Casual Sexism & Me

” You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”

The popular proverb-
” You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”,
holds true for me.
I’m only beginning to realise how I’ve been oblivious to my surroundings.

I’ve usually prided myself in being a sensitive person who doesn’t mind calling out people who make insensitive comments, jokes and generalisations. I’ve worked hard to not be the source of exposure, for stereotypes and discrimination, to the people around me. And just as you would know, it has earned me multiple inaccurate judgements which I continue to carry. “She’s so uptight”, “Learn to take a joke at face value”, “Don’t be so overly sensitive”, “Such a joy-kill”, “Stop over analysing every word” and on and on and on.
It continues to feel hurtful being ghosted or ignored by the people close to me for no wrong doing on my part, but that’s life I guess.

Having have said this, in the recent time I was shown the mirror. And boy, was it harsh!
Contrary to my understanding of self, there is one person I realise I’ve failed. I’ve failed because I’ve run along with age old discrimination when it comes to this set of people in my life.
As a daughter I’ve been ignorant and supported sexism in my home, in ways I only now understand through my own experiences.

Casual Sexism is women eating after men at home
Women getting interrupted while speaking, told to lower their voice and watch their tone.
Not making space for us on the couch or at a table.
Us gravitating towards housework at all times.
It’s the little things too.

There is one thing to have gender roles and another to have relationship roles. I’m not sure if it is the right term, but by relationship roles I mean the roles imposed on a person based on the relationship status in the complex equation. To make it simpler, as a daughter I have different roles as compared to as a daughter-in-law. It is like a sub-categorisation of gender roles- a deeper pit.

It was through an instagram reel, where two successful celebrities were being interviewed and they shared how as a woman their family doesn’t mind interrupting and/or disturbing them in the workspace while their male counterparts were available at the same time.*
For a moment I was disappointed by their families and almost a second later I was ashamed. I was ashamed of perpetrating the same- and no I’m not being harsh on myself.

Every so often, I’ve assumed that my mother was always available for what I want without checking with what’s on her mind, while I’ve always enquired with my father if he wished to help me on his day off. Only today, when my mood, willingness or need isn’t acknowledged before assumptions are lathered upon, do I feel frustrated. It’s more like tasting the same medicine, and I understand it is taxing physically mentally and emotionally.

This isn’t me venting. This is me working on my block one aspect at a time, as I promised myself.
This isn’t me venting. This is me sharing what I feel and what I’ve understood, so we can help one another and realise that we are not alone.
This isn’t me venting. This is me putting myself out there and hoping that it helps someone learn from my mistakes and not having to learn it the hard way.

Casual sexism is real. It is so real that we do not even realise that we are the victims and perpetrators of it, all the same.

I’m currently being more aware of my assumptions and generalisations with others and trying to be more patient with the ones making the same mistake that I’ve made all these years. Everyone has a different learning curve and the best I can do is start a conversation to kick start the process. Because like I said at the beginning
” You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”