Previously, a nursing book came in talks which stated the merits of the dowry system. More recently, a tweet was made of a page from grade XII ISC Economics book which said that “the direct and indirect taxes are like two equally attractive sisters, neither of whom should be pursued too ardently.”
This remark was initially made by William Gladstone who was the 19th century liberal Prime Minister of Great Britain. This has been used since then in economics books as a way to explain the difference between direct and indirect taxes.
This line meant to explain that both direct and indirect taxes are of equal significance and the government should pay equal emphasis on both. One should not be kept over the other.
This could have been explained simply without using any of such sexist remarks. And the question here arises is why not attractive brothers but only sisters? The attribute of being attractive is not gender-specific.
These analogies make the feminist stand clearer when they say that even today, women are not in a good/better position in the minds of people. These are one or two books that came into the limelight. There is no record of how many such analogies we come across almost every day and simply ignore.
Misogynist mentality is at the roots of patriarchal mindsets. Objectification is a central notion of feminist theories. It includes sexual objectification, an object of ownership, reduction to body/appearance, etc. This is the exact issue with this remark in the book. It is addressing a woman as an attractive object and has been compared to taxes.
What we hear and what we read is the basis of what we think. If students are being taught such things, they are no one to be blamed if they think that men are superior to women. On one hand, our books teach us the significance of equality of gender, and on the other women are used to being compared to taxes.
Twitter flooded with the tweets calling such analogies “nonsense”, “sexist”, “patriarchal” etc. There were remarks made by people saying that there are some very serious issues with the Indian education system which isn’t acknowledging these grievous problems.
A tweet rightly pointed out that the monitoring agencies of high schools and colleges need to do serious brainstorming sessions in validating the content taught. People are demanding a check on all the books that are taught throughout to curb such analogies.
The Indian Education System needs to realize the importance of these small issues which cater to a long-lasting impact. Every person needs to learn to practice equality, not only on paper but in everyday life. There is a need to acknowledge such mistakes. Ignorance is not bliss in many cases.
Disclaimer: This article is fact-checked
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