Because I don’t need pink underwear to prove my worth …

 

I checked my phone it was well past 12 am. As I decided to switch off my phone for good and go off to sleep a message popped up wishing me Happy Women’s Day. It was a promotional marketing message by a new age bra brand telling me to reclaim my space and buy their new Lacey lingerie. What an oxymoron. I don’t need pink under wear to prove my worth.

This may sound like a rant and brace yourself for it because it is one. I am pretty much done with this everyday sexism shoved upon us. Sometimes it’s so subtle and it has such a gentle under tone that women often consider this as normal and healthy. I have often found myself confused if I should take offence or not because taking offence and showing disagreement over something is so not women like.

At our office pantry when I was discussing my workout schedule a male colleague said ‘Tumhari shadi ho gayi hai ab kya wazan kam karna’ Well in my head I wanted to tell him to shut up and I wanted to tell him that people like you put undue pressure on women to lose weight to get married because all that she wants in life is to find a man. You get a guy and you are sorted for life. No more workout. Eat and get fat. I did not say anything because this was a joke. A casual remark. I don’t blame him for this. He is one of us who grew up listening to this. I hope you guys kinda understand if I had objected him on this remark I would have looked like a ‘mad woman’ the ones you called psycho.

Imagine joining back work after your maternity leave and almost everyday you bump into someone who asks you about the baby and is very curious to know where the baby is while you are at work. I mean yeah the baby is in the locker and I am here at work. What do you want me to say! Most of the colleagues did ask this out of concern but when I asked my husband if he is also subjected to these questions everyday at his workplace I got a very obvious response. No one ever asked him this because he is a father after all. Fathers are never expected to be primary caregivers. I am still asked by some of my relatives that how do I manage getting my kid ready before leaving for work. I mostly don’t engage with them because there is always a subtle undertone that I am neglecting my child but when I tell them that my husband does most of the bathing and changing work they react in the most strangest ways. Like it’s the most adorable and cutest thing they have ever heard. Mothers going about doing these chores is so normal but when a father does it he immediately becomes a super father.

Everyday sexism is not about Chikni Chameli and Yo Yo’s ‘chhoti skirt’ lyrics. It’s very subtle and it comes disguised in the form of some very regular conversations. Do you ever walk up to a man and tell him ‘yar tune kabse waxing nahi karayi’ or do you ever tell a male colleague that he has too many pimples on his face and he should try the new clean and clear. I have never ever come across a single man who was asked if he is going to change his name after getting married. Women have to constantly reinstate why they choose not to change their surnames. Almost every mother on the face of this earth has coaxed her son who is living away from home to get married because the wife will come and cook for him.

Sexism is very often driven by the female gender itself. A couple of days ago when I called a friend asking her to suggest me a Chartered accountant she went gaga about a person who is doing her taxes for many years. I instantly asked her to give me ‘his’ number and name . She replied that ‘her’ name is Shreya.

This is how all of us have assumed roles for men and women in our heads. Women are not good at maths and technology is stated so many times at homes that I have often seen people reasoning it out like it’s a scientific fact. Professions and gender are so badly intertwined and that’s why you will always find a disparity in growth charts of men and women at workplace. The constant reminders about our body and skin colour and the importance of attracting our husband and boyfriends all the damn time has been made to look like a full time agenda for the female sex in all the TVC’s. This is one of the ugly faces of sexism and some big brands thrive on it.

Making a woman believe that decorating her undergarments with lace is the best thing to do is also sexism. They should advertise for some pink glittery lacey briefs for men too because I don’t need pink underwear to prove my worth.

Disclaimer : The views expressed are purely that of the author and not the blog platform.

 

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3 Comments

  1. C.Pallavi Rao Narvekar on March 8, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Very very well said Saima.
    Everyday sexism.
    From questions like where is your husband taking you for the next holiday to what pc of jewellery he bought for you. This to a woman who is fiercely financially independent.
    And you are so right when you say women themselves undermine themselves in so many ways.
    If the child needs more attention from a parent at home then it obviously will be the women giving up her job even if it be more paying than the hubby.
    Getting married and shifting homes or cities will mostly are the woman tagging along with the spouse!
    Well written.
    Write more.

    • Saima on March 8, 2017 at 11:29 pm

      So aptly pointed out. People have asked Asif infinite times why he moved back to India to get married. They were puzzled, surprised, curious and thought he was crazy. There was always a very condescending tone. Would they do this If I had moved with him? Never.

  2. Saima on March 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Absolutely right Kirti. Men are either made superheroes or looked in very poor light if they follow the wife. Women on the other hand are considered to be harsh and cruel if they expect the man to relocate

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