Gone are the days when women were treated like an inhuman kind of commodity and the heinous crimes like female infanticide were common, and women were being portrayed as lesser human beings. Now, it’s time when women are doing equally well like a man and contributing in almost every field of life.
Don’t you think that the abovementioned argument doesn’t sit well if you look at the ground realities that show the deplorable situation of women in various sectors of society?
An underlying factor is a case when a privileged woman considers that things are much better than what we’re being told and informed about women.
Before looking into the fact that casual sexism is very casual and so relatable to gender-specific roles, one must know what exactly the term “casual sexism” defines.
Casual sexism is anything that involves treating a person in a discriminatory way. It can be in the form of a harmless joke, and can even stretch into serious forms of gender-specific harassment.
It can be any expression in the form of act, word, image, gesture that promotes the idea that some persons, most often women, are inferior. In every form, sexism is harmful in the sense that it produces feelings of worthlessness, self-censorship, changes in behavior, and a deterioration in health.
Perhaps, ita lies at the root of gender inequality and affects women disproportionately, and that too because of their gender.
Casual sexism can take many forms. Sometimes we see clips in dramas and other artwork that target women as lesser human beings. Most of the time it’s done in a humorous way but still, it makes up the mentality that only women can do certain kinds of misadventures.
For instance, sometimes women are portrayed as talkative and that kind of humour is done pointing towards the women in general. ‘Do Khwateen Khamosh Nhi Beth Sktein” means “two women can’t stay quiet” as if men whenever stays together remain silent.
Moreover, working women also suffer from this patriarchy. A vast majority of women that are elected to parliament have been the target of sexist attacks on social networks.
The intensity of casual sexism against working women can be inferred from the fact that even the first lady prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, was subjected to specific gender-bias verbal harassment by other politicians in the country; most often by male politicians who were in opposition then and found the amusement as well as political point-scoring in gender-specific tone.
Generally, women quite often experience humiliation because they are women. In France, 50% of young women surveyed recently experienced injustice or humiliation because they are women. This kind of gender-discrimination makes it difficult for women to do their things comfortably in a peaceful social environment.
For example, street harassment, bullying, verbal abuse are some manifestations that project women, not as an equal human being but as socially subjugate part of the social strata. The situation is worrisome if women belong to poor socioeconomic status. According to a survey, 59% of women in Amsterdam reported some form of street harassment.
Sexist remarks against women are yet another deplorable thing ever. The worst part is that these sexist remarks are accepted as a societal norm not only by uneducated people but by the well-educated class of people equally well. In the UK alone, 66% of the young girls witnessed the use of sexist language at school.
This bad custom is so prevalent in South Asian societies that once a woman is out of the house for some reason, gossips portraying her as a bad guy become the talk of the town. The rural belts have plenty of this kind of sexism. The irony is that these sexist remarks can cause serious morality issues at least in the perception of a common man and also instigates crimes against women such as “honour killing”.
Sexism also haunts women in aesthetic character. Despite the widespread social support, women are still measured according to the air-brushed notions of the perfect. If they fail to fit the definition of “so-called perfect” they’re body-shamed and blamed. Body shaming is humiliating, with often painful, long-term consequences.
It stigmatizes the victims, tearing down self-respect. In short, it makes a woman uncomfortable to deal with other problems as she is forced in the circumference of gender-specific stereotypes.
Body shaming at social media platforms also a part of the problem. Media has pushed unrealistic images of how the “peefect” female body should look. This has been done and is being done via movies, television as well as print media.
Casual sexism shouldn’t be there because of underlined reasons; it targets women because of their gender, threaten women, instigates crimes and sexual violence against women, and it also impact is to discourage women – in particular from being or becoming active in almost every role they’re in.
The harmful impact of casual sexism can be worse sometimes. Casual sexism is used as a device that distinguishes people purely on the basis of their biological role. It defines the falsified approach towards masculine and feminine labels attached to the roles, statutes, behaviour, activities, and essentially condemn those who overstep the bounds of their labelled gender-based stereotypes.
Although the bad social custom of casual sexism is deep-seated but can be done away with if women as a collective force begin to respond to it. Ignorance by the way didn’t prove a right answer because many among the women ignore these things but face this again and again in various roles.
The first thing to solve any issue peacefully is via discussions. Gender-specific sexism should be raised as a separate issue at various forums and awareness regarding it should be created among the students through the contents of syllabi.
To conclude, women themselves should be the first line of defence in annihilating the widespread gender inequalities. This is something that women needed beyond health, jobs, and education.