I have always been fascinated how certain words can mean different things to different people.
More specifically how one word applies only to women and not men like slut, bitch and home wrecker.
But of course, it’s not only words that show the inequality between men and women.
But the actions of people every day whether if its been influenced by religion, culture or a male dominated workplace.
I have noticed this contradiction at a very young age.
From the age of ten, I recall asking my mother why the older boys don’t help in the kitchen and why it was always me to be called out.
From the age of 12, i already plotted at a plan to bring forward evidence that my older brothers was able to go out late at night at the ages of 16 and over; preparing my evidence like a detective or a lawyer.
When I think of it now, how crazy was it for a 12 year old to be plotting such a plan. And while I would have caused my mother stress and confusion, i wanted a logical answer and not a ‘because i said so’.
And so, it began the start of a seed of curiosity into gender inequality. My perspective was never fuelled by education, research or even reading the paper. It was my own life that made me see the discrepancy between men and women.
It was interesting and disturbing all at the same time to see my brothers lives play out. And while i respect how they live, would their lives be any different if there was more gender balance in our household.
Though, I have to point out there is no blame or shame on the male perspective because there is no doubt, a cause and effect.
And while there are some women out there, male bashing their reputation on how they treat women. The question you have to ask is “how did they get there?”
When a female is sexually assaulted, it is not uncommon to hear the whisper “Oh she deserved it” and “Look at what she is wearing.”
Or the phrase “boys will be boys” or “they’re just having some fun.” And these aren’t phrases i hear from men but from women.
From my experience, it is the women who let men get away with inappropriate behaviour.
And getting the nod from a fellow female, just justifies the behaviour.
There is no point in pointing the finger at men to blame because it is undeniable these are learned behaviours.
As women, we have to acknowledge our own beliefs and attitudes about other women and how it translates to our fellow men and our growing sons.
Stop using the word ‘bitch’ to describe a female who know her own boundaries and standing up for herself.
Stop using the word ’slut’ to describe a female who is physically attractive and undermining her hard work, talent and her intelligence.
Stop using the word ‘ home wrecker’ to describe a female target for ‘taken’ men because those men aren’t satisfied with their own relationships.
When many women understand that our words, beliefs and expectations of certain women will have an adverse effect of what men expect from women, we build the foundations for mutual respect.
Gender equality requires both sexes to work together and remove the ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality.
When women can get as much respect and recognition as men, women can progress into equal pay, rights and expectations.
And the more we take responsibility - both women and men - then the future holds gender equality for our future daughters and sons.
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