An Open Letter

8 Minute Read

To whomever it may concern (Just about everybody),

No one exists without prejudice and this prejudice often takes the form, on a rudimentary level, of a stereotype. Stereotypes are thoughts or ideas we have about a specific group of people. Why am i telling you this? Because of the common yet brutal misconceptions we have because of these stereotypes. “Mard ko dard nahi hota” (“Men don’t feel pain”), the line echoed across cinema theaters as the masses cheered. Not much has changed from then; the dialogues become slogans, then anthems, then generalizations and finally “the truth”.

More recently, these notions are beginning to be challenged. Always, a company that makes sanitary pads, released a video titled “#LikeAGirl” which shows how older people would act flimsier or more delicate if asked to do an action like a girl, while younger people, possible unaware of this generalization, acted enthusiastically. It is not that any gender is weak, it is simply the way we have always presented them. If we want to have any hope of pursuing gender equality we need to deconstruct all stereotypes.

Vogue recently released a video #StartWithTheBoys which shows how the constant hearing of “men don’t cry” makes a man  inflict domestic violence. Although this video brilliantly showcases how people suffer from the above mentioned stereotypes, it has a few flaws. In the video they went about with the man’s story and did not have to link it to women domestic violence. It oversimplifies the issue of domestic violence and also builds on the stereotype that only men are only causers of domestic violence while subsequently blaming the entire sex, which helps in no way. There is more than enough evidence against the claim; a survey by The Guardian revealed that domestic violence cases constitute of 40% against men. I cannot quote data in India because “Mard ko dard nahi hota” . We do not believe these cases happen and if they do we suppress them because of possible embarrassment.

If you think that i am picking out specific points and that another gender is actually more oppressed, you exemplify my point. “If i suffer but suffer less then you, i do not suffer” is not a justifiable thought. Please go beyond this “Oppression Olympics” we have created and join hands to solve each problem by giving it the attention it needs. Next time your son wants a pink bag, please do not tell him it is “feminine”. If your daughter wants to become a footballer when she grows up, please do not tell her to think of something less “masculine”. We are living in the world of these stereotypes but please make sure they get broken down now so the next generation doesn’t have to live with it. Be vigilant in your pursuit to not be defined by your gender, sex or sexuality and make sure you pick up people along your journey. Challenge gender norms and gender identities. It is not easy, it is not an obligation. It is your right.

A riled up human.

Pic credits to Lynda Carter