I’ve been confronted lately with a lot of stories of friends telling me their latest trouble about men patronising them, and it got me thinking: What makes it ok for some men to give women advice they didn’t ask for, therapy they did not need? What makes it ok for them to judge a woman’s choice when they’re not even concerned by that choice, what makes them think it’s ok to think for them, feel for them, decide for them?
From the boyfriend who belittles the woman who wants to break up with him, making soothing noises and talking to her in a slow voice as if she was some nutter escaped from the lunatic asylum, like he was saying to her that no woman in her right mind would EVER DREAM of leaving him (“it’s ok dear, you’re tired, you’re not thinking straight , I’ll give you space, a spa treatment maybe?” while the woman’s insides are screaming “I.Don’t.Want.To.See.You.Again.You.Are.So.Boring.I’d.Rather.Chop.My.Own.Hand), to the “concerned colleague” who lets himself lightly judge the private life of a woman’s colleague (“I know it’s none of my business (so shut the fuck up), but really doing this and that is really unprofessional”), via the pretend political analyst who considers a young woman unworthy of political representation “because she should first go and makes something useful with her life, like getting married and having kids” (true story), it seems that women have to bear the guilt of wanting more than an unsastifying relationship, a safe and professional environment or a proper political career, or any career for that matters.
What really irates me is that, should the roles be reversed, it would be a COMPLETELY different story. Let’s focus on the guy being dumped. Should a man leave a woman, woe betides she who calls again, or sends another message, or shows that she has not gotten the message. While women might feel guilty over an ex-boyfriend clinging on to them, men will have their ego boosted and will probably identify the girlfriend as a clingy insecure poor sould who just did not get the message and who should get a life or he’ll get a restraining order. Any private shift in a man’s life is not frowned upon in the workplace, on the contrary, the more the one night stands, the better. As of political representation, funny how a young man screams “bright young man with the world spreading before his eyes” and how a young woman seems to scream “Biological clock ticking, run, run for your lives! she’ll make a mess of the Party!”.
Now, enough with the complaining/rambling, as we’re not going to change millenia of gender inequality by complaining endlessly. What we CAN do though is to take a stand. Take a stand against discrimination against women, and not be afraid of initiating change rather than sit in our corner and agonise over things. Women have to be and feel empowered enough to stand up to a rude colleague or an abusive boss, to embrace their private life choices, and challenge prejudice and misconceptions. In order to get there, education is the key, but also awareness raising about these issues, which most of the times go unnoticed as they’re accepted as the norm.
Sisters, the Knight in Shining Armour won’t come. WE will have to save and care for own selves, and not be afraid to say: today, I am a Woman, I represent half of humanity, I work, I tend to kids, I bear men, my body is a battlefield, I’m considered a second class citizen. BUT I AM HERE, and I won’t let myself be put down.
Women of the World Unite!