By Rhea Grover
Disclaimer: Read the article without labelling me as a disgrace to womankind and averse to the ideals of an equal society.
As I sat drawing Homer Simpson in my notebook, my history teacher went rambling on about gender discrimination for what seemed like forever. She elucidated how history itself is testament to the poor conditions that women face in our society today and how our very social fabric was made to discriminate against them while I thought how to get Homer’s nose right. While hers is a very legit argument, it is not the focus of this article. This article is more about what I thought after this attempt at indoctrinating us with feminism (just another girls’ college problem!) This is not just another article urging its readers to work towards uplifting the women in our society, there are enough of those, but instead it seeks to provide them with a food for thought that might lead them to understand the dynamics of gender discrimination a little better.
Before we delve further into this, I must clarify that I’m not writing to this to demean the concept of feminism or belittle the ideals enlisted in it. I honestly do believe that there are many feminists who are indeed doing great work for the society and discriminating against women is in no way justified. Now that I’m done with being politically correct, let’s face the facts, in actuality the fruits of urban feminism never really do percolate down to the people who actually are bearing the brunt of the situation today. It is more focused on eliminating stereotypes that exist in the metropolitans, catering mainly to the elite. It’s become more of a kitty party conversation between ‘social workers’ who spend more on their LV bags than on charity. Go self-proclaimed pseudo feminists!
The moment a person passes a comment about how men are paid more than women in labour jobs, a perfectly factual statement, there are 10 feminists entering the scene as ‘moral police’ and throwing their Steve Maddens at the poor guy for no tangible reason. According to them, a guy can beat his wife up as long as he doesn’t pass a comment on women in public.
In their defense, their main aim is to eliminate this ‘labeling’ of women or attributing certain characteristics to them. But these stereotypes are not recent phenomena; they emerge from the age-old ideas of femininity. There is a rigid, pink coloured box that hasn’t expanded much since decades called ‘characteristics of all females in the world’ and every woman in the world must come from there and another alternative is just not possible. And I agree with them that this box needs to go, that is not what my problem is. My problem is with the fact that there also exists a blue box, which is just as rigid and absolute and this one entails the ideas of masculinity.
We see manifestations of these ideas every single day. Yes by ‘we’, I mean you and me. YOU do it too, don’t try to deny it. It’s not your fault, they are engrained so deep within us that they form a part of our instinct. For instance, let’s think of how our thought process functions. If a guy is standing next to me on a bus stand, he’s not waiting for a bus but he is a rapist. My boyfriend is talking to another girl? He must be cheating on me, men are cheating liars. If a decent-looking man was to ever walk down in my college, I bet he’ll turn as many judgmental eyes towards himself as a girl would while walking in a male-dominated area. A guy likes fashion? He is not ‘normal’ and he must be gay.
What I’m trying to say is, gender stereotypes flow both ways and the view that all women need to be treated well but all men are chauvinists is what makes feminism flawed at a very conceptual level. Just as women should be allowed to wear dresses men should have the right to wear a rainbow, if they like, without being judged. And the very fact that this seems absurd to you is testament deeply these gender stereotypes engulf us.
If our end goal is a society which is discrimination free, we need to stop tagging people regardless of their gender contrary to the feminist model where one hypocritically places women above men. And thus is this irony of feminism. And it is because of situational ironies like this that we constantly need to question our society at multiple levels and we’ll see concepts that are intrinsic to society as we know it with a new and improved perspective. Let’s do something, the next time we think something is absurd or abnormal, we tell our minds to shut up and you’ll realize just how many times in a day you will have to do this, you might not even have the time to moral police another. Start changing from within and you might have a chance at changing the world outside.