United States (Random day 2015)
It was a beautiful evening on a perfect summer day. My friends and me, like most friend groups, couldn’t come to an easy consensus on what current box office movie we wanted to watch. We had two options, and one happened to be a movie with a female lead. I suggested the movie with a female lead for no particular reason as to that fact. “Naaa” Mr. I have ignorant opinions formed by society’s idea of women, said. “It has a female lead”, he smirked with a caricature like expression on his face. I stared at him. What da what?!
Nigeria (Random day, 2012)
I’m sitting in a cab in Lagos. Mr. taxi driver who was probably a taxi driver due to bad economic situations is driving like a crazed lunatic. “Oga please slow down, why do you have to go so fast?” I asked as I was being flung from side to side at the back of his taxi. He raised his hand to hush me “Calm down, I don’t like women shouting at me” he frowned as he screeched through another sharp turn. Me: “pretends to be shocked!”
Spain (Random day, 2017)
I’m walking down the street in the city wearing a barely revealing crop top. Mr. old creepy guy who’s probably a serial killer approaches me and grabs my belly while smiling like the demon uncle of the girl in The Exorcist. I jump and move away quickly. Ewwww not today Satan!
France (Random day, 2017)
I’m looking furiously at the map on my phone trying to find my way to the Eiffel Tower because that’s what you do when you’re in Paris. A random person grabs my arm pulling me closer and saying “Beyonceeeeeee”. I pull away and walk briskly away as the catcalling gets louder. I am not Beyonce (I feel I should clarify this to readers in case anyone was confused).
I could go on but you get the gist by now. This is my story and I’m sure many if not all women can relate to this.
Sprinkles holy water*
How do you even start to address something so broad and so embedded in every society, culture, and Continent? How do you begin to dismantle something that has been such an integral part of our life? Sexism is farthest from bespoke. Across cultures and countries, it’s a resounding very familiar undertone in the everyday life of a woman.
But what is sexism? For those who don’t know, it is prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of gender. In other words, sexism is a misplaced, typically misogynistic, archaic, myopic, and rather embarrassing what-da-fuck belief in the superiority of one gender over another.
The idea of women as inferior beings continues to subsist in how society is run. Daily, the widely believed notion that women are “the weaker sex” is repeatedly debunked. So why is is it that women irrespective of social status, education, and achievements, women are still looked down upon, sexualized and shamed for being who they are?
There is a preconceived ideology ingrained in society that a woman is not only be inferior but she must also accept such inferiority. I’ve met too many stupid boys to let this fly. Maybe that was ok in the old days, the time of cavemen, the time of hunters and gatherers, the time when the Paleo diet was the only option, the bleak time before sliced bread. But it’s 2017 and we respect women now so get on board. And while we’re at it, can we please get rid of the good ol’ double standard?
Women are sexualized on every corner but are shamed for appreciating their beauty. Taking a selfie is seen as self-indulgent but an almost naked model on the cover of a magazine is Ok? You see what they did there? It’s ok to acknowledge the beauty of women so long as it’s for the pleasure of others.
Back to hell I command you
We need to start teaching our young girls and ourselves that it’s ok to be demand equality and break stereotypes. We need to start teaching our young men to treat women as equals and not demand weakness from them. The pre-wiring that women are “less-than” in society has to be changed. Actually cut the wires. Society shall be born anew and exorcised of sexist possessed ideologies.
Luckily, I’m not starting the conversation, I’m joining in. The conversation is changing and more voices are speaking out. Everyone needs to join their voice in fighting for equal rights, giving women an equal platform, bridging the wage gap including the wider gap minority women have to deal with and dismantling rape culture. Respecting women is not a trend it is the way it’s going to be henceforth.
I’m glad we had this talk.