I'm Ashamed To Be A Man In A Society Where Women Have To Restrict Their Dreams

Anonymous Anonymous in Bakkar. Chai. Sutta on 8 April, 2017

I was brought up in a family that cared for women. They taught me how to respect and take care of the women around us.

I learned that women shouldn’t be allowed to suffer by any means. Also, that they should be protected by all means.

I was very happy and even proud to be raised with such values. It had also helped me earn respect among the women who I’ve encountered in my life. However, today, when I look back, I feel ashamed of the things I was taught. The harsh truth is that they were chauvinistic thoughts.

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You may wonder, what is so chauvinistic about caring for women and protecting them? I will rephrase the above points to highlight the hidden chauvinism. Women shouldn’t be allowed to ‘suffer’, which meant that they shouldn’t go out to work and suffer in the process. ‘Protecting’ women essentially meant keeping them inside the confines of the house.

I was made to believe that any man who expects his woman to earn is not a real man.

I learned that women are so special that men have to take care of them because they are unfit to take care of themselves. This was my thinking until I saw the Malayalam movie ‘How old are you?’ (Remade in Tamil as ‘36 vayathinile’). The story follows the lead character’s journey from her college days to her life after marriage.

The story revolves around an intelligent and independent student leader who is compelled to turn into a dumb and depending wife to an ordinary man who lacked intelligence or leadership during his own college days. Something in the story struck me and I began to observe the women around me.

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I discovered the same pattern in every family including mine. I knew a lot of girls from my college who were far sharper than most boys and I believe the same must have been true even in the earlier generations. So, as shown in the movie - what makes a girl less intelligent and a man more intelligent over the years?

It is clearly the restrictions that our families impose on a girl after she has completed her college and the independence that the same family gives to a boy after he completes his education.

The sad part is that some women consider this a valid transformation. Unfortunately, even women in my family support decisions to restrict the girls from dreaming big without even realizing that it’s biased or chauvinistic. And the girls are taught to consider these restricted dreams as a boon to their life.

While I don’t blame the girls, I feel morally responsible for being a part of the society that injects them with this attitude as a fundamental social construct.

What is the point of a civilization if a person is not given the freedom they desire? What is the point of all these years of technological and social advancements if someone is still afraid of pursuing their own dreams and way of life?

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Has mankind really evolved if half the world’s population needs a special day to remind the other half that they are also present?

All these things struck a chord within me and made me re-think how I’d like to live when I’m 36 years old - the same age as the lead heroine of the film.

I wish that everyone gets the right to be what they wish to be. I dream of a society where a person's abilities are not determined by their gender but by the behavior they choose to adopt in their lives.

I wish that women don’t need to struggle to prove that there’s something special in being an independent, ambitious and determined woman. And they don’t need just one day to celebrate themselves for every day in their life should be worth celebrating.

I wish men and women realize that the term women empowerment is b******t, for every woman can empower herself without anyone else’s help if she is not suppressed in the first place.
Editor's Note:

Share this story because it's time for every individual, man or woman, to challenge the backward norms of society and work to create a world where dreams are not restricted by gender.