2 June 2016

10 Examples of Patriarchy We've Succumbed To!

Being born in the typical Indian society- let's face it- entails facing certain challenges, perhaps at a rate higher than many others. So what is the hardest challenge to face? It might be safe to say that, that enemy is the deadliest about whose existence we are not aware in the first place. In recent times the evils of patriarchy have come to the forefront but there continue to be malpractices that we succumb to without even realizing it.

1. When we are asking for equality for men and women and asking each sex to stand up for the other, it should be a given that each sex will stand up for their OWN sex in the first place. Women rampantly engage in slut-shaming other women. Short clothes, "too much" makeup, sexual habits- all of these will often sign you up to be slut-shamed, by certain people of both genders, but it is especially disheartening when your own gender readily engages in it too.

2. Slut-shaming itself. Shaming of prostitutes. Shaming of anyone with multiple sexual partners. Patriarchy asks for it to be everybody's business what goes on in an individual's life, bedroom AND their own body.

3. The entire concept of the "friendzone". So if you are nice to a woman, she owes you sex. She owes you attraction. She owes you an entire relationship. Not like being nice to everyone should be kind of a natural thing not designed to yield you certain results, right?

4. Women aren't the only victims of patriarchy. So is EVERYONE else. Even children. According to patriarchal norms- Men cannot cry. Men don't wear pink. It's weak to show emotions. It's weak to ask for help. It's shameful to love too much. These are things only women can do and hence are inferior qualities.

5. The same qualities being considered virtues for men and vices for women. If a man is opinionated and stubborn, it is attractive. If both of those things occur in inexcusable amounts, they are excusable. If a woman is opinionated and stubborn, she is simply selfish, inconsiderate, intolerant.

6. Patriarchy decides for you what is masculine and what is feminine. These are watertight compartments and there is no space for anyone positioned anywhere in between the two ends of the spectrum. What's more, the very existence of those positions is not acknowledged. Gender fluidity is only beginning to be considered a thing.

7. What patriarchy decides to be masculine is the only way men should be. In such a society, being gay signs you up for violence, ridicule and hatred. Because being kind of a polite and sensitive and in general a nice guy is "just so gay", right? "Lol, faggot" is still a thing.

8. Girls cutting their hair short, dressing up in unconventional ways, being good-looking and not having a boyfriend, will invariably be asked "What are you- lesbian?" The statement is not only meant as an insult, but also your external characteristics are enough for you to be branded to be of a certain sexuality.

9. Friendships are looser because a man showing friendly love for another man is gay, and hence a bad thing. The same applies to women. In general, emotions are "feminine" and hence a bad thing. We have become a generation fast losing touch with our inner selves and spiralling into a love of and obsession with materialism because human connection is no longer important. There is always, ALWAYS someone a group will sit and "bitch" about. A toxic, petty kind of hatred is scarily making way into all social groups.

10. Patriarchy negates the entire concept of choice. Individuality and non-conformism are evils. It asks for all of mankind to be arranged in predecided and organized rules with no rise and no fall. It asks for society to be stagnant and remain the same through millenia. Patriarchy leaves no space for diversity. What happens then, when there is no growth, no development, no change? That's right- you die.

What is more disturbing than all these habits themselves, is that even well-meaning people unknowingly fall prey to them. Can YOU say truthfully that you have not, for once, consciously or unconsciously, engaged in any of the above? The next time you call someone a "fag", a "chakka", a "slut"- or ask someone to "grow some balls" or criticize someone's clothes or tell a boy "Ew, you're such a girl" or tell a girl "That's terribly unladylike", beware. You might just be the newest victim of the rooted evil that lurks everywhere.

Shaoni S.

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