Final

Break the barriers, change the mindset.

‘’You have to be home by 7 pm.’’
‘’Are you going to stop working after having a child?’’
‘’How can you leave your family behind and go on a vacation?’’

Are these statements ringing any bells? Well, these are some dialogues that women hear from people on a regular basis. Similarly, there are other common misconceptions about women that we have encountered since our childhood. Nobody educated us about its effects back then because it was considered the right way to be.

On the same note, we agree that men are also stereotyped, which is not right on many levels.

While some stereotyping can be positive, mostly it is damaging and harmful. We unknowingly categorize women and restrict their abilities. Even though times are now changing, this is an awareness post to avoid and break the stereotyping.

Behavior

“Don’t raise your voice. You’re a woman, not a man.”
“Why do you laugh so loudly? It doesn’t suit you.”

There have been many arguments and preconceived notions on how a woman must behave. Whether it’s in the home, or at the office, or at a public gathering, a woman is judged based on her behavior.
Women are expected to eat, laugh, sit, talk, in a certain way. If done otherwise, it is considered inappropriate. People often expect women to be graceful, emotional, and naive. Assertive women are deemed to be rude.

We believe that every human being has their way of doing things, and as a community, we must not be judgemental. Don’t you think so?

Appearance

“Women look good only when they have long hair.”
“Dress according to your body.”

It’s okay for women to have a crew cut. It’s okay for them to wear jeans and sneakers. But it’s NOT okay to label them as a tomboy.
There’s an old saying in Kannada that goes – ‘Oota tanna icche, nota parara icche’.
Translation: Eat as you wish, wear as others wish.
But we think women should go with their instincts while dressing and grooming, rather than being conscious about other people’s perceptions.

Also, back in the day, women were expected to be slim and fair. Healthier women and women of darker complexions were looked down upon. People still follow this practice in most parts of the world.
Do we realize how much mental and physical pressure women have to go through to meet societal expectations? The real question is, why should they?
Gladly, this thought is fading away, as women have started to firmly stand against body shaming and other appearance stereotypes.

Working women

“We think Bob can handle this responsibility better.”
“You have a kid. How will you give 100% attention to work?”

Well, this is a known ongoing struggle. Earlier, lesser families encouraged their women to go to work. People believed that only men could be the breadwinners of the family, and women were meant to stay at home. Women were not given wings to fly. But today, you find working women in all walks of life. Many women share equal responsibility in finances.
Unfortunately, this equation changes rapidly when women get married or have a kid. Some companies refuse to hire mothers, assuming they cannot provide undivided attention to their job.

But time and again, women have proven themselves by maintaining equilibrium at home and at work. Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, made history when she brought her infant to a meeting in New York. The world applauded her for breaking the norms! Isn’t this proof enough of women’s multitasking capabilities? We think it is.

Job roles

“Women cannot be good managers.”
“You’re a sportswoman? How does that work?”

Just because women have started working, it doesn’t mean they have it all. Society is quick to limit their career choices. A woman is appreciated when she is a teacher or a nurse, but questioned when she is a pilot, scientist, or soldier.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the powerful trio – Margaret Thatcher (United Kingdom), Indira Gandhi (India), and Golda Meir (Isreal) were reigning the world as prime ministers. They were called the ‘iron-willed women’.
Recently, NASA’s perseverance rover landed on Mars. It will blow your mind when we say it was Dr. Swathi Mohan, an Aeronautical Scientist, who led this mission and came out with flying colors.
We are also seeing women like Kamala Harris and Serena Williams inspiring us with their achievements.

All we’re trying to say is, by questioning their abilities, we are attacking their self-esteem. Why don’t we just sit back and watch what they can do? After all, the profession of an individual depends on their skills and caliber, and not on their gender.

Having opinions

“You’re too opinionated for a woman.”
“Only the men of the house take decisions.”

Do you remember the era when women used to bow their heads and not make eye contact? They called it giving respect. As bizarre as it sounds, it is the truth.
According to society, when she is not allowed to raise her head, she definitely cannot have an opinion. And if she does, she is labeled a feminist.

Let us simplify a few thoughts about opinionated women:

  • They are not interfering, they just want to help.
  • They are not dominating, they’re just capable of making decisions.
  • They don’t mean to offend, it’s just their beliefs.

However, because of the rise of social media, women now have a platform to be vocal and support other opinionated women.

In conclusion, we would like to say – set her free, let her fly. She will make you proud. We have to make peace with the fact that women can.

Yes, I am wise, but it’s wisdom born of pain,
Yes, I’ve paid the price, but look how much I gained.
If I have to, I can do anything.
I am strong; I am invincible,
I am woman.
(I am Woman from Helen Reddy)

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