8 Sexist Remarks Indian Women Are Sick of Hearing

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It is the 21st century now, the year 2020 and we are steadfastly moving towards a progressive society that equals men and women. Well, in theory at least. Unfortunately, it won't be a stretch to say that even now, the majority of the people in India possess a deeply sexist, patriarchal and astronomically dumb mindset that somehow believes that women should not be fighting for and demanding equal rights, something that shouldn't even be up for debate. The number of times a woman has heard insensitive, misogynistic and unnecessary remarks directed at her throughout her life, whether it be at the workplace or home or in general day-to-day life, are countless.

It's an everyday battle for women to combat these offensive and gender-stereotypical jokes that deem the female gender less than, so much so that we are now attuned to the stark and blatant sexism we're subjected to. This article will list down only a handful of the sexist taunts thrown at women's faces that we are tired of hearing.

1. “As a female, you should know how to cook. Who will cook for your husband? In fact, who will marry you if you don’t learn to cook?”

Let me get this straight, once and for all. Necessary life skills like cooking are not gender roles. Every adult, regardless of gender, should know how to cook, as it is an essential skill one needs to fend for oneself. A woman doesn’t need and shouldn’t be expected to cook for her significant other, just like a man isn’t expected to either. As functioning adults, it’s no one’s responsibility but your own.  

2. “Career is just a hobby for a woman. The important question is when are you getting married?”

No, the important question is why does society feel so threatened by career-driven and passionate women? No one bats an eye if the same is true for a man. A woman, just like any human being, is entitled to make her own choices and doesn’t need to be questioned for them at every step in her life. Whether she prioritizes her career or her personal life, it is none of anybody’s business but her own. A woman has the same rights as the opposite gender to focus on her career and definitely doesn’t need a man to ‘complete’ her life.

3. “You’re pretty smart/ cool/ funny for a girl.” 

Wow, and you’re pretty dumb for a human being. It’s unironically moronic how in this day and age, men still get fascinated by women who are smart. Character traits like intelligence or humour are not confined to a particular gender. If you think that being a woman automatically rules out the possibility of being funny or smart, then the only one that’s not funny or smart here is you. Patronizing women is not a compliment and no gender is superior to another.

4. “Talk softly, smile and be more ladylike.”

Women don’t exist just to please men and live up to the standards of modesty deemed fit by society. A woman needs not to conform to stereotypical ideals of femininity and be docile and agreeable in order to be treated fairly and equally as her male counterparts. Stop instructing and cajoling women to smile, a woman does not need to be nice or ‘ladylike’ because you think it is your place to regulate her behaviour, no thank you.

5.“It’s so easy for you women to get a promotion. All you gotta do is flirt a little.”

Absolutely correct. Talent, knowledge and hard work have no role in the success of a woman. She only has to look pretty and frolic around in the office all day. There’s no need to put in time and effort into anything because oh well, a woman’s worth is decided by what she looks like. 

If your misogynistic, small brain feels salty that a woman got promoted instead of you, it’s probably because she is more intelligent and competent than you. So instead of insulting her success and demeaning her efforts, put in some extra work yourself so that you’re worthy enough for that promotion.

6.“She’ll wear clothes like that and then complain about how it isn’t safe in India.”

Well if it isn’t the classic victim-blaming. Because obviously, it is the responsibility of a woman to not get sexually assaulted and not the fault of the perpetrator that harasses her. 

It’s disturbing how the notion that a man can’t control his urges, and instead women should dress carefully, is validated by society. No, a woman is not asking for it if she wears short clothes or expresses herself. It is her choice and she is entitled to wear whatever her heart desires. Instead of trying to reign women, teach men how to respect women instead. 

7. “Oh my god, learn to laugh. It was just a joke okay?”

Perhaps this is the worst of them all, as this is the beginning and the end of almost every sexist joke thrown at a woman. The blatant sexism masquerading as ‘just a joke’ is not funny in the least, it’s offensive and dumb. Did you ever stop to consider that maybe a woman didn’t laugh at your stupid joke filled with chauvinistic humour because, let’s see, it wasn’t funny to begin with?  

8. “I think men and women should have equal rights, but these feminist types are ruining everything.”

I don’t think you’re familiar with the concept of feminism, you educated illiterate. Feminism advocates for equality of the two sexes. It does not in any way, shape or form, suggests that women are superior to men, it fights for women’s rights and, instead advocates against the age-old patriarchal mindset that the male gender is superior to the female gender. So, I’ll take the liberty to break it to you, but by believing in equal rights for both genders, you are also a feminist. By being a feminist, a woman fights against all these unsolicited questions comments directed at her about her choices and her life.

Women have been suffering by the hands of patriarchy for way too long, there is no end to the judgement a woman is subjected to no matter what she does. On the bright side, times are changing and more people are calling out gender bias, but we still have a long way to go. It’s high time that we fight against the misogynistic worldview women are painted in, and calling out casual sexism whenever you see it is a part of it. So, the next time you hear someone holler any of these sexist remarks at you or any other woman, call them out.

Written By - Radhika Rathi

Edited by - Vaibhav Sharma


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