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Gaslighting Women's Issues (Day-to-day Sexism) in Brown Households

I am extending upon a dialogue here when I say that sexism still exists in all the ways that we can imagine. I can be presumptuous and say that some of you might think stuff like ‘fir se aa gayi yeh feminist (the feminist is here again)’. But, just read through this though. I am trying to put across something that is very important for the progress of our nation and the world.

I conducted the Instagram poll yesterday and 20 women say that they still face casual sexism on a daily basis, 15 women say that they face it on a regular basis and the rest face it rarely. This was an alarming rate of response in regards to my followers count. Why do women feel this way even today? What is wrong with the system? The pay gap is still a problem, the education system is still not accounting for full embracement of women, and almost 98% of Indian women have been catcalled, molested or raped in their now life span.

Within my personal experience, I have been facing casual sexism quiet often actually. I confided to one of my family members that I was facing troubles with sexual violence and abuse. My problem was conveniently gaslighted and they said that “every woman has to go through it at least once in their lifetime, you are no exception and who told you to give someone the permission to use your body?”

This is exactly the problem that I am trying to speak of. Every single day, women are fighting and asking for a few basic rights. It has especially been hard on a lot of girls/women after the lockdown. They have had to move back with their families and it hasn’t been any less than hell.

“Don’t wear those shorts, your father will not like it.”, is a recurring statement I was used to hearing while growing up. Now I wonder, these statements are very problematic in nature. It also calls for unconscious bias in the women within my family. They would unconsciously or subconsciously take to sexism and project it onto their daughters as though it is the right thing to do.

It is the worst kind of situation to deal with if they have an opinionated daughter. If they find a well read, opinionated daughter who is willingly trying to make a difference within the household, she is not given any credit. It is actually quite the opposite. For me, I lost out on a good relationship with my parents. They constantly compared me to my brother, gaslighted by issues, body shamed me, blamed me for the sexual abuse I experienced and normalised it.

I understand that they are brown parents who were brought up in the most conservative environment but we need to start from our families and if they expect us to understand their side of the spectrum, they should at least make a small effort to understand ours (our struggles and emotional conflicts).

Maybe this is a long shot but I wouldn’t want to bring up our daughters into a world where the human race is still not ready to accept a woman as a whole. The world needs to accept that womanhood is strong, intelligent, composed, brave and we are not to be pitied.

You must understand us with all the compassion you have, and in return we will hold hands and make this world somewhat liveable.

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