What is the definition of a ‘good woman’?

Farzana Aksha Zohora(Translated by Sabiha Sultana):

Representational Image. Source: Pinterest

Many days ago I read an article “ Foreign life partners of Japanese” in which without any thinking a married woman ( Priashi)  talked about her husband that he is very caring, He gives his time to them, he keeps himself busy with her and their children.

Another person (Nazim) told about his wife that “she is very quiet, I am surprised that how she manages four kids with family, I can’t give time to them. I am a little talkative person so I have friend’s hangout inside and outside my home regularly, but she never complains. She is indeed a good wife.”

These two are both married people who think their life partners are ‘good’, but the reason of their partner being good is not just different but also a reason for thinking. For the woman her life partner is good because her husband is caring, he gives time to his wife and kids, he helps her in household chores, takes them for outing, but for the married man, his wife is good because his wife manages all household works herself, does not have any complaint about her husband and family, does not have any demand for her husband.

I remember after watching my husband helping me in household work, one of my brothers said with pride that he never needed to watch his family, his wife used to that alone. He could not take care of babies, but his wife raised her four kids alone. He never needed to help her in that. Even when she was in Bangladesh, during labor pain, she did all heavy household work, took care of her in-laws, and gave birth to a child in the kitchen.  He said that today’s generation girls cannot do anything.

When my that brother was telling these, he never had any regret. I was surprised that even after living for 20 years in this modern century he thinks that it is a woman’s job to raise kids and manage the household. And not doing help to the women or not taking help from her husband is a pride.

Actually no matter how much modern and educated we are, we will never change this neglected attitude to women. We scale a good woman by her obedience who never questions anything. Who has no thinking or opinion about herself, he lives the social so-called norms. Who are obedient, has no demand from  her husband, takes care of her in-laws. Otherwise, they are ‘bad’ women. And when these things are not done by someone, we see a different type of woman. And then start our war of questioning that woman.

I had to face same incidents many times. After one month of leaving Bangladesh, I had my first baby. That time my husband had to manage both inside and outside of the home. It was hard for me to take care of a baby with my sickness. It is good to mention that in a foreign land alone means alone.

Anyway, my husband has been living in foreign for a long time now, maybe that’s why he never had any problem doing household work. Whenever he was in the home, he would take care of the baby. That means to feed the baby to bath the baby, make him sleep, changing napkins, everything. Even when I did not cook, he cooked for me.

My husband’s helping me in home caught the eyes of the Bengalis. Whenever someone used to come our home, they would say many things. One of my friends told that husbands are precious things, they should not do these type of things, it would not please husbands and good women do listen to their husbands and take care of their husband.

Another woman told me that I only did my studies, I did not learn any household work, how to take care of children, their elders taught them what not,  women’s only required qualification is managing family’s work, they do not need to study much!

Some even said that my partner should not have married an educated girl like me. It would not happen if he had married a young, uneducated girl. They said I don’t respect my husband out of my educations pride.

Actually, the problem is in our social thinking. Where girls are taught from a young age that it the duty of the woman to care of house and kids. As men do understand about these things, women can convince or control men by doing these works. It will assure the living and Social status of a woman. So they are not willing to reject this process.

Though many women take help from their partners, but they never confess it, if their title of good woman gets rejected.

These married women do not do any any work outside their home to get the title of good woman. They say that their husbands do not like a woman working outside. Their husbands say that women working outsides gets curious, they do not stay as a wife, they become “prostitute”. So these married women do makeup and goes to parties. They don’t only show their make ups but also makes various types of food to make the guests realize that how expert they are in household works. It’s a failure for them if they can’t make 10 to 15 types food for the guests. They will make food in the home though there are better foods are available in the market. This does not end here, to know who cooked the better food they create sick competitions.

But if I ask them to know any office location or how to do any official work, they answer with pride that “we do not do these, our husbands do these”

When I ask them about any doctor’s place they have the same answer that they do not go to the doctor without their husband. These husband dependent wives used to show modernity by their clothes, though they mentality is far away from modernity.

I am not saying that doing household work, doing makeup, cooking, taking care of children are bad things or small work rather I emphasize on these work more than working outside. But the problem is why I have to be expert in household work because I am a woman? Why my husband cannot help me in household work? Why can I not work outside? A family is about two person- Husband and wife, right? Then why two people can not help each other? To become good women, why we have to beautiful slaves of our husband?

Link to the original article in Bengali: https://womenchapter.com/views/18127

Farzana Aksha Zohora currently resides in France. She completed her M.Phil in History from Jahanginagar University, Bangladesh.  At present, she is the publishing editor of Paris Bangla Press Club, Editorial Writer at “Weekly Awaaz “and “Daily Manobkantha”.






Sabiha Sultana is currently a BBA student in Bangladesh University of Professionals. Her hobbies include reading books, free writing, debating, painting etc.





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