“Sexism has never rendered women powerless. It has either suppressed their strengths or exploited it.”- Bell Hooks. Sexism is a social disease. It has been prevailing in the society since ages. No one exactly knows how sexism came into existence, what are the roots of it. But it’s a disease which has spread like a virus and the antidote is yet to be found. There is no specified age for when sexism starts or ends, it’s there even before a person is born and exists even after a person’s death. Almost every woman has faced sexism. From being the target of lewd comments to facing certain biases in family or work in favor of the brother or male-colleague. Sexism happens every day and everywhere: at home, at work, in sports or in the government. Sexism maybe intentional or unintentional. The real argument isn’t how sexism came into existence, it is how even after the society has become so modern and people are changing themselves, their ideas, beliefs, it’s no more a male- dominating society but still women are being judged, compared and each and every time they have to prove themselves why they are worth it.
In childhood, it is assumed that girls prefer the color pink and boys blue. Girls likes to play with barbie dolls and kitchen sets while boys like to play with cars, planes, etc. This is how a child learns sexism, unknowingly. They form this mindset that this thing is for girls and this is for boys. A girl is expected to like all “girlish” things while boys all “boyish” things, there is even no need to explain what one means by “girlish” and “boyish” things because its self-explanatory. When a boy does something inappropriate, it’s said, “boys will be boys” and is then taken as a laughable instance, they are not required to take the same responsibility for their actions which a girl is expected to. But when a girl does something inappropriate or unladylike she is scolded and is frowned upon. There is a saying usually said to girls when they do something wrong, “it’s a good thing you are pretty” implying that the girl should be either pretty or smart. Because if not smart, at least their looks will be beneficial for them. These all references are not of old times, they still occur. Parents may say that they do not discriminate between their son and daughter, they are provided with the same opportunities, and are shown the same level of love and appreciation and in many cases, it is true but whatever the case maybe, at least in the Indian society parents do treat their kids differently, intentionally or unintentionally. For instance, when a boy gets a girlfriend, he is teased and laughed upon. It’s taken as normal and something which every boy does, and parents usually do not have an issue with their son dating someone and even the society laughs on it and accepts it. But when it comes to the girl, it is not easy. Parents worry about how the guy is, whether he is right or not, will he keep their daughter happy or not and especially what everyone will think if they find out. How people are going to judge their daughter and that it might ruin their daughter’s image. Parents are always way more protective for their daughters than sons because they have this view that sons can take care of themselves but daughters they need to be taken care of. Parents do not do this knowingly or with an intent to differentiate between their kids, this is done because this comes natural to them and they don’t find anything wrong in it. This is one of the main examples of sexism done without any intention of ill-will.
The concept of marriage is also very sexist. After a woman attains a certain age she is bombarded with questions from the family, society about when she is going to get married irrespective of the fact how successful she is. Success definitely matters for a woman, but she is not considered successful until and unless she is married and has a family of her own. She is considered to be incomplete. Questions are raised on her character; various assumptions are made. In the book ‘One Indian Girl’ by Chetan Bhagat, the girl Radhika is successful and earns very well and that makes her parents very proud of her, but it worries them too, they are worried about how hard it is going to be to find a guy more successful than her for marriage because as per the society standards the husband earns more than the wife, and it is frowned upon when it is the other way around. So even when a woman becomes successful, shows her worth yet she is expected to earn less than the husband cause of the view that husbands earn more. Though this view is getting changed day by day, society is slowly accepting that wives can be more successful than husband and a woman doesn’t need a man to be complete. There are still many ‘small things’ which work in the background and we overlook them, but they need to be changed to completely get rid of the virus of sexism. Have you ever seen, whenever a male and a female go out for a meal in a restaurant, the waiter always brings the bill in front of the male? There is a possibility that in that couple the female is the bread-winner at home and the male earns nothing or maybe both of them are economically stable and can pay but still only the male is expected to do so. Even in the case of friends, a male and a female who would be splitting the bill, it is always expected that the male counterpart will be clearing it. The waiter is oblivious to the economic backgrounds of the two individuals but still almost always brings the bill to the male. Moreover, the male thinks of it as a duty that he must fulfil because he is a man. This is rather a commonplace example illustrating sexism in society and how individuals give into it without even questioning it. It is neither the waiter’s fault for presenting the man with the bill nor the man’s fault for thinking of it as his duty. It’s so commonplace that it feels right in our society.
The society is changing, their mindset is changing. Woman and man are fighting against sexism and trying to finish it. Woman are not leaving any stone unturned to show that they are not weak and they can achieve anything they want alone and be content within themselves. But still the society has double standards when it comes to marriage or work. A married woman’s job is considered to be a part-time job, household and motherhood is still considered to be their actual job by many people. It’s not confirm whether sexism will completely end or not but for sure it’s going to take a lot of time for everyone to change their views and adhere to them, not only knowingly but unknowingly also. Then only in true sense the society will get rid of this social disease called Sexism.