Whether it’s gender, race, wealth, or even class, double standards exist everywhere! We all, in some form or fashion, are guilty of it. Some of us are vulgarly obvious while the rest of us may express it in a subtle unintentional tone. It could range from ignorant assumptions to obsolete cultural expectations to stereotypes, like all Indians know how to fix your computer and iPhone (because we are all IT graduates).
Don’t judge a book by its cover
We all (if we are truly honest with ourselves) jump to conclusions at first sight. We judge others on how they look, how they are dressed, how they speak. Some of these unique characteristics and self-expressions can cause rash reactions. We are either friendly or quickly change course; we smile or look away or worse, stare and smirk. Growing up taught me a lot, especially after working in the criminal field: never judge a book by its cover! Not everyone who fits this “perfect image” created by media, society or your ancestors are true to their real character. I have been pleasantly surprised many, many times. Those who you would ignorantly assume to be dangerous or mean are actually kind and frequently misunderstood; whilst the powerful, suited, picturesque are complete selfish, arrogant assholes. You know exactly what I’m talking about.
Nice to look at
Unless they are used for what God intended! Another perfect example: we can expose these, sometimes burdensome, “assets” in gorgeous evening gowns and bikinis, but GOD FORBID we use them to feed children! Oh no! Now that’s offensive! But to see a grown man with huge breasts that clearly exceed a “B” cup on the beach (or hell anywhere) covered in chest hair, bouncing around scaring children (and me) is universally acceptable…someone please, please, please explain this one.
This double standard has been an issue since the beginning of time. I recently had a discussion that involved this should-be extinct issue with an “elder” in my family. It was crushing to realize that after all this time, with all the advances in health and technology in this progressive country, he hasn’t changed. Like many other cultures, women face certain stigmas; like can she cook, does she keep her house clean, why isn’t she married and if she is, why doesn’t she have children. Sadly, men are never forced to answer these none-of-your business questions merely because they are men. I never understood how one organ or lack thereof would define me before I could ever rise or fall. Thankfully I was blessed and raised by parents who see past this bullshit; parents who encourage, support and push their daughters persevere and never retreat.
Women also face another very delicate yet public issue: body image. Tall, thin and pretty, right? Whereas, a man, regardless of his size, hair and skin is accepted. Men are excused for lack of manners, taste, and hygiene but women are expected to be groomed, fashionable and polite. Men are expected to be strong and authoritative, but if a woman were to be outspoken or in power, she is immediately under scrutiny. Men are respected and greeted with a hand-shake while women are referred to as ‘sweetie’, ‘darling’, and ‘honey.’ Women are expected to uphold morals and strictly adhere to religious traditions, while men are excused: boys will be boys.
It’s been a struggle for generations, yet we begin a new chapter with the greatest most peaceful form of demonstration, the historical march on January 21, 2017. There is much more that needs to be done before we achieve full equality: not only in rights, pay but also in respect. I was not given a choice, but I am damn proud to be a woman, of Indian heritage, born in America, especially this day in age. And what can I say, nature made me a Leo; this is only the beginning of my roar.