I am a woman and I can’t do it all
Every year, come March, the marketing world goes into some kind of frenzy. In their haste to glorify women and one-up the next ad campaign, most of these marketers make womenfolk look like superhumans who can balance the earth on one hand and cook with the other. While females are great multitaskers, it is often the need of the hour that compels them to do inhuman amounts of work, in and outside of homes, not some Herculean power.
It is true that women have broken glass ceilings and gone on to lead exceedingly fulfilling family lives as well and no one argues that they cannot. In fact, most successful women around us are classic examples of how they can do it all. However, for every woman who wants to do it all, there is another, who has to.
In a society like ours, a woman has, for centuries, faced traditional pressures, such as being a "good" daughter, partner, and mother. As society gets modernised, contemporary pressures have started to add up. She must now also be the trailblazer at work and bring in yearly raises and the occasional promotion. As if that's not enough, visual media has made it so she must do all of this looking a certain way— in perfect shape, hair in place, and preferably in heels.
Interestingly, we never see men trying to juggle it all— cooking up a storm during iftar, feeding the kids, while also clinching an important deal at work. Could it be, that looking after the home and children is still predominantly a woman's responsibility, even in this day and age? That society has somehow made breadwinners of men, and released them of all household responsibilities, while being much less forgiving of women?
The world sees the media and marketers as change agents, intended to become torchbearers for a number of different issues. Sadly, instead of championing women and their causes, these companies have, for years, ended up portraying a vastly different narrative- one that has abjectly glorified struggle, and the glaring absence of a support system for females. Instead of empowering ladies, these ad campaigns have, over the years, become emblematic of all that is wrong with society and its skewed expectations of females.
The truth is, no one is capable of "doing it all". Doing it all is a myth. Perfection is a myth. Excelling every time is a myth. And it is one that the advertising agencies have thus far, not even attempted to bust, much to the disappointment of civil society.
This Women's Day, why not change things up a little? Instead of showing the usual pretty lady taking on the world, why not show an exhausted one? Why not show a woman who messes up and owns her failure? Why not show a woman and man working the same hours in and outside the home, helping each other, instead of one person doing it all?
Why not let the world know that women are worthy of being celebrated as women, and not only, when they are superwomen?