( Stereotypes & other….err…only BS)
Once, in my work place, the topic of transfer came up. One well wisher stated that once I married, I would have to get transfers to places where my husband would work.I was quite offended and would have reacted, if it hadn’t been for the sincerity in his voice or the concern in his eyes.My senior was not being rude or insensitive. This is how our society thinks, how they perceive women. These thoughts have such deep roots that no one questions them. They are a result of gender stereotypes. These stereotypes have been around for so long that they are treated like facts.
What went on in my mind after hearing his words was this:
Why would I do that? Why would I make my life partner ( because he would be my PARTNER, not my LIFE) the sun of my solar system, and take decisions then? Most important of all, why would I make sacrifices?
The answer was simple. Because I am a woman.
Surprisingly, even women agree to various stereotypes by going along with them ( Well, it is only when you water a plant and provide it with nutrition that it grows to be strong, sturdy tree right? Same with gender stereotypes.)
The excuse women give to others and justify the ‘nurturing of this tree’ to themselves is ‘because I love him’ and, the excuse men give for letting them go along with it and justify it to themselves is, ‘ Because she loves me’.
The question is, why are only women expected to make sacrifices in the name of love?
I would like to mention this incident. I am not a good cook (Yeah. I am FEMALE and I am a TERRIBLE cook. Take that stereotype lovers). I could probably open a poison manufacturing factory and make millions, all thanks to my delicious (*sarcasm*) ‘delicacies'(* sarcastic snort*).
Yes, that’s how bad it is. You should ask my siblings. The youngest one used to love ladies finger. Since the day I cooked it, he can’t even bear to look at it, let alone eat it. There was this one time when my ‘experiments’ in the kitchen made their digestive systems work ‘overtime’. I think you got the gist. That day I prayed for the toilet and my siblings prayed for our parents to come home.
Okkk. Back to the incident.
So thanks to my cooking skills (or the lack of it), most ( Correction: ALL) of my taste buds are dead and if any are remaining, I am sure they are contemplating suicide.
I told the same, in not so many words when I was questioned about my food arrangements. A colleague was kind enough to offer a solution. His solution:
‘Call your mother na’
His tone was so matter of fact. And please observe, yet again, it was a MALE.
Some may think that I am generalising on the basis of two incidents (Actually there are many more) but, this does bring to our notice how Indian men perceive women.
Oh I HAVE to mention this one incident (I swear this would be the last). This write up would feel incomplete without it. It is my favourite actually. So here it goes.
Once upon a time, in a land of files, financial documents and office stationary, lived a fair maiden.
Ok getting to the point.
It was a festival and officially it was an off, but we were still in the office, working. A female colleague had bought home made sweets ( Hmm… Was it a Rasogulla or Gulab Jamun. I don’t remember. I guess humiliation does funny things to the memory) to celebrate the occasion ( Another thing worth mentioning is I have NEVER seen any male colleague bring some home cooked speciality. Well, I shouldn’t use the word home cooked here because they would just bring something cooked by their wives. Aha. I should probably use the word ‘Hand cooked’.
I and my male colleagues were gathered at one place. And then, out of the blue, I was ‘requested’ by one of them to ‘distribute the sweet’ which, was ‘nothing’ but putting them in plastic cups, along with spoons, and handing them over to those gathered.
There wouldn’t have been anything wrong with the scenario ( We do the same with friends and family right?) if it hadn’t been for the comment that followed the ‘request’.
Sample the comment a.k.a ‘joke’ ( Because after big HA HA, that’s what every sexist comment becomes. Right?):
” It would be good practice for your husband after marriage”
I mean that’s why I did my schooling, my graduation,my Masters and took a job. So that I can ‘serve’ sweets to my husband.
It IS my life’s ULTIMATE goal. I was BORN for this purpose only.
Serving sweets to my husband.
Anyways what was surprising was my female colleague asked me to go along with it.
I understand that women decide to take such things lightly ( Because these things happen so often that if you don’t let it go, you would go into a depression) and because of that, they go along with it.
But such behaviour strengthens the stereotypical belief system of men. It is like adding fuel to the fire and fanning the flames which, mind you, cam burn generations of women to come.
Women have to stand up and say, ‘ No. It is not okay.’ We may not realise it but it is not only our treatment which is in our hands., but each and every women’s.
If every women decided to not go along with such behaviour or take such things lightly, we would weaken this stereotypical belief system.
And it will not only affect the females of our generation but, also the females of generations to come.
It would be like pushing one Domino.
So what are you waiting for?
Give that one Domino a push and set them in motion. Let’s start the Domino Effect.
Shall we begin?