For so long young girls and women have been pitched against each other, our insecurities and insufficiency due to the misogynistic approach with which we grew up being used against us to create an environment where women have unknowingly been chauvinistic towards their own race. With more and more girls and women being educated and with all of us realizing the worth of freedom and independence, things sure have changed maybe even for better but a section of the female population is deluded, still.
The value of Bechdel tests in real lives is still undervalued because irrespective of our thought process changing from what it used to be, it hasn’t evolved yet. Women are still asked and taught to willingly revolve their lives around men, girls are raised to see each other as competitors not even for job accomplishments (although too much of that can also be psychologically harmful) but for something as futile as men’s attention. Because humans are social animals so for the farthest of time I might choose to understand why women’s life is so affected and shaped by the male gaze; gender is very precisely a social construct more so than being a biological difference in humans. But after a while, with all the tools of your liberation at the your constant beck and call, if you still refuse to wake up and take hold of your life; I would believe very strongly that if not unconsciously it is your fault somehow that you are still oppressed and hurling yourself against other women for a man’s attention.
I remember a male friend of mine, an unreasonably excited but a very kind and disdainfully progressive man who actively proclaims that things are not remotely as hard for women as they used to be(he knows because maybe men are immortal and he’s been here since ages), he has asked me on several occasions to not be so angry and possess some sort of humor (the kind that easily excuses sexism). He also recently held women responsible for their own oppression and was schooling me on how he believes we must stand up for ourselves etc. It isn’t surprising coming from a 21-year-old privileged male who actually believes that women are accountable for the age-old patriarchal system that has oppressed us over years and continues to do that even now. It is scary how ‘educated’ young men like him fail to see the upper hand they clearly have over most the situations only because they were born as a male, Hindu-male, Indian-Hindu-male, fair-complexioned-Indian-Hindu-male.
I have another male friend who didn’t know that facial hair could grow in women, he just clearly discarded the notion and when I showed him my facial hair, he even continued to say ‘it is not normal’.
You might think that this being the 21st century and now that young men are advocating for women’s rights, things must be different. Trust me they are different but very vaguely evolved because even today when I talk to guys my age about women’s rights or choose to walk them through my experiences, or experiences of women around the world; they are not able to hold a conversation and it all comes back to me being exhausted & pained at the ignorance that they withhold. To be mean & prudent, I would say it all still translates to misogyny.
The fact that I am done with asking men to be on the same page as us, includes the argument that I will not write any more about their deluded perceptions of femininity and equality.
Women are taught to pity the single women, the ones still searching for a purpose in life rather than giving in to a man’s charisma, traditionally unfeminine women, those aspiring to become something on their own; sounds outdated? No. The scenario is still the same but the pretense has changed and as Naomi Wolf rightly described in ‘The Beauty Myth’, that those questioning the façade of ‘free will’ regarding the beauty myth that surrounds us must be fat, ugly, incapable of satisfying a man, “feminazis,” or—horrors—lesbians. There is an inadequate atmosphere of misunderstanding, distribution, cynicism, and unawareness amidst women, leading them onto the steps of the so-called ‘woke men’ exclaiming on top of their voice, “NotAllMen” and equally disappointing catchphrases.
As much as I have seen insensitive and precisely superficial male friends (very obvious that not all of them are as dismissive of the idea of feminism and equality), I am blessed to have female friends who choose to raise their voices and while dodging the everyday misogyny they try uplift other women at the same time (again, not all of them have quite comprehended the effect of male persona on their individual lives but I am sure they will catch up soon).
There was a time I remember when the internalized misogyny used to get the worse out of me and I used to consider ‘other girls’ boring, dumb, spineless and incapable of being as good as a man. Now I know that the only way we get through this is if we choose to stand with each other and not against each other. It is important that we have faith in our dreams, in our capabilities and in our will to be free and independent of desires & burdens, not ours to withhold and to seize the opportunities & joys only ours to behold.