(Especially in the Asian sub-continent – MIL’s to DIL’s, Mother’s to daughters, Friends to/about friends, Female teachers to female students, All women to/about female strangers)
Haven’t we all heard how women are women’s BIGGEST enemies? Don’t we all know this to be true in some context or the other in our own lives? Have we not heard public figures, all women, judging and condemning other women in society?
Most of us feel ashamed and angered when instead of forming a sisterhood and taking up for each other many women in our society play the blame game and side with a kind of negative reasoning that brings all of us women down.
Sometimes, we ourselves are guilty of uttering these thoughts – maybe to someone in our own family or about a perfect stranger whose life or circumstances we know nothing about.
Here are the sentences we should avoid saying to and about other women at all cost.
- Don’t go out in the sun. You will become dark.
- Why do you want to study further?
- When will you get married? Why don’t you want to get married now?
- Why do you want to work? Your husband has a good job.
- Raped? At 1.30 in the night? What was she doing out at that time?
- Molested? She must have asked for it. Have you seen the way she dresses?
- Why are you talking to the boys in your class? You are here to study not to attract them. You’re a girl. Behave like one.
- He’s a guy. She should understand that he can’t control his sexual appetite.
- You have guys working under you? Treat them with respect. Remember you are a female.
- Look at how fat she is. Look at how thin she is. Look at how dark she is. Look at how short she is. Look at how tall she is. (Look at how perfect YOU are.)
- You have no children? Have you seen a doctor?
- Is this your child? He’s a little short for his age isn’t he?
- What time does your husband come home? So late? Are you sure he is in his office?
- He’s your father. He can hit you. He’s your brother. He can hit you. He’s your husband. He can hit you.
- Oh, you don’t have a career? What do you do at home the whole day?
- You travel alone? Isn’t that dangerous? Does your husband approve?
- She smokes and drinks. Her character must be questionable.
- She’s a successful career woman and earns a lot of money. Her husband must feel so neglected.
- You allow your husband to help with the cooking and housework? Don’t you have any shame?
- You’re married now. This is not your home anymore.
Every woman in this world is beautiful, regardless of whether she is dark or fair, thin or fat, short or tall, no matter what economic strata she belongs to, what religion or what her age or education level is.
She deserves respect and no person can respect her as much as another woman. Especially another woman who lives in the same continent as her and who understands the challenges of being a woman in a patriarchal restrictive society.
Instead of standing against her, every woman should stand with her and form a sisterhood of support, empathy, understanding and mutual respect.
Only then can we fight against a system that belittles and exploits us as women. Together we become empowered and a force to reckon with.