We live in a society where men do not cry and women do not go to work. The society we live in dictates what to do or what not to do, and we sure have to comply, because if we don’t, there would be severe repercussions. Being a person of any gender comes with a handbook, a guide that influences all our actions. So, in case you’re a man, you cannot wear pink (unless you’re gay, of course), you have no choice but to go to work and you have to provide for and protect your female counterpart (because she isn’t competent enough, of course). If you’re a woman, you shouldn’t work (because that’s a boy thing to do), you have to sit at home and take care of your babies and don’t apply for a driving licence (because you’re reckless, remember).
From the very beginning, there has been a coherent demarcation between girls and boys and women and men; not from the way they dress, but because of the roles they perform in a society. Women have been looked upon as nurturing souls who should stay at home and care for their family. Men have been looked upon as bread-earning members who are served by their female counterparts. In a patriarchal society, women were denied their rights to education and to work because “that’s not their job” or “that’s a male thing to do”.
We’ve come far from the past, where women were not given the choice to speak. However, our target of gender equality is still far away.
From the establishment of women’s right to vote to reservations for women in several parliaments, we have done a lot to empower women; to elevate them to a position men have enjoyed from the formation of society. We have seen progress too. Women are “emerging”, they are receiving education and they are getting jobs. We have done our bit in the legal aspect by formulating new laws to eradicate gender inequality and making necessary changes to constitutions. We still need equal pay for both woman and man. However, the change we need the most is the change in our mindsets.
By gender equality, I mean the freedom for both men and women to choose what they want to do, without people bickering at them for being a man or a woman. We need to diminish the whole idea of gender roles. We all are human and a divide based on biological parts is superfluous.
Even though women empowerment is a victim of a lot of brouhaha now, I know for a fact that people still tend to distinguish between men and women, intentionally or unintentionally. If I tell anyone I want to be an engineer, the first thing I would get from most people is, “But you’re a girl”. I remember wearing a cap in school once and there were these 4 year olds who laughed at me, because apparently wearing hats is a boy thing, which is ridiculous. The whole idea of a boy paying at dinner is a silly concept in itself. I think girls are independent enough to pay for their own meals. It was okay for men to pay for their partners a few decades ago, but it’s certainly not alright now, it’s a gender construct in itself, why should girls depend on anyone?
We need to obliterate the entire idea of how only girls play with barbies or only boys watch action films and the idea of how men do not cry because they sure do; the whole idea of how men are stronger than women must be eradicated(we do not live in an era where physical strength matters, what do we have machines for). We need to work on the social front and the only possible way to do so would be to inculcate values in children.
I’m maverick, I choose to defy the if’s and but’s of society. I choose to fight against every gender construct or gender bias that is prevalent. You have a choice too- whether you want to remain a society’s pet or join hands with me.
(Image credit: http://sauj4.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/feminism-gender-stereotypes.jpg)