Stardust and Stories: The Essence of Women's Empowerment
Women's empowerment is a dynamic subject that has a broad spectrum of perspectives, waiting to be explored and broached by people. An ardent supporter of women's empowerment, Ms Yukta Mookhey discusses how the umbrella term has so many beautiful concepts under it; from the importance of a mother’s womb for her child to accept oneself in the era of superficiality.
A woman experiences many moments in her life that give her the feeling of being empowered enough to face the world and its challenges; according to me a very empowering journey that woman go through is that of motherhood. How the mother’s womb is the first educational environment for the child’s genetics to develop is of utmost importance. It is vital for every woman, every mother to understand how she has the power to shape the future of the upcoming generation from her womb itself. For the past year and a half, I have been focusing on women’s health from an Ayurvedic perspective, balancing my studies with both Western and Indian approaches. I have learnt that garbh sanskaar is a science that doesn’t solely revolve around the chanting of hymns and meditating but is a wonderful confluence between spiritual backing and scientific understanding. I hope to put my learning to use shortly by sharing it with many other people.
Who is an empowered woman? One who can be true to herself and the world; this implies that she first needs to be in tune with what her needs and wants are, what she aspires to do and become, and so on. To achieve that sense of empowerment, she needs to dedicate herself to certain practices, be it yoga, music, wherever her interests lie. Putting time and effort in those practices not only help one develop certain skills but it helps one take a closer glance at themselves.
The journey of knowing oneself is all the more important in today’s day because of the kind of image society has created and presented of women. The conditioning of women and the set beauty standards have become very westernized. But can we just blame them? After all, we adopted their standards in our nation as well, and allowed beauty brands, fashion brands, magazines, Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities to dictate and set the parameters of beauty and lifestyle. A major downside of all this is the fact that we have drifted apart from our traditional understanding of beauty, which we see in artworks of our goddesses. Unfortunately, this has caused great damage to our self-esteem, body image, weight and shape. The various misrepresentations have been misunderstood and misconstrued by society, becoming a vicious circle, which needs to be broken down today.
When I state that to know oneself is important, I mean that one doesn’t require the validation of anybody else to feel good about themselves. In the same way, one shouldn’t take the criticisms of people who do not hold importance in their lives either; it’s a two-way street. Mental and emotional strength is something each woman must inculcate within herself, to keep herself happy and sane in the constantly changing trends of the world. Women also need to let go of competitive attitudes; instead, coming together collectively and collaborating, drawing back to our roots of sisterhood. Bringing back such bonds and emotions is necessary, which were present in the olden days wherein women would live together, chat with one another, and encourage each other. As we move away from these bonds, in a sense, we move away from our bodies as well.
We become deeply disconnected because of today’s advertisements and distorted images of ‘the perfect’ body, which proves to be very harmful to the psyche of many women. We are told that we are not perfect and to attain that perfection, we buy products to improve our bodies, products that can be harmful to our bodies. Today, we are aware of the many gynaecological and psychological issues women go through daily. Knowing this, we need to get together in sisterhood, in women’s power and see the beauty in ourselves, through the goddesses we identify with and have worshipped right from our childhood. It’s very easy to relate to the powers of the goddesses or simply Mother Nature. When we believe in motherhood, we naturally believe in and respect Mother Nature, the birth-giver to everything on this planet. And finally, we must respect the body we have been given by God, and work on it every day to make it strong and resilient.
I have been following the spiritual footsteps of my Guru since the young age of 14, having meditated, chanted and prayed for a long time. All these practices have held me together and created a strong foundation that hasn’t been shifted, shaken or broken by any incidents in my life. So, an empowered woman is one who knows herself, can express herself and also follows her goals while balancing it with her duties to her family as well.
This article has been edited by Krishna Barot.
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