Stop Stereotyping Women

Q. What is the first thing I do after waking up in the morning?

A. I check my Whatsapp.

(I check my Whatsapp not because I have been expecting an urgent message from Narendra Modi, I check it because it is my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Checking smartphone throughout the day is symptomatic of my progressive OCD).

Q.What messages awaits me?

A. Series of ‘good morning’ wishes with ugly flower bouquets and inspirational quotes from family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, school mates, college mates, ex-colleagues, fellow mothers from son’s school, and even ex-boyfriends. With so many wishes my day should not only be ‘good’ but ‘best’. However, in most days the wishes fail to work and my day turns out boring and often challenging.

The other day my maid, who is new on whatsapp, sent me a ‘good morning’ flower bouquet. Followed by a voice message that she won’t come for next 6 days as her grandmother died (this is the sixth time her grandmother died. Either her grandmother is dying in instalment or her grandfather had a harem).

As the day follows these flowers and images are replaced by forwarded stereotypical jokes and memes. In most of the jokes, women are at the receiving end. These jokes are enjoyed and appreciated not only by men but even women. Apparently people find them damn funny. I am part of few women’s only groups and even those groups are not spared of these forwards. I guess, more than the flowers, teddy bears and motivational messages these jokes get on my nerves. I hate any kinds of stereotypes and these jokes just re-establish the age old stereotypes that have been used against women.

What are the stereotypes?

  • Women love shopping, they spend hours in shopping malls — Really?? All women?? I don’t!! And I know millions who would echo.  Don’t men love shopping?? If not, then why do we have billions of products, clothes, accessories catering to men?? Whenever we go shopping, it is the better half who spends hours inside the store while I grumpily await the shopping extravaganza to get over.
  • They keep on buying clothes even if their wardrobe is overflowing with clothes–Probably, Sonam Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor Khan does but they do not represent all women.
  • They wear make-up. Layers and layers of make-up—That means Mother Teresa, PT Usha, Kiran Bedi, Mamta Banerjee and yours truly are not women. Millions of underprivileged women all across the world are so busy struggling to get two meals a day that they cannot even afford to think of make-up. Lines of poverty on their face are the only make-up they have. Make-up is a choice not a necessity for most women.
  • They love to gossip—Yellow Journalism was started by men. Tabloids all over the world have predominantly male journalists. Paparazzi are not jobs exclusively reserved for women.
  • They spend hours in front of the mirror—Probably they do. Many wake up in the morning and stare at the mirror to examine the scar or the bruise or the blue marks they got the previous night. They keep staring while wondering do I deserve this. He had said he loved me. Is this love?
  • Their only job is to spy on their husband—Yes, they do spy only when they get time after finishing their cooking, cleaning, vacuuming, ironing, bathing the kids, putting the clothes in the washing machine, feeding the kids, dusting, helping the child with home work and school projects…..my hand is aching. I cannot type the exhaustive list.
  • They love diamonds and gold— If they are offered love, respect, and peace in exchange, how many would still want gold? I know many, and literally many, who would rush to a bookstore instead of a jewellery store. There are many who would exchange their gold and hop on a flight to go overseas.
  • Husbands are scared of wives— this is the most hilarious stereotype. In a country where we had to impose special laws to protect married women from getting killed, isn’t this the most ridiculous stereotype.
  • Women are dumb— Well, I agree women are dumb. We are dumb because we laugh at these jokes and send ROFL, LOL, LMAO and all those smiling smileys. Had we not been dumb we wouldn’t have allowed these jokes and memes to circulate all over the internet. Instead of smiles we should be sending guns to whoever forwards these jokes.
  • They love to click selfies—so does men.

These jokes are forwarded within our closed groups. The men who forward these jokes are often our father, brother, husband, friend and son. Even women are guilty of forwarding. As conscious human beings our first step should be to raise voice against these misogynist and classist jokes. What appears like casual light hearted humour is in reality the root of a greater misogyny. Stop stereotyping women and thus stop circulating these jokes and memes.

This post featured on Blogadda homepage.Blogadda_1

This post is part of the #FeministMondays series (previously called #IAmAFeminist series) hosted by Nabanita. Inspired by a TEDx talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – We Should All Be Feminists. 

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Linking this post to #MondayMusings hosted by dear Corinne.

 

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22 thoughts on “Stop Stereotyping Women

  1. Surbhi Prapanna says:

    I am absolutely agreed with you, these kinds of messages are so common and spread a useless message, yes! it is a high time to stop stereotyping of women. you had shared really an important topic that most of the time get ignored.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rajlakshmi says:

    Husband scared of wife is like the biggest joke of the century, specially in a patriarchy society like ours. These stereotypes are really hard to break… And you often end up justifying yourself all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. the bespectacled mother says:

    I am not shocked or even surprised that I do not fit in any of the stereotypical parameters you have enlisted in the post. I am actually a weird woman who buys clothes online and steps out to the market to buy books (mainly picture books). And, I hate those forwarded jokes. They never make me laugh. Never ever. I exit any such WhatsApp groups where only jokes are circulated. I have kept the settings such that the photos don’t get downloaded on their own unless I want them to and I can make out pics of the Good morning and festival wishes in the blur and leave them there as such. A year or so back, I was added to the school classmates’ group and I was surprised to see the erstwhile boys now men with children were still talking about who was linked with whom in the school and carrying on the same teasing in the current times also. Let’s talk about some male stereotypes then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      Anamika even I am a weird one who doesn’t fit in any of the stereotypes.. I exited quite a few groups but often I am added back. Just like you I also do not download the pics and can make out from the blurred image. The sad part is I went to a girl’s convent and thua my school group is a all girl’s group and even in that sexist jokes gets circulated and my friends laugh their heart out. In couple of occasions I rephrased the jokes and sent. But they do not get my point.
      Thanks so much.. I actually find a lot of similarity with you.

      Like

  4. Bhawana Singh says:

    you caught me… but at the end of the I find that people are attracted towards all these things you listed. Though I dont belong to a crowd yet its difficult for me to mixup as I really cant become one just to talk to others… world is like that only

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Obsessivemom says:

    I am so glad you did this post. I absolutely abhor it when I get those messages, specially on all-women groups. In some of my close ones I have protested and friends have been gracious enough to understand and stop sharing stupid forwards. We have a group with all my cousins and when the ones who are happily married and much-in-love send the ‘bechara pati’ forwards it makes me want to scream. Why on earth must humour draw on stereotypes only?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      Yes Tulika, I do not understand that why humour should be drawn from stupid stereotypes. I had major differences with people across various groups and finally was compelled to write this post. I am happy to find like minded people like you.

      Like

  6. Esha M Dutta says:

    Thought-provoking post, Tina. There’s a lot in there that makes us question why things happen in a certain way with so many women so often and in so many subtle and not so subtle ways! I am glad you wrote about something which many women, particularly Indian women will be able to identify, although it is also applicable globally! Tor shathe onek adda jome ache Tina…. ek din ekhane ele adda hobe! Ekta weekend e Chole aye toh…jomiye golpo korbo amra!

    Liked by 1 person

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