Wriggling In Our Society: Stereotypes

Posted: February 16, 2019

We always have certain fixed notions of woman, man, mother, teacher, student and so on. These “fixed” ideas are stereotypes.

Hey Ladies, I hope you all are fine, enjoying your life and fighting against the unfairness. I know we all face distinct kinds of issues everyday, a stumbling block at every step in the path of life. We all here at this platform share, define, converse, transform  and re-create new meanings of life. Undoubtedly this platform is steeped in the aura of “Feminism”.

But “feminism” is not only bound to women only, it includes men also. As soon as feminists discuss about the essentialism of being “woman” it becomes a men’s issue also. If this culture teaches a woman to ‘be’ woman it does the same in the case of men also. We always have certain fixed notions of woman, man, mother, teacher, student and so on. These “fixed” ideas are stereotypes. They are the demons of the ultra modern age which we are living – from a car to human being, from nail to sandal, everything has a static  boundary which some people don’t see and other don’t want to see. Jeans = Levi’s, Woman=Delicate, Man=Stud, Car=Audi and so on.

Feminism has always rejected this boundary of stereotypes. However, many people attach some stereotypes to feminism also. A true feminist should be this, that, s/he should be independent, bold, outspoken, and so on. But they don’t know they are unconsciously creating an even more dangerous evil for society.

I think it’s best that if I share some incidents.

When feminism began in the Western world it was only for white American women. Later on, African-American women criticised them for their “essentialist” view of women and including only white women. After some time, lesbians as a new category came into light, they again criticised them since feminism is for women. From this we get an idea that the essentialist view is too fixed and that it creates problems for everyone.

A man cannot cry, because he should be strong, sturdy, angry, muscular, vigorous and so on . A woman should be caring, meek, obedient, sacrificial, have a heavy bust, thin waist and so on. These are stereotypes and we make them, follow them blindly and perpetuate them. Not just in gender, we also stereotype varieties of humans such as Baniya = Kanjus, Bengali = Intelligent, Punjabi = alcoholic and so on and so forth.

We never ask ourselves why a man cannot cry. I mean crying is such a human phenomenon, an emotional act of any normal human being to express his sentiments and our society bifurcates it by gender. There are so many men around us who have problems but we don’t ever see any man crying. I saw my father distressed but no he cannot cry because he is “The man”.

In this busy bee life we forget to ask ourselves if what is happening around us is right or wrong. These small incidents are part of a very big vicious circle which is forming a static boundary and we never try to cross it or erase it. We make stereotypes impulsively. It is an over generalised concept which has eaten up our souls. In my city, Delhi we often encounter a Chinese or Japanese or Nepali or any North Eastern person we regard them as “chinki” without knowing that we unconsciously cast them out from our society.

If a young woman is going to marry someone their parents wants a “well-settled” man, this is the Stereotype. I mean a girl can marry someone who is able to feed himself two meals a day but no, The Capitalist Society wants more and more and more! In any family a guy who crossed his 16 or 18th year, the whole bunch of relatives would ask “When will you start going to work with Papa?” I mean  it’s not necessary for any man to take over his father’s business, maybe he wants to do something else.

It’s endless to discuss about them – we are encircled by this generalised idea which we apply to every individual. There is no way to get rid of them since it is internalised by our inner core brain. What we have to do is to just ‘Ask- , ask about everything that why does this happen, why we believe in this, why do we follow certain ideas ignoring the fact behind their origin. It’s a hard reality But we forget asking questions – that’s why the true knowledge tree is faraway from us. I remember a few days back when I ask my mother why we aren’t allowed to do any sacred work as in puja during our periodsand she said “Bas nhi jaty ashubh hota hai , pavitra nhi hoty hum”. (It’s not done, it’s inauspicious, that’s all). Then I ask why we aren’t “pavitra”, and she was annoyed and said  “I don’t know, why you ask so many questions!”

I think this happens to each one of us definitely at least at one point of time that you are stopped for asking questions. There’s the root of the why we are not finding the answer behind this why.

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