How even the most liberal men we know practice casual sexism!
When it comes to progress, the world has come a long way. We’re greedily eyeing the Space with the hope of exploring life, conducting gene-mixing and editing experiments, developing the intelligence that’s superior to our own brain, and the list goes on. What’s ironic is that we believe that we’d be able to achieve everything while half of the world’s population- Women are struggling for something as basic as equal opportunities, freedom of choice, and respect. Not just in broader things in life such as education, career, or relationships but just about in everyday life. Out of the many challenges that we as a world have to overcome for women empowerment, a major one is “Casual Sexism”.
We, as a world, are not just fighting those orthodox men who treat women as objects. Our challenge is to also change the mindset of those modern men who think they have re-defined the roles. The ones who are genuinely liberal with women. Men who think that they give all the respect and freedom to the women in their lives, and stand out like a real man in the line of misogynists. These lines depict the biggest problem and roadblock in the way of Women Empowerment.
Most modern men would take pride in their liberal behaviour towards women. After all, they respect her and give her freedom. They don’t behave with her like most men. This is what I want to ask as a woman- why should we be “granted” freedom and respect? A grant is a form of charity done out of pity, or love by a person in power to the person in need. When a man takes pride in such behaviour, he also accepts that he assumes he is the person in power. He accepts the fact that he can behave differently but chooses not to because he is such a gentleman. He means that his behaviour can change whimsically if need be. How does this makes this supposedly modern man, any different from men in the past, when they both assume the power to dictate their behaviour towards a woman, differently than that towards any man?
When you boast (even in the heart) about your treatment towards women, you silently give out your belief that you think of it more as a favour that can be undone anytime. It is appalling how a liberal man of the 21st century will be supportive of everything that a woman will do ONLY till the time he thinks it is appropriate to do so. This is exactly what casual sexism is- in your mind, or subconsciously you are the Boss that is just being generous with the woman in his life.
What should be a basic norm of behaviour towards any human being is suddenly glorified out of proportion when it comes to women. Has a man ever taken pride in his behaviour towards another man? Hardly. Rarely. Almost never. If you acknowledge that you behave in a certain manner, good or bad, with a woman, and that you take pride in it reveals that women are still haunted by the fact that she would be treated differently because of her gender.
A man who truly believes in equality will never take pride in his values. To him, inequality was never an option. He is not ignorant about it, simply unaware. It comes to him as naturally as breathing. Do you take pride in breathing?
Am I questioning your behaviour of helping the woman in your life and supporting her throughout, by calling it false propaganda? Am I saying that you should not be a gentleman that lets a woman walk on the left side of the road; or pulls out a chair for her; or pamper her with little gifts; or check on her if she has reached safely? Am I saying you shouldn’t correct her on her mistakes, or give your opinion on her choices? NO. I truly appreciate your gestures; but if they arise from the belief that you have the power to ultimately dictate a woman’s life choices (even simplest of them), and that you’d be different if it was a man in question, I’d rather encourage you to exhibit your true beliefs. At least that would balance the honesty quotient of the society and give us a clear map of how much more of progress we still have to make as humanity to acknowledge half of its spirit as a part of it and not exclusively superior or inferior.
I, as a woman, wholeheartedly also acknowledge the social pressure on men. It breaks my heart how a man is naturally expected to be a breadwinner, or not succumb to emotions. I also understand that certain situations demand that a man behave differently with a woman. E.g., checking on your female friend if she’s back home safely. I know you wouldn’t do that to a male friend. Unfortunately, the societal environment has made us helpless to make certain exceptions.
Yet, such exceptions don’t belittle the fact that most men think that their behaviour ought to be different towards a woman. Our challenge is the prevalent male pride which has naturally assumed the alpha role in society. The point of this article and Woman’s day is to inspire an introspection in you about your behaviour towards any woman in your life and recognize where it comes from? Sympathy, empathy, or apathy?
If you are a true liberal man, you wouldn’t know an alternative behaviour towards any gender.