Updated: Jan 16
For the longest time, society has defined men as strong and women as weak; men are expected to be the workers and the brains of the family, while women are expected to be the caretakers and the people-pleasers. These stereotypes, like many others, are deeply ingrained into our view of the world. So, where exactly did they come from? How did these ideologies form to shape our society?
According to some, this stereotype originated from the masculine need to validate one's bloodline. In a time before technological advancements, there was no sure way to determine whether or not a man was someone else’s legitimate father. Thus, by controlling and oppressing women, men could attest that their heirs were indeed from their blood.
Others claim that this unjust ideal emerged from hunting-and-gathering societies, where tribes exchanged women as brides and objects. Many of these stories vary, but they all share one recurring theme: men felt the need to control women. And this was not because women were seen as weak. Rather, it was the complete opposite⎯women were and are forces to be reckoned with, which men saw as a threat to their social status. Why else would they feel the need to abuse their power? Why would they go to such extreme lengths just to deem someone else as inferior?
Women have the incredible strength to create life and the power to change the world. As such, they face challenges in a society and time where they have been taught that they are no more than the misogynistic views that men hold towards them. Society has taught women to believe in these gender stereotypes, resulting in an internal misogyny that women continue to fight and overcome. Not only that, but they experience pain as often as every month, pain that men could never even begin to imagine but still compare to their lesser-than experiences. Period cramps, giving birth, dealing with the onslaught of society's judgment⎯women experience all of these, and they still persevere and fight for a brighter future. That is true strength. If people cannot wrap their heads around it, then it is about time they get a rude awakening.
By Krithika Rajesh