The ‘subtle’ sexism

We are living in a world that is struggling to achieve equality and maturity in all matters gender. There are times when we all face certain sexist situations but we choose to stay quiet and not make a big deal of it. What these little encounters suggest is that our society is like that stubborn child who refuses to let go of patriarchy. Sexism is something that is experienced by all genders but it is a fact that women have been the biggest victims of this evil. Women have been dealing with sexism since centuries and the struggle continues. It is true that many of us have it better than so many others because of all the struggle and work of the feminists before us but the pace remains slow.

A lot of people pretend to support and believe in equality because it seems like a trend to them but they are not able to hide their inherent sexism which shows up in many places. Be it work, the gym or even a sports event these people are always ready with comments like “she runs fast for a girl” or “even though she is a girl she can lift a lot of weight”. These people are not targeted because they wear a mask of pretense in front of large crowds to fit in the so called ‘trend’. There are so many cases of women who have tackled this kind of sexism at work when they are considered either less capable than the other gender or simply not equipped to do any job that requires aggression or physical work. We have heard men say that even though women claim that they want equality they still have a reserved coach in the metro or that women are not always given the late night shifts at work. To all these men I can just ask one question, what is the reason that women are not feeling safe in the general coach or why do they fear walking on a street late at night or getting a cab at 1 am?

Coming back to the ‘subtle’ sexism we should not forget our own families. Have you witnessed any such thing at home? Is your father more protective and strict for your sister and she has more curfews than you do? if anyone asks for a glass of water, is it obvious that your mother or sister will fetch it? Well if your answers are ‘no’ then congratulations because you are a part of a very small group. The sexism that takes place in Indian families is often subtle because the women are taught since childhood that they are ‘supposed’ to do all this as they are the ‘domestic’ creatures. Therefore when they grow up they are simply expected to live up to all those norms.

There are many heterosexual couples where the guy expects the girl to dress a certain way and not bear a lot of skin. I have seen guys tell their girlfriends repeatedly to take care of her peeking bra straps or not wear shorts that are too short. The girl usually believes that the guy just makes these remarks because he loves her, but is that just it? This kind of sexism is dangerous because the people who practice it actually believe that they are progressive. We should all aim to move forward and keep moving as that is the only way we will be able to smash the glass ceiling once and for all.


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