“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”—Alice Walker.
The human race became a predominantly patriarchal society around 12,000 years ago when the human species began settling down, claiming the territory, cultivating our own food, and defending what was rightfully ours. Men were biologically stronger, and hence assumed the role of guardians, and women, naturally, assumed the role of nurturers. As a result, roles were allocated to the sexes, and the power play began. A millennial later, women continue to battle for their rights, while rejecting the title “the weaker sex”.
As we join the growing feminist movement to demand power, respect, opportunities, and basic human rights, here is a list of sexist behavior that women have normalized but should never have!
1. Getting Unsolicited D*ck Pics
You are either living in the stone age, or a complete liar if you claim you have never received an unsolicited “d*ck pic” on your Tinder, Facebook, or Instagram account!
While a lot of research has been undertaken and more is still being conducted on the psychology behind men sending these images, like the detailed breakdown in The Journal of Sex Research, the issue that remains unexplored is why women have accepted this as something normal.
Receiving these type of photographs is neither amusing nor should it be acceptable. They may be psychologically traumatic, especially if the recipient is a minor.
Even if it may seem simpler to just ignore these sexually explicit images, this is not the proper course of action. If you do not report these accounts, the sender will continue to transmit unsolicited photographs to an increasing number of individuals on the internet. Let us take a stand and criminalize cyberflashing today!!
2. Saying “I Was Raised Just Like My Brother, Like a Son”
If you were raised among brothers, especially in a colored family, you may have said this at one or more points in your life.
Throughout history, a girl child has been seen as an extra responsibility or even a curse in certain households. In some cultures, if a girl child was “lucky enough” to be born and survive, she would not only be abused and raised differently from her brothers, but she would also be eventually married off, often at a tender age. Therefore, when you are raised with respect and care, equal opportunities, and the bare minimum decency, there is a possibility that you may feel fortunate, but believe me, you deserve it all. When you see this as a reward, and view generosity as a benefit, you may become more appreciative.
Although there is nothing wrong with being grateful, when you state that you were raised as a man, you imply that only the male gender deserve love, human decency, and freedom. You inadvertently contribute to the same sexism that we combat on a daily basis. So let’s quit saying “I was raised like a son”, and start saying “I was raised like a human!”
3. Being Told “Aurat Hii Aurat Ki Sabse Badi Dushman Hai”
Women are hardwired to feel like they are always in competition with other women around them. “She is just jealous of your beauty,” “she wishes she were me,” “she wants me to fail so she can take over.”
Society has pitted women against each other in a caustic and blinding manner. For so long, it has been a man’s world so much that once a woman breaks through patriarchal boundaries and ascends to the top, she finds herself alone. When another woman comes close, she believes that her position is threatened, but we overlook the fact that there is room for more than one. We must intentionally create room for more women at the top. Therefore, rather than saying “aurat hii aurat ki dushman hai,” we should work to make it simpler for other women, and help them avoid experiencing the same horrors we did.
4. Pink Tax on All Menstrual Hygiene Products
Even in 2021, a woman in the United States of America spends approximately $9 per month on feminine hygiene products, but in India, merely sanitary napkins cost nearly $300 per month, according to a research conducted in 2018. While sanitary napkins, menstruation cups, tampons, heating pads, comfort oils, and medicine are products necessary for survival, they are treated as a luxury. They cost an arm and a leg across the world. Regardless of how costly they are, women who can afford them continue to pay the high prices, while others who cannot afford them are compelled to utilize unsanitary and unsustainable aids, leaving them susceptible to illnesses and infections.
If 50% of the population menstruates and needs these items, why not enact laws, initiatives, and measures to make these necessities more available to all?
5. Being “Only” Catcalled
How many times have you been whistled at, called “maal,” and asked “chalti hai kya” while you were just strolling down the street?
How many times have you yelled at them or brought it to the attention of authorities?
Not quite as many, right? Because, well, come on! They just made a rude remark, an inappropriate statement, no big deal! It could be worse, no?
Women have accepted being catcalled in order to avoid being harassed or attacked in the streets. But why the comparison? Yes, harassment is harsher, but it doesn’t make catcalling any less offensive, does it? Catcalling is still unpleasant, unsettling, and demeaning.
Let us begin to call this indecency out, in the name of all that is good! Let us make it clear that this is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Let’s get the authorities involved because the longer we overlook it, the more it becomes normalized, and the more it persists.
Although there have been several movements across the world advocating for women’s rights and equal treatment, we must examine deeper inside the things we normalize and the phenomena generated by sexism and patriarchy and do all we can to remove these normalities. You deserve more than the bare minimum.