How Women's Experience Of Sexism Starts At Home






Patriarchal roots go so deep in people's heart and mind that most of the times they don't even understand how their behaviour is hypocritical towards women. It starts at their house. I grew up in a middle-class household where I was bombarded with expectations from my family about how I will become a doctor. Expected to stay consistent with my grades in school, and when I didn't, obviously it followed the threats and warnings of "we will get you married" and the guilt-tripping by "other girls don't even get the chance to live the way you do". "Live"; but let's come back to this later.

Every woman who lives in a middle-class family have to hold onto the unreal expectations by their family, either you live by their terms or you will be married. From the decisions of what they will wear, to the time by which they have to come home; it definitely happened to me. When I didn't wear make-up, I was careless and didn't have a sense of how to present myself; and when I did, I was given side eyes by the people I grew up with because I was being "too slutty". Growing up, I always looked up to my father more, which made me crave independence and have an obsession with wanting to work, outside of the kitchen. Actually, I don't think I was much pressured about me having to learn cooking or cleaning because I was the youngest and everyone's favourite; but I don't know what happened, and how quickly things changed when I turned 17. I was expected to clean my house daily, alone; which I did because if I didn't it always came with remarks of me being an abomination on the family from my mother. So to avoid the "drama" I always gave in to whatever they asked me. I wasn't asked, I was ordered to do it all. 

Photograph: Council Of Europe

Now at I have entered my 20s, I have a lot of college work, all the while I have to do the household chores as well. I wouldn't mind doing it if my brother had even the slightest bit of same responsibilities; and I have to skip some of my classes just so I can clean the house, which I'm also supposed to do on time by the way; and the idea that I might have some other skills I want to learn and explore, are just non-existent to people around me. 

For a long time I wondered that maybe I'm the only unlucky one, but when I joined an all-girls college 2 years ago, I realised that I'm not the only one. So many of my classmates admitted that they often get late to class because they had to cook breakfast or clean the house. It made me realise how despite the "progressiveness" of society us, women; are still expected to do the "women chores". Some of my classmates also said that their male members of the family would sometimes cook on Sunday, but one day of household work by their father will be appraised for an entire month. It's obvious to me that women are still associated with household chores, while males will get credit for being hard-working and strong, just because they bring money to family. There are a lot of mothers who also work hard at offices and then come home and finish "their" household work; but where is their due credit? 

Photograph: CW Jobs

I had actually planned to post this on March 8, International Women's Day. However my mood was just put off the whole day because so many men asked when is their day of celebration. The International Women's Day is to celebrate women's liberation and to appreciate their courage that they all have to survive in this society which always has them on target; if a day comes when men don't feel comfortable walking in a narrow and solemn street, or if they feel pressured to wear a certain outfit by their family, not given a certain post in their workfield just because "you will have a child someday and we don't want to risk our productivity by the possibility that you might leave for a few months" or even if men ever face a day where they have to hear "another son is born?", that's when I'll come in the front to celebrate International Men's Day myself. 

P.s. International Men's Day is everyday but, if you really need one official date, it's November 19. 

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