Featured Image Credit: Marva M/Feminism In India
“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying ‘yes’ too quickly and not saying ‘no’ soon enough.” ~ Josh Billings
Why do so many of us have to struggle with this two-letter word “NO”? Why is saying no not as easy as saying yes? It actually takes courage to say no when you are expected to say yes. In a society that champions people pleasers, a “no” is perceived as something that is challenging the mainstream.
As I write this article, the most vulnerable beings that come to my mind are women. According to a study conducted in the US, women find it more difficult to say no than men. Women since childhood have been socialized into understanding that they are perceived as likable and agreeable. It is expected for women to subsume their own needs for the sake of others.
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When we talk about India, the condition is deplorable. Starting from friendships, hobbies, dating to marriage, parenting and even in workplaces. The societal burden that women face is to be a “good woman” by agreeing to the whims of others.
I remember a friend of mine marrying a man twice her age. She couldn’t say no to him because of the fear of disappointing her family. It may sound absurd but it’s true.
According to Debbie Chapman, the author of “The Joy of No” women don’t ultimately say no because they are afraid but because they don’t want confrontation or conflict. As women, we are taught that others know better what’s good for us than we do ourselves.
Now, the question here arises as to when will this rancid mentality change? Educating and developing a societal understanding is important. Instead of a socialisation that encourages women to be subservient, the general idea must be to develop a caliber to say no whenever and wherever a woman feels so.
Though it is more or less a women-oriented issue, men too, at times, feel hesitant to say no especially to their bosses, loved ones etc. It can be concluded that all genders need to work together for eradicating this issue and the feeling of guilt needs to be done away with.