It is our battle too…

Gillette’s social campaign against the unidimensional  labelling of women and the response it is receiving is itself a great testimony to the rise of women voices.

This is the result of decades of incessant struggle led by feminists from all over the world. As a male, i do not have the first hand experience of those women whose potential had been limited by these labels, which can only be understood by walking in their shoes.

But this handicap does not limit me from empathizing with the women folk. This is  because, all people in their lives including myself are similarly labeled(though the specific labels might differ) which determines the expectations about us and which in turn determine our behaviour. All of us are members of multiple groups in our daily lives. Because of our tendency to categorize everything that we see in to little boxes with defined labels, we are prone to biases. We make assumptions that each group of people must possess distinct and unique characteristics. This leads to every group being labelled unfairly. For example, men are expected to be tough guys who do not cry like a girlBut what if my friend who is 6 foot tall, 110 kg weight and has tattoos over his face wants to cry when Jack drowns to the bottom of the freezing Atlantic ocean at the end of the Titanic. Should he not have the freedom to do that without being judged by others? Not only gender but racial groups, groups of nationalities. groups of different religions are all labeled and prejudiced against.

GlassCeiling2
Source: Blurrent.com

Unfortunately, women as a group, historically had less power than men- political and economical. This led them to possess less resources to break free of those societal shackles. The negative social labelling and lower expectations from women greatly affect their career opportunities and choices. Recently there has been a widespread focus on the phenomenon of ‘glass ceiling’. It is observed that an invisible glass ceiling is present on the top rung of the corporate ladder which prevents women from reaching the top. This glass ceiling is made up of negative stereotypes and biased labelling of a women. Women are not thought to possess skills required to a typical manager-this is called think manager think male bias. Many in society feel that a women’s role in the society is being a good wife or a good mother. The men folk are expected to go work and fetch resources for the family. This is the reason why, according to catalyst.org, currently only 4.6% of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies are occupied by women.

We need to get out of this medieval and simplistic thinking. The 21st century offers unlimited opportunities for every person to be unique and pursue their dreams. The old values and stereotypes attached to different people need to be destroyed. One way of doing that is to show examples of models who successfully negated such stereotypes. Women like Indira Nooyi(ceo of Pepsi) or Marissa Mayer(ceo of yahoo) or the 21 other women Ceos of the fortune 500 companies are not only role models for women but they stand as living examples to bust the myths and one-dimensional labelling of women and prove that women can be successful leaders and managers.
Men folk like me need to recognize that this battle to correct the biases in the society is their’s battle too. This is because we are all in one point of our lives have been victims of such labelling. We need to build a society where people are not limited by the ‘ORs’ that society attaches to us but have freedom to tag as many number of unique combinations of ‘Ands’ that we choose to have.
This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s