There’s nothing new about sexism and gender bias. It has been rooted in our society for ages and hence, there’s no doubt that being a woman is not a cakewalk. Being a woman, I can confirm that each of us has faced these grave issues, at least once, in our lives.
When a woman is with a man – be it her father, friend or husband – people, in an instant, assume that the man holds the power and the authority to make decisions, even if that’s not the case at all.
Last week, I, along with my parents, decided to head out for dinner. Before reaching our destination, we stopped at a petrol station to get our car fueled. As soon as the man was done, he crossed the line and went to the passenger seat, where my father was sitting, and asked for his card.
For a few seconds, my father had no clue how to react, and then he responded with, “yeh iski car hain, yeh card degi, aap dusri side se aao.” The man came back to my side and got the card swiped.
Needless to mention, I was quite pissed because we aren’t invisible, right? The man didn’t come to me or my mother, but to my father because of course, only a man can pay the bill, right?
A couple of weeks back, my male best friend and I went to a famous restaurant. There was a long queue for the self-service and we were waiting for our turn. I had to pick up a call and he was standing in the line, holding my bag. It was almost our turn and my friend asked me to pick up the platter.
When I picked the tray up, the fork, which was sitting on the edge, fell down. The server laughed and said, “sir ko dedo, madam.” Before I could reprimand him, my friend chimed in and asked him to behave and respect people, especially women.
I, as a woman, always knew about sexism and discrimination but was almost surprised to experience it in such public places. Even though I have had a few more experiences like that, where I saw casual sexism right before my eyes, I chose to ignore it because “log kya sochenge?” Arre, fuck it.
I wish I could tell my younger self that no one will think about or remember this incident, except me. I still wish I could go back to the past and take a stand for myself because honestly, no one else will.
In a sexist world, all we need are people who understand the importance of being heard. Not that we need anyone to “help” us, but these people contribute to a better world. In my case, I had my father – who didn’t take my card and ask for the pin, instead asked the man to request the same from me, a woman – and my best friend – who rose his voice for me and all the other women who must’ve visited the same place.
Dear men, women can pay their bills, drive their cars and pick their things up! We don’t need someone’s unsolicited advice because it’s frickin’ 2022!