What is so great about international women’s day 2022? I have been asking myself this question. Because the moment clock tick 12 we are going back to the same life scenario of judgment, gaslighting, discrimination, and whatnot. Will the celebrations work?
Let the day be about knowing your worth and standing up for yourself.
Let this day be about learning to say No when needed.
And let this day be about growing above the stereotypes.
Ask yourself what’s the big deal if I am going to live the same life.
Perhaps International Women’s Day is one of the most commercially viable possibilities for business. Announce a 50% exclusive discount for women and you are done. But it doesn’t matter if the woman who is wooed by this ‘special discount’ is being gaslighted and will continue living the life. As long as you are making a profit but uplifting the feeling of feminine value, those 24 hours is the gold mining time for you. And you know that…
Dear woman, here you fail to see that international woman’s day is a facade for commercial gains. You could have a day off, hang out with friends, celebrate but don’t forget what this day entails for you.
It is a reminder to respect…
To respect every living being irrespective of gender
It’s a reminder to know…
To know your self-worth irrespective of the stamps imposed upon you.
The goddess with numerous hands – Classic case of benevolent sexism
A common stereotype that has been conveniently propagated is that of a woman or a goddess with numerous hands doing household chores, taking care of kids, cooking, working, and more. This is the stamp that the world has been imposing on you. Yes, a woman is capable of unimaginable feats. But who decides that she should do all that by herself? These traditional gender stereotypes are created by subtle attempts of benevolent sexism. To know further we must look deeply into different types of sexism.
Ambivalent sexism is the theory that differentiates sexism in two forms – Hostile and Benevolent Sexism.
1. Hostile sexism
Hostile sexism is the most flagrant version of sexism where men/women openly proclaim that men are superior to women. The dominance of men is practiced in no uncertain terms. This is a version of male chauvinism. Strangely it has another aspect to it – Female chauvinism. Often feminism is often misconstrued as female chauvinism. While the former talks about equality, the latter is all about hostile sexism. International women’s day is also a reminder that women need not snub their male counterparts so as to uplift their worth and rights. Hostile sexism reflects misogyny and finds women as incompetent lot.
2. Benevolent sexism
This is a subtler form of sexism where women who comply with the traditional gender stereotypes are kept on a pedestal, more like goddesses. A subtle way to say that women are must do certain things in a certain way and men should protect and pamper them. This is an injustice to both genders and also the other genders. This form of sexism is also dangerous as it indirectly forces the woman to prioritize her relationships and prevents her from pursuing her dreams by taking her along for a guilt trip. Sadly, this form of sexism is prevalent and widely accepted.
Some of the commonly accepted forms of sexist dialogues.
- Women have motherly nurthuring instincts
- Women are about beauty
- She is a great wife for whom the happiness of family is everything/ my wife is so sacrificing
- Every woman is someone’s wife, daughter, sister
- She obeys me always
- Women are more compassionate
- Women need man’s protection
- Man is the breadwinner
- Women have high moral values
- Women are neater
- Men will be men
- Behind every successful man there is a woman
- I let her do everything, I am very liberal
- He isn’t man enough to control his wife
- We don’t need feminism, we need equality
- I control my husband
- Gentlemen pull the chair, hold handbags and open the doors for women
- Men don’t cry
- Ladies first
- He looks like a girl
- After all you are a girl
- You need a man who buys you pad, not condom
On an ending note, there is also a classic dialogue that I have heard – “I will teach your lesson and you will rise after nine months”. Well it is neither benevolent, nor hostile but it is an open rape threat.
What does International women’s day and #breakthebias entail for me?
For international women day and break the bias entails the message that a woman is not a goddess, sacrifice is not her virtue. She is not a princess who needs to be pampered. She is just a woman, treat her like one.