I think, therefore I write

Tag: Equality

WhatsApp and Sexism

Of all the evils that WhatsApp represents, sexism is the one that I resent most often. Although I am not an active user, I am (unavoidably) a member of a lot of WhatsApp groups – Family groups, work groups, friends’ groups.. you get it. There is one thing that stands out as a common factor in all the groups, no matter what the group is or who the members are – the never-ending sexist jokes on women, marriage, and how men are victims of these two factors. I experience a lot of reactions to these jokes that range from ignoring them for the sake of keeping my peace to getting into arguments with people who forward these jokes.

Note how I emphasize on the action of forwarding these messages. It is typical of any social media user to think that forwarding/sharing/liking a message does not transfer any onus to them about the message. In my opinion, “Forwarded as received” is the most outrageous phrase that exhibits a total disregard for your friends, family, and other contacts. These memes or messages are created based on the responses they gather. The more they are forwarded, the more they are created. So there is an implicit responsibility in forwarding or liking these messages even if you don’t create them.

The ultimate defense when someone raises an issue, is always – It is just a joke, why are you being so sensitive?, be a sport, and the like. If the argument goes beyond a threshold, they turn it around on you and mention that perhaps you shouldn’t be on social media if you cannot take it lightly. They think they can escape with the lame I-just-forwarded-it excuse.

I am astounded by the fact that none of these people stop to think that they are actually showing their support or their preference for these messages by forwarding it. It is not about taking a joke. It is about taking a stand. As a set of generations who experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly of social media first-hand, is this the message we want to pass to our next generation? Let’s think for a minute – our kids read such information and consider this bias as normal. Our daughters will think that it is normal for them to be made out to be a joke. Our sons will think that it is not wrong to repeatedly make jokes at someone’s expense, even if the underlying message is not true. What hope is there for a better world if our kids see this as the reality? As a parent, wouldn’t you cringe inside if your son-in-law or someone in his family makes a joke out of your daughter? How can we expect younger generations to believe in the concept of marriage or take it seriously after we have repeatedly joked about it?

Do the men who forward such messages really have such women in their life ? Do the women who endorse these messages (apparently for fun) really behave this way and do they not wish the men in their lives were more attuned to their feelings? And then there are people who remain silent because the sender is either your boss, a close friend, or a family member. How can we aspire for equality when we groom our attitude with such daily doses of biased humor? How can we claim to be educated when our education isn’t helping us identify the stand we are taking? How can we claim to be sophisticated when it isn’t stopping us from endorsing a wrong message, however implicitly?

In the end, unlike most of us think, this doesn’t boil down to men vs. women. It boils down to people vs. prejudice. It boils down to taking responsibility for the information we share with our contacts who trusted us with their contact number and time. Do we have the guts to do that?

Until later 🙂

Setting things right

I want to set certain things right. In my own terms. This is not a topic that’s unheard of or unwritten of. Yet, even the most civilized of the lot make the same mistake time and again and that pisses me off.

I am a feminist. And there comes the question, define feminism. Let me put it in a way that everyone would understand and hope (I’m an optimist) that people would get it.

The first line on Wiki’s page about it is: “Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women.” Do we see the word equal? Do we understand what it means? Then why is Feminism considered a taboo? Why are feminists being looked at as if they are aliens invading the planet and exclaimed at as “Ooh! You are a feminist!” with that sarcastic tinge in the tone?

I like it when a guy walking before me allows me to go forward as I am in a hurry because he doesn’t want to be a hindrance to another person irrespective of the gender. Not because I am a woman.

I like it when a guy gives a lady his seat in the bus not because she is a woman but because she is pregnant or carrying her baby in one arm and struggling to keep her feet planted.

I like it when a man stands up for a woman to protect her when she is helpless because she is also a human. Irrespective of gender, the helpless should be protected. Again not because of the gender but because that’s what a decent human being would and should do for another human being.

I like it when a man helps his wife in household chores because there is no work label associated with the gender. We eat irrespective of the gender right? Or do you not eat because you are a man? So why not do the dishes too?

I like it when a man refrains from making cheap gender based jokes because jokes should never be at the cost of someone’s feelings. It holds the same for jokes made on guys too.

Image Source: plus.google.com

That is feminism for you. Feminism arose because the natural equality that should be present for any human being started getting skewed. If all of us had extended that courtesy of being sensible and unbiased, there would have been no need for feminism. Society and biased people are the reasons & root causes for feminism. When you see someone and judge them based on their gender or when you try to label a person based on gender, you create the unbalance and hence the need for feminism.If you don’t like feminism and terms alike, stop being skewed and biased.

So next time before you judge a feminist, rethink what she/he stands for. He/she stands for equality not for chauvinism of any gender. A feminist stands up to maintain that balance which the others chose to ignore. A feminist thinks about the human being and not about the gender. So I will proudly say again, I am a feminist! Are you?

Until later 🙂