we have men and women alike trying to make her believe she is this epitome of sacrifice who is (or should be) willing to sacrifice because she is a woman. That is the most ridiculous reasoning I have ever heard. Sacrifice, care, affection and a host of desirable qualities like them are not women-specific. They obviously are qualities every human can (and should) aspire for.  I am sure there are a sizeable number of men offended by this unfair representation of facts. They not only have done their bit in the past but also sacrifice, care and show affection in the present, equally if not better than some women. After all, isn’t it an individual thing?

It is a shame that women are still being sold this concept again and again of they being the chosen ones to sacrifice, care and love. It is still more puzzling that there are women buying into this vison of themselves. Women, if you are smart, instead of melting and going all misty eyed at the mamta ki moorat, pyar ki devi and such drivel thrown at you, stop and take notice of what is being done to you. Liberate yourself from the necessity to fit into uncomfortable moulds created by others. Go ahead, love, care, show affection, if you want to, not because you are told that is your nature. If you feel sacrifice is a good thing, go ahead, do it, but ONLY if you want to. Let no one con you into believing that sacrificing is your very nature.

On this women’s day here is something from me: Promise yourself one thing, that you will not be so selfish as to hold on to these qualities as if they are your birthright. Be noble. Give others a chance too. Share. Allow others to do some loving and caring, graciously. Allow others too to sacrifice for you, gallantly. This Women’s Day if someone tells you that women are the epitome of sacrifice, look the moron person  in the eye with amusement and ask, “Oh yeah? Nice try!”