The sacrificial mother, the doting wife, and the perfect daughter are often what society wants women to be and the rule is that women must accept these set gender roles as their own and those who dare to step outside these whether overt or covert are treated with disdain. From the developed world to the developing world, few women are treated with the same respect as men when they choose a career in politics, for example, or, aspire towards a STEM career. Women are people too if some need reminding, they also deserve respect because they are fellow human beings, not because they serve the purpose of being a wife, mother or daughter. It’s high time women are called women, rather than calling them by all the roles that they fulfill.
“We are called women and the situation has nothing to do with our relationship to you”
Women are often seen as useful only because they are someone’s mother, another’s wife and this man’s daughter and this one’s sister, what can only be called as social conditioning is stemming from a severely gendered society. If you think that these issues only persist in countries like India, think again. When Trump’s comments against women in 2005 made headlines recently in the US and all over the world, male leaders in the political world condoned it, however on behalf of their “wives and daughters”, not on behalf of all women, interestingly. Twitter, as usual, was quick to comment on this and one user said, “Stop. saying. our wives and daughters. women. we are called women and the situation has nothing to do with our relationship to you”, while another wrote, “We need to respect women’s autonomy and value their safety, gents, even if we don’t have daughters. Or sisters. Or no longer have mothers.” Women don’t see men as fathers, husbands, and sons, but just men, so why can’t this perception also come from men because it’s as if women can only be valued if they are filling a gendered role.
Men go out to hunt and women cook food and look after the children
Since time immemorial, women have been perceived with respect to their relationship to men and this begins from the moment they are born. “The gendering that starts as soon as they are born, gives them a title of “nurturers” and their gender roles are defined accordingly. So the man goes out to hunt, and the women take care of his food and children. The identity of a woman is thus, seen to be attached to other people dependent on them. And here, starts the stereotyping!
Is the family the seat of inequality in the world?
The family is often considered to be the seat of inequality,” says WomensWeb. On one hand, boys are treated with far greater respect in an Indian home and have more freedom than Indian daughters and oftentimes, the family is a mirror of society. “So, women who adhere to the stereotypes of good mothers, sisters, wives, etc. are considered to be deserving of the respect of the society, but those that do not fit into these categories, are often looked upon with doubt and treated with disrespect. This leads to assaults, abuse, and violation of rights,” says engineer and writer, Aindrila Chaudhuri and nothing is truer than this.
Image credit: Kiddos Magazine