People often fail to see men and women as humans. We forget that we are all made of the same blood and flesh, regardless of our gender or sex, sexual orientation, caste, and color. There are some special obstacles and experiences that come with being a liberal woman in today’s world. Liberal Women today have more power than they used to but some men still haven’t accepted the change in a Liberal woman’s power positions. Some still find it difficult to accept women as their equals.
Let’s take a look at the few places where the cards are still stacked against liberal women (albeit in a different way than they used to be) even in modern times.
Opinions of Liberal Women
All individuals deserve to have an opinion and express it. Regardless of whether the opinion is supporting the existing power structures or is against it. I have as much as a right to say “ I hate Narendra Modi” or “Men are mean” as a man may have the right to say “I hate Rahul Gandhi” or “Women are mean”.
Yet, more often than not the persecution faced by liberal women for their opinions is much worse, specially when they are punching up or are against the existing power structure. People tend to not argue with women on the basis of the merit of the argument, or on the basis of ideology.
We’ve all seen it multiple times, regardless of the validity of a woman’s opinion or an argument she’s put down by others. Sometimes it’s the small things such as people questioning a woman’s intelligence just because they don’t agree with their opinions. The worse is the death and rape threats dolled out not only to the woman whose opinion is in question but also their family members.
Discrimination Of Liberal Women
Discrimination on the basis of gender has been a part of our social systems since before India became India. However, in the past 10 years, our country’s judicial and legislative system has worked in tandem to ensure that women aren’t discriminated against in the workplace.
Yet, women find it difficult to get employed at higher executive level jobs. Those women who do get employed are faced with their own set of difficulties. The issue at hand is that some men tend to get intimidated by women who can hold their own in a room full of men.
What do they fear? They fear watching women exceed their(men’s) limited expectations of them(women).
Why do they fear that? Because they expect women to sit at home and rear children, they can’t imagine a world wherein women are as capable as them.
In the words of my dear friend, Rounak Chaki who says, “They do not understand equality because they have never really practiced it. They fear equality simply because they do not understand it. They tend to think that equality would mean women subjugating and oppressing men the way they have oppressed women all these years.”
They fear to watch the women that they expect to sit at home and rear the children while cooking and serving their men to exceed their ideas of what a woman can/should do.
Dealing with Gender Stereotypes
Gender Stereotypes are set by society for both men and women. A man is simply expected to be the bread earner, as long as he does that, one doesn’t expect much from him. He is free to do as he pleases before and after work hours; no one ever questions him. Fortunately, this is changing slowly, one can only hope that it gets better. However, women are expected to do a lot more. Women must cook, run the house and rear the children.
If a woman chooses to work, then she’s held to a higher standard than men. She must not only do well at work, but she must also succeed in her responsibilities within the household. At the end of the day, she’s not left with any time or even emotional/physical strength to pursue any other activities.
Men used to have the liberty to come home at the end of the day and refuse to do anything, now with women working as well, they can’t do that anymore. Because, women work at their jobs all day long, then come home and tend to the household, cooking as well as the children (if any). This forced men to pitch in more than they had to when women were confined to the kitchen.
While one would like to believe that the world is getting better for women, and it might be, there’s still just one too many obstacles faced by women. The patriarchy is so deeply ingrained in our society that the fight for women’s rights will probably be a never ending one. The unfortunate fact of the matter is; men aren’t the only ones to be blamed for the difficulties faced by women today. Patriarchy has been a prevalent social practice for so long that women have internalized patriarchy and are propagating patriarchal culture without knowing.