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Benevolent Sexism

Gender inequality has existed since the genesis of human life on the earth. The very prevalent idea of a woman being less capable than a man in all the mainstream fields is continuously growing. Society teaches women to keep silent and embrace a man as the ultimate leader. Benevolent sexism generally points the kind of stereotypes based on gender norms that people largely tend to connote without being largely vocal. On the other hand we can call them silent patriarchs who like to be satirical about their comments on gender differences. It harbors the growth of gender equality.

What is benevolent sexism?

In earlier Greek societies, women didn’t have any voting rights . They had to forcefully abide to the thinking of the man of the house. Hence the society failed to recognize women as a citizen of the land. Compared to those days we have come a long way, women now have lots of rights. But the very fact that one has to even say this brings us down to questioning gender equality every time.

In the recent times, large amount of people are giving attention to Women rights. They are working to restore the much lost balance between genders. Some people try to create a façade to their real believes just so they can’t be blamed because. Nowadays it is very dangerous to be openly supporting patriarchal views, as the public will roast you. In countries where the society appears to be rather tolerant and liberal, sexism takes the form of benevolent sexism. Hence it becomes a modified form of sexism that people created for their own convenience.

Benevolent sexists believe that women by nature are weak and need to be protected. In some countries there exists a very hostile kind of sexism that knows no bounds; it works to reinstate men’s dominance over women. Mostly both these kinds of sexism exists collectively in a modern society.

Is it valid today?

Women also unknowingly became the users of Benevolent sexism, which makes it the most rampant form of sexism. It also includes the kind of behavior women let certain men do because of the intimate relation they have with them. In theory it seems rather undisruptive but in reality it is much more venomous than hostile sexism because of its very dubious nature which remains inert.

In many counties, giving birth to a girl child was not as rejoiced as giving birth to a boy child was. This is the very first step that people take towards creating a sexist. From the very beginning people have created a kind of narrative that each gender had to fix itself into.

From the age of two we teach a girl child to play with dolls and kitchen sets, wear skirts, be fragile and consistent with the stereotypes that have been going on through generations. Through this, they become ready for the future motherly and domestic roles. On the other hand, we teach a boy to play with soldiers, wrestle. They should not cry because “men don’t cry”, because it is a sign of weakness and as a trait that men should not possess. It even spreads to the extent of defining that girls should like pink and boys should like blue color.

People went on to categorize every single aspect known to humans. It started from the tiny things like toys to the kind of movies and music. It ultimately started taking much larger forms like categorizing the kind of jobs that men and women should do. Like women should to secretarial or nurse jobs and men should hold an office of position.

Effects of movies and series on Sexism

Movies and series try to romanticize the gender differences and mostly they endorse benevolent form of sexism in doing so. They show the image of a perfect girl and a perfect boy in order to get a happily ever after. It sets higher beauty standards and depict the heroine as a perfect embodiment of a goddess with all the right virtues. They generate another set of pigeonholes which people unconsciously want to abide to, just because they seem to be ideal.

Even a widespread industry like the cinema is tacitly trying to establish the foundation of new stereotypes; we can only imagine what the society itself will turn into.

The hidden sexism

We have often come across people who comment on others based on their gender and how they are using it to get other’s favors. We can find male employees saying “she got promoted because she is a girl”, when a female employee gets promotion over other male employees. Gender becomes a parameter in judging people’s capabilities because it doesn’t hurt our pride.

Nowadays, we can see women standing up for elections in various parts of the world. During their election campaigns, they usually tend to focus on the fact that a woman is going to compete in the elections rather than focusing on any other important agendas or promises. People are trying to gain votes based on the very gender of the contender. It shows people’s readiness to endorse anything as long as there is a mortal benefit from it. In Panchayat elections, there is a reservation of seats for women. So if a women becomes a contender and wins, they become puppets in the hands of patriarchal men.

Change the Perspective

Looking from an ignorant perspective, people are doing so much to bring about equality among the genders. If only we bother to look closely the system has continuously tried to find the loopholes just to exploit it for their own selfish needs. If we do not realize now that we are creating a bunch of stereotypes that are going to come biting us few years later. We should effectively combat this growing practice of creating stereotypes that bind people to follow certain unnecessary rules and limits the human capabilities before it is too late to rectify.   

It is a matter of shame that in the 21st century women have to still fight for equal rights. We have to do away with the vicious façade of sexism if we want to end gender discrimination.

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