There can be nothing more disheartening than an idea of Women’s day in the year 2022. How many years more would be needed when women will no longer need to yell out I need my rights? Like the famous Dylan song goes “The answer my friend is blowing in the wind”?
But the answer lies maybe more with us than in the wind. It is not about the great strides but simple gender equations we still practice in our homes and amidst us that marks the true attitude we have towards women. Just the other day a relative of mine in an attempt to praise me for what he saw as exemplary work I was doing. (I am not sure what he was referring to or maybe he was just trying to be nice). But this is what he said,
“Beta, you are like a son to your family”. I wanted to turn around and say Sun or son as a joke but refrained and just added I prefer being a daughter. He had no malice in him, he was attempting to pat my back but you see the reference. I know all of you get what I am trying to say. Once my brother who happens to be an a fairly educated man , turned around and said” you are like having a younger brother around thanks for helping when I called’. The reason being he needed some help with his car and I stopped by to help. I was so miffed I cannot tell you. But you get me right? Most times we don’t even realize how we are enacting out gender identities.
Forget about equal pay. These are the simple references in daily life and most of us don’t even realize it. I still see in what we assume as urban home set ups, some parents feel while it might not be great for their son to smoke, it is definitely a no for a daughter. I am not saying smoking is a marker of progress, what I am trying to point out is the dual standards.
There was this other time I had a flat and the guy helping me, was being all nice and patronizing because I was a women, (That’s not bad it helps in certain occasions:) But he looked at me with a look that said you are a woman I don’t expect you to know how to change tyres.
I wish I could tell him bro, I can change tyres, except I have not done it in ages and I have forgotten, and also if I can pay for a paid service which was what he was doing why should I bother to do it. It has nothing to do with me being a woman. Have you ever walked into a liquor shop as a woman to buy liquor? Okay now days the shops are more fancy and the people are more chilled, but 10 years ago, I was asked to pick up some beer for guests coming over. There was a shop that happened to be on my way so I stopped. I actually had someone tap me on my back, and when I turned around the man said sorry I was checking if you were really a woman buying liquor. Funny!! maybe.
The other day my help was narrating her story where she was hit by her husband as a young bride. This woman supports her family single handedly. So I told her you earn, you can call the shots. Be compassionate but that doesn’t mean you have to bear everything, even if it’s plain yelling. She just turned around and said but I am a woman right it’s normal.
What should be normal is we should no longer have to discuss these things, we should no longer have to constantly fight to say being a woman is not weakness. I would like my brother to be once called the girl in the family. Strangely in a lot of families even today that reference might come across as slightly insulting, calling a boy a girl!!!