By: Mahoor Haya Shah
he atrocities against women dates back to eons. Women have always been pushed to the sidelines owing to notions of patriarchy, male chauvinism and masculine toxicity. Albeit of the fast paced times and expeditious technological mise-en-scène, this demographical lot continues to suffer and witnesses themselves under a glass ceiling.
This raw deal is manifest in every domain even the fact that literature too is not devoid of this below the belt treatment speaks volumes about misogyny. For an eternity now, we have been referring to the human race by generalized masculine pronouns and masculine vocabulary alike; be it the ultra ‘he’ or more generically ‘Man’ or ‘Mankind’ for ascribing to the human race. All such things signal to the very fact that things have never been and neither are hunky- dory for this so -called weak gender.
The nouns and pronouns of masculine references have been touted as generics for ages now. Figuratively also, we commonly give the masculine gender to nouns which are strong or efficacious and weak and beautiful is attributed to the feminine. We need to mull over the grammar and rules made centuries ago in a male dominated society when women literally had no say and even to the expanse of using male pseudonyms for their books under the duress of the established norms.
Language is a powerful tool and it carries energy. For eons it has been used as propaganda to frame a certain type of mindset. Social culture and language are highly correlated ergo, language has a blatant effect on the psyche of a society and vice versa. Violence against women takes many different forms be it the much blatant issues like domestic violence, sexual assault harassments, forced marriage, femicide, female genital mutilation, infanticide and comparatively reticent issues like eve teasing ,male supremacy in literature, mansplaining ,mental torture, neglect and much more. Taking an upshot of facts,1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. In conjunction to it, women are judged more for their looks in comparison to men.
At one front, they are expected to look beautiful and soft whereas the height of double standards exacerbates when the same people judge her ‘societally beautified ‘ looks in which she feels confident. Whatever she wears or does, women never seem to be able to win in this world. Beauty standards are by and large applicable for women. Women are also far more likely to be assessed on their weight, which affects their pay and chances of career progression. Researchers have found that almost a quarter of workers (21%) who are overweight felt they had been passed over for a job or a promotion because of their weight.
Television industry takes it up a notch irrespective of acting roles. Also according to a fallacy of Lack of Fit Model ,society tends to determine a person’s subjective evaluation of attractiveness on the parameters of compliance of a person’s appearance with their perceived gender. Women have to bear the brunt of the play of gender roles demanded by society. Some women seem to be so confounded in this quagmire that they start making things easier for patriarchs by criticizing liberal woman.
That is why I want to address this fact that women too need to break silence and get loose out of the snarl of submissiveness. And talking about the looks and outfits women are judged on, the problem is that there isn’t an outfit or a look that anyone can wear without being judged. Rather than judging and criticizing people one should realize stereotyping is not good fashion and discard wearing it. Nowadays, while the issue of the mommy track has largely been addressed, the Gordian knot of the glass ceiling effect remains.
Author has completed Masters in English Literature. She can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org