As a woman, I am used to being told what my place is. In the kitchen. Holding a mop. Smelling like daisies all the time while being a well-educated, good looking, hairless, white as snow, domestic goddess waiting on her family.

As a woman, I am also used to seeing womankind degraded subtly, with background music and lighting, and with flower petals cascading across the screen; in our dramas, in our movies, in our morning shows, in our TV ads.

As a woman, today, I am very, very angry.

It encourages me to speak out more when I see how speaking out does help raise awareness and change mind-sets.  I bask in female glory every time I see people get outraged over lawn ads trivializing rape culture and harassment.  I feel pride every time I see the word ‘feminist’ being used in a positive light for a change.

I also feel worried, when I realise how we are still far from actually respecting women on whole as normal human beings who don’t always smell like daisies, who aren’t always hairless, who aren’t always smiling because they feel more accomplished after putting together a meal then after completing their PhD in microbiology.

The advertising sector today is leaping and bounding towards newer, more creative and innovative ways to sell products and services, and with them, ideas. What never changes is how women are portrayed in sync with prevalent mindsets:

Mrs Sugghar is a PhD scientist and her kitchen is spotless, let's zoom into her standing in front of immaculately clean kitchen counters, wearing a lab coat and holding a mop!

Miss Saleeqamand teaches at a school and comes back in the afternoon to take up our wonderful state of the art vacuum cleaner to clean around the whole house, then she uses our intelligent microwave to help her cook a meal for her family, all of this so she can have a final lie down in our amazing bug repellent air conditioner after everyone has been tucked in!

Dr Tameezdaar is a surgeon who works 20 hour shifts at the hospital, and still manages to make lunch for her own children and husband, while cooking for daawats every weekend! How inspiring!

Let’s take a break. It’s not inspiring. It’s not motivating. It’s cruel.

It's cruel and painful because a woman who does beat patriarchy in one way by getting highly educated and making a career for herself still ends up doing everything she was supposed to be doing without a career of her own too, and never fully escapes the gender-based roles assigned to her, even if she has to work every second she is awake and forego proper sleep. Even if the mother in the family has a job, like every other family member, the whole family's laundry, food, tea and bedtimes are still her responsibility. We need to stop with our glamorisation of how working women are forced to juggle everything together because their families can't take their own plate to the sink and take care of their own laundry, like they should. We need to change the ideas that consider women as either cattle or superhuman beings, and attain recognition as what we are: human.

Even more disturbing are incidences of women who are only allowed to work if they swear beforehand to fulfill their homemaking ‘responsibility’ single-handedly. That means they have to make a choice: let go of their dreams, or juggle their professional ambitions and dreams with full-time housework and domestic responsibility. Somehow, even where we do push ourselves to accept the idea of a woman leaving the house, working and earning her own money, we are still completely unable to entertain the concept of sharing housework among family members.

Maybe today, we need to start focusing on how women who have to work every hour they spend awake because they decided to pursue a career are just human, and that isn’t the goal we as women should be expected to have. We need to work to change that for those women, to let them gain importance as sentient beings who know tiredness and fatigue and can only healthily pursue a limited amount of domestic responsibility while having a profession too. We need to make the impossible idea that children and husbands can actually chip in and help with household work possible. Not only does it distribute chores that are already everyone’s responsibility, the load of chores per person decreases, and it leaves room for actual family time. An incredible, impossible idea, I guess, but an idea that sure needs implementation, and just about now. Let’s stop telling women their only achievement is a bustling, steaming and crowded dining table.  They are way more than that.