The age-old problem of Brain Space

Too much brain space is never good. It has been an age-old problem of the majority of people, especially women. In the words of my friend Sahil, it Auntys who are the worse, who creates problems in the lives of everyone around. I wonder how in the Indian society where even some of the most empowered women subconsciously accept male dominance, women who themselves has so much to deal with in day to day life can have the power to affect anyone’s life in any way. Aren’t they themselves the victim?

I am not a feminist, not because I don’t care for women rights but because this word has become so much more about male bashing and so little about women rights that I feel sceptical of calling myself one. But it's no trivial statement that women are treated as secondary-citizen all over the world. India is a deeply patriarchal society and woman in this country is still for many, a free servant man gets in order to run the house and to entertain him when he wants. This goes way beyond inequality. Like men, women are a product of the same patriarchal society and thinks in the same way as men do. They themselves think of themselves as responsible to take care of people around. We should ask whether women really want equality? Maybe not, it might be the case that women don’t want to be equal to men in every sphere.

Each gender has their own interests and abilities, and maybe a few things such as physical strength come in more naturally to men. The differences between men and women is not a concern. The problem starts when we start recognising some qualities and virtues more important than others. For example, can we say that physical strength is more important than emotions? Emotions, love, connection making are important pillars of a healthy life, but yet we fail to recognise their importance in comparison to qualities like physical strength, logical thinking which are more visible and are easier to measure. As a human race, we have failed for a long time to recognise the ability and effort it takes to transform a house of bricks into a home. The work women do all their lives go unrecognised day after day.

1 in every 8 women in the world suffer from some form of depression. More than one-half of women believe it is “normal” for a woman to be depressed during menopause and that treatment is not necessary and more than one-half of women believe depression is a “normal part of ageing, according to according to MHA’s report on depression in women.

They suffer from the feeling of loneliness and a huge majority doesn’t feel that they do anything of value and almost all of them feel unrecognised. An independent human would ask here that why does one need recognition from anyone? But how much ever we feel that way, a human is a social creature and we feel valued when our work is appreciated and recognised by others, and especially because we are a patriarchal society, the appreciation from men hold more value. Then how do women, who suffer so much, whose efforts go unrecognised and often ignored, whose emotions are neglected at every step, becomes the object of the hatred of my friend.

Twofold Problem

The problem is twofold. Firstly, it’s the lack of understanding of the innate differences in men and women and their constant endeavour to make the other gender understand or perhaps change. The second important factor is the brain space you have and you allot to different things in your life. For example, women by nature are generally better caretakers and more fastidious about cleanliness and orderliness than men. This difference leads to a huge deal of fights among couples, which the single people find so difficult to decipher. For instance, my father yet can’t understand why do we need two slippers at home and why you cannot use the same one for inside and outside. And my mother finds it mind-boggling how someone cannot understand something so trivial even after constant efforts of 29 years. The difference lies in the mind space each of them gives to cleanliness. The problem which is huge for my mother is trivial for my father. And this fundamental difference in the understanding of the issue creates an unimaginable level of resentment.

The second problem is even deeper. As women have been responsible for taking care of the house, children and husband almost all their lives, all the work they do all their lives revolve around someone else. When these children go away, there is plenty of space created at the age of 40 with nothing to fill it with. And then starts the gossip and interference in others lives. It also brings in a lot of depression and loneliness for many women, but a country like ours where a lot of physical ailments goes unnoticed, where do we have time to bother about something like loneliness.

But why only women?

Where do women get so much mind space from? We rarely hear anyone showing any disappointment towards Uncles. Its because men go to work, they have work friends, work worries and interests such as politics, sports and many more outside work. Whereas women, who were so engrossed all their young lives in taking care of the house and children lose all interests and hobbies. And then one day, suddenly in their mid-forties, they find themselves alone. No children to take care off, very little household work and few interests. This gives rise to unnecessary socialising and at times inappropriate interference in others lives. At the same time, a huge fraction of women suffers from depression which men completely fail to understand. They can’t even recognise the problem. And then they conveniently term these women as Auntys with nothing better to do but interfere in the lives of others. No one even bothers to think that years of suppression and current loneliness, for which we all are responsible has caused this.

What’s the solution?

The one way is to make sure your daughters, your sisters, your wives have a life which not about you or your children. If we teach them to live for themselves and not for others, we might bring back some happiness and a sense of worthiness in their lives. If we can teach our boys to recognise the effort, if we can give them an opportunity to experience things like running the house, rearing children, they will understand and will learn to appreciate the effort. If we can start looking deeper into the cause of action, and what triggered that action, we might someday make our houses, cities, and world a better place for our women and men.

Prachi is co-creator at Pitaara and is a propagator of the idea of Self-designed learning!

Prachi is co-creator at Pitaara and is a propagator of the idea of Self-designed learning!