A lot of women have internalized gender discrimination. Tell them that they deserve more and you will be met with shocked eyes – tell them their daughters deserve better and they will shoo you away. What with all the blogs and articles on feminism pointing out how it is the men who perpetrate sexual discrimination, I’d like to say that I have seen more women who do.
“Are you insane? Girls don’t play sports.”
“It’s in a sign of religious devotion for women to work in the kitchen even if they lose the skins on their hands.”
“Using a woman’s money to pay for utility bills takes away the barkat from the house.”
“Don’t raise your voice in front of the men in the family.”
“Just get married.”
“What was she wearing? She was clearly looking for attention” [When news about sexual assaults appears]
These are all the things that I have heard friends’ moms and female relatives say – not just the men.
While it’s true that the kind of family you’re brought up in is different for everyone, I think it’s unfair that it’s only the men who are assumed to be sole perpetrator of sexism. If it was a first-person account I’d say my dad has never disallowed me from studying (I have quite a knack for going the extra mile), or working (At one point, I was working at two places), I have never heard male colleagues or classmates ever discriminate against me because of my gender. In fact, I have seen more men being vocal about crimes against women. I have seen them drive women around to help them out with assignments, household chores – just because of the fact that they are men and have internalized the fact that they are supposed to be facilitators in certain situations.
Even when certain households have men that are clearly domineering and have “rules” about who gets to do what, I have not seen a lot of women questioning the “status-quo”. Challenging, arguing or asking for a reason are practices that are looked down upon. Even when women are presented with outlets or opportunities to take their rights, they feel it’s inappropriate to accept it. Several take discrimination matter-of-factly with “this-is-how-it’s-supposed-to-be” kind of an attitude.
The womankind have been struggling to get gender equality for years and to be honest, there is so much “talk” about it that I’m afraid it’s not taken as seriously as it should. But why are so many people just talk and nothing more? Why is it that we have been unable to get what we want? Equality is not something that can be handed over on a single platter and yet, what is it that’s stopping us from attaining it?
In my opinion, part of the problem lies in identifying who perpetrates the gender inequality that exists. Just because it’s rights of the women that we are asking for doesn’t mean every women has worked to get it – a lot of women in our society are actively involved in fostering environments where their daughters, nieces and so on won’t feel comfortable asking for it at all.
This is not supposed to be a blog bashing women – I have heard a number of feminists say that that’s the last thing we need. I just think that under the “woman deserve equality” banner, a lot of women who are actually contributing the problem are given a free pass, while men, regardless of their views on the topic are termed as the enemies.
As mothers, mothers-in-law, aunts, teachers, or any other influential role women play in society, if they are perpetrating women inequality in their own ways, they should also be called out as part of the problem- I think it’s only fair.