My Ex-boyfriend whom I referred to in my one of my older entries (http://easternsunshines.blogspot.ca/2014/08/on-being-called-slut-few-days-ago-i-was.html) always got into fights and disagreements about women related issues with me. One thing that he always objected to was the fact that why there is still so much quarrel about women's rights and feminism; he used to argue that we are not living in the times that women couldn't vote anymore, we aren't living in the days that female students didn't have access to universities and colleges, we live in a world where women have as many choices as men do. I was astound by his point of view; we were not living in a free democratic western country those days, in our country women were bound by law in a million ways from custody to divorce, from traveling to everyday living, a married woman doesn't even have the right to own a passport without permission from her husband, but this aspect is not my concern right now for these are merely governmental laws and many people, man or woman, do not agree with them. What really concerns me, is the presence and existence of sexual discrimination in the subconscious of our society. A simple example: I have studied engineering in university in my country which is fairly common for women to do so over there. I remember various classes in which the professors referred to the students as "...and you, the gentlemen in engineering should be aware that..." or "...a true engineer is a man that..." while at least one third of the class were female students. Now these professors were mostly very good with girls, they took them seriously and were aware of their capability and capacity, but deep inside their mind, they just thought of men as the "true engineer". In another case, I remember my history teacher from high school telling us a very disappointing story. At that time she was a PhD candidate in one of our top universities and she had a class with a few other PhD students with a well-known professor in their field of research. The professor had given them an assignment and was explaining the assessment process of the tasks, he concluded his sentences by saying that "...and this is how I grade the papers of the gentlemen and for the ladies, they can cook me something and I'll grade them based on the taste(laughter of the audience)...", afterwards one of the women there had objected to the professor and the professor accused her of being hypersensitive and lacking a sense of humor. So apparently it is alright to make a sexist joke in an environment of the highest level of academia, let alone in everyday life and other people. To these very small examples add up all the jokes people make about the driving of women: if the man makes a mistake, at worst, he is reckless and his behavior is risky but if a women makes a very slight mistake while driving it is because of her innate lack of skillfulness in driving. You can find tons of similar examples in everyday life and honestly, in the social level it is not that different in the west(I really do get tired of the expressions of surprise and astonishment of Canadians when I tell them I have a masters in Engineering). So to all of you out there who think we live in a perfect world for women just because we can all vote and go to school, there is yet a lot to be done and a sexist joke is NEVER OK! It is just like making a racist joke, you should never say something nasty like that. A few years ago I was reading " A room of one's own" by Virginia Wolf and there she had objected to women who thought the fight for equal rights is over just because they had obtained the right to vote. From our schools to the movie industry, from our children's toys to our literature, there is still a heck of things that need changing! So go on and start the change, or better, be the change!
P.S. (A Room of One's Own: http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/1315615-a-room-of-one-s-own )
PS2. I found this article which I think is a very good example of what I mean by sexual discrimination and misogyny in the west. Unfortunately sometimes it is even worse than third world countries: