Disclaimer : The following article makes use of words and illustrations that some readers might find offensive. Reader discretion is advised.
Hey there, ladies.
We have a slight problem here.
Somu and Priya decide to have fun and fuck around one day. And boy, do they kill it. The both of them know what they are in for, and they definitely know what they are not in for.
Or well, at least they thought they did.
Somu is now a playboy and stud and ‘Woah dude, you did her? I need some tips man!
And Priya is now a slut and a whore and ‘What the hell! You let him use you?’
And guess who made Priya feel like she did something horrible and all left out and bashed her for doing something she knew she was in for and enjoyed? Well, a huge portion of the people who did that were us. Women.
Ladies, it’s time we realise that some of the things we unconsciously do are, well, screwing us over. Forget fighting against gender inequality, we might be wholeheartedly contributing to sexism
Have you ever judged a girl for doing something you would not think anything of if a boy did? Like being too outgoing or being overly flirtatious or even “Look at her, shamelessly sitting with a boy on a bench in the middle of the night!” (Yes, I’ve heard this one).
One could argue that the reason girls have grown used to slutshaming other girls is that, statistically, girls who do any of the above get into trouble more than boys do.
Growing up, there were clear limits on things I couldn’t do solely because of gender. For instance “Don’t wear skimpy clothes because there are people out there who will be attracted to your feminine body, and might try and harm you in order to satisfy their sexual desires.”
Without getting into a discussion about whether this is right parenting, it is not hard to see a parent’s concerns. Except, I internalised this the wrong way.
“Don’t wear skimpy clothes because there are people out there who will be attracted to your feminine body, and might try and harm you in order to satisfy their sexual desires.”
“Don’t wear skimpy clothes”.
Which became –
“Don’t wear skimpy clothes and do not hang out with girls who do because they may influence you”.
Which eventually became –
“Totally judge girls who wear skimpy clothes because they are shameless whores begging for men to rape them”
This is a slight exaggeration, but I am making a point. Yes, I have done my fair share of slut shaming and bullying, and regret it.
Criticism of Potential Victim
Let us break this down and get this straight. The reason a girl’s actions are restricted in the first place was that some men are assholes (men, please notice the “some”). Is it justified if we look down on women who are exercising their own rights because they may end up being victims?
What message does this give out to the offenders? That any girl who is not behaving according to norms set up by society is asking for it? We need to rethink who we blame here. Have we progressed at all from the women dissing women mother-inlaw, daughter-in-law system, or are we just aping it?
(Negative?) Stereotypical Female Qualities
Another way in which we unknowingly propagate sexism is when we subtly bash other women in claiming that we are not like them because of our better qualities. And unfortunately, these better qualities are not always but generally associated with the male section of society.
According to popular Quora writer, Jordan Yates, these statements are usually in the form of “I’m not like other women, I’m not afraid to get dirty and work hard” or “I’m not like other women as I don’t need makeup and dresses to be happy.” They imply that the speaker is better than fellow women because wait a minute, she claims that she has masculine virtues! What’s more, she’s taken neutral qualities like working hard and vanity and associated the qualities generally considered good with the male gender and the silly qualities with the female gender, thereby creating a link when there isn’t one.
The Freedom of Choice
“A huge part of being a feminist is giving other women the freedom to make choices you might not necessarily make yourself.”
– Lena Dunham
Freedom of choice. Yes, we have it, and for God’s sake, let us exercise it.
So the house party is coming up and all your friends have got out their beautiful gowns and gorgeous looking high heels. The dresses, you can see, have evidently been designed to make the body look attractive to the male section of society, with deep cleavage showing cuts and thigh length skirts.
You, however, don’t find this very comfortable to wear and the shoes hurt your feet. But every other girl in the party is dressing up. And shouldn’t you look good to get attention from the boys?
You recently bought this cute pair of cut-offs that you think look cool. You want to wear them around campus—but will people talk? Will they back-bite about you being an attention whore? Is it not acceptable to wear such clothes on campus?
If you don’t want to dress up for the party, don’t, irrespective of whether everyone else is. If you feel like it, just do it. If you like your new shorts, go ahead and wear them, irrespective of what society will say. Because by not exercising your own freedom of choice and succumbing to whatever ideas society has put up for a woman to be like we are only strengthening the hold society has on us, and yes—propagating sexism.
Let’s Do This!
The men may have started the internalisation of misogyny in society, but we sure as hell aren’t going to help continue it.