The O-zone on Sunday covered the new trend among 20-30 something women, most of whom are still single, going all out for one-night stands and no strings attached.
Sexcapades of young women, their casual attitude towards flings and open declaration that sex is just a physical need like any other, lead one to wonder how this new-found sexual freedom affects society and in particular, matrimony.
A good enough opening, but the article actually emphasised women’s personal empowerment more than any larger social impact. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, there was little analysis of traditional gender roles. For example,
“I get a great sense of liberation from being able to just get up in the morning, put on my clothes and walk away without any emotional baggage or need for commitment.”
Sounds like a man, some would say. Yes, that’s exactly what seems to have happened. Women have joined the guys in their uninhibited, no-responsibility nocturnal romps. And, much to the delight of the men, they come to them without baggage — no clinging, no tears, no emotional breakdowns and above all, no demands to declare everlasting love and attachment. In fact, the new woman seems to run away as fast as any man from the ‘C’ word — commitment.
Even though some young women may still be having fun while they still can, there’s still an understanding that at the end of it all, they’ll eventually ‘settle down’ and become good wives.
The freedom brought about by stepping out of home (very often, small towns), financial independence and jobs that entail wide travel, is a heady one. Marriage, whatever said and done, does bring with it restrictions that girls wish to push off as far as possible. So these young girls are happy being in relationships that mean good fun and sex, but no settling down. That can come later, it seems. As a young IT professional from Mumbai confesses, “I have asked my parents to start looking for a match for me. I’ve had my fun, gone through lots of relationships and want to settle down now.”
The article briefly touched upon Indian ‘morality’, saying that those who talk about it
find themselves pretty marginalised today. There is a fairly widespread tolerance for, if not acceptance of, women’s need for fun. Moral strictures and codes of conduct sound not just outdated, but anachronistic. Enough that even those who mouth them question their validity!
This kind of sweeping generalisation gets to me. BJP (India’s conservative party), marginalised? Widespread tolerance for women’s fun needs? Yes, they may be anachronistic, but the strictures and codes are still very much the norm for the majority of women in India. It is the tiniest of minorities of women, in India’s biggest cities, that can even think of enjoying the kind of freedoms that this article claims to be the privilege of the many.
Nonetheless, this group of women may be rather numerically large, even if not a significant proportion of the greater population. And regardless, the mere fact of a shifting pattern of relationships among certain women must be cause for celebration, in that they are going against the tide and trying out different arrangements for themselves. That too, in a county where kissing in public is still taboo. (There was another article on “Unkissable Indians,” how foreigners doing business here have been warned to keep their cheeks to themselves.) I just hope they are using protection…
Interestingly, on the front page of the TimesLife! section was an article called “Casual Casanovas,” featuring the trend among men to take numerous lovers. Yet the articles seem to speak over one another.