It often happens that while growing up, an individual develops a set of ideas, thoughts and beliefs which determines his way of perceiving the world and the people inhabiting it. His belief system may not reflect any sense of reason or reality in it, and yet it becomes an integral part of his existence, as it determines how he interacts with others. Even I myself have been a victim of such prejudice, as while growing up, I have been indirectly taught that girls are indeed the “weaker sex”, and being unaware of it being a prejudice, I have always deemed it as an ultimate truth (Leslie et al. 2015).
I have grown up in a community which had somehow undermined the skills and potentiality of a girl child, and as such I have grown up believing that women are capable of nothing. Being a male child myself, I have largely underestimated the power of my mother and two sisters. If we would have a match in school, I would always know beforehand that the girls’ team was going to lose; even though the girls team was not the losing party each time, yet when they won, I discarded the whole thing as a matter of mere chance. Very soon, though myself quite unaware of the whole process, in my subconscious mind, I started believing strongly that a woman is capable of nothing great (Lee et al. 2016). After all, Columbus, Alexander, Vasco da Gama, Shakespeare, all were men, and what great things had women contributed to the world except children through pro-creation? Very soon, I started forming stereotypical concepts about women, whereby I started believing that all girls are poor in Math and calculations, they lack the analytical skills and rational spirit of men, and are intellectually weak (Durrheim et al. 2015).
According to Marxism, much of the opinion of an individual is being shaped by the ideological views that dominate his society (Devine et al. 20120. I could not agree more with this view, as I have been raised in a family which is chiefly male-cantered. My father had always prioritized the need of my education, over that of my two sisters. I have always observed my mother, stating that we should respect our father all the more because he is the bread-winner of the family, and he works the hardest of all. Although, I still do not doubt the veracity of the fact, but I also cannot deny that I have always felt that my mother had a tendency to glorify my father’s strength and intelligence, while underestimating her own potentiality. If my sisters would come back home with poor grades, my mother would not scold them much, because according to her, girls are not intelligent enough to carve their own destiny and hence should be married off. But I was always made aware that as a boy I am anyway smart, and I should develop my skills to become an independent, self-sufficient individual in future. In my locality, which was less radical and progressive, smartness, wisdom, assertiveness were associated with being a man while timidity, dependence, cowardice were associated with being a woman (Cragun et al. 2015).
However, since a last few months, I have started feeling a sense of abhorrence towards my prejudiced opinion about women and their capabilities. Not only have I recently being made much aware of the ongoing Feminist movement across the globe, but I have also got a lot of friends in College, who have simply found my sexually biased thought pattern annoying. I have understood that most of the youngsters of today believe in ideas of women empowerment and find my prejudiced thoughts parochial and disgusting. Keeping this in mind, I have decided to break through such delusions, and work harder to combat stereotypical ideas ingrained in my mind. I have decided that I am going to watch more of female centric movies and serials, as these will let me re-consider and challenge my stereotypical concepts about women. I am going to include some women empowering movies on my list, which chiefly put the female protagonists on the lead. Watching movies such as The Wonder Woman, A League of Their Own, The Brave, will introduce me with a world where women are celebrating their independence, power and career success, instead of merely playing supplementary roles to the male actors. This will be of great help to me, as it will help me challenge my traditional opinions about the ideal of a weak, dependent, helpless woman (Elemers et al. 2012). I am also going to search online and read books about the leading role, women have played before and are playing currently in the sphere of education, politics, sports and entertainment. I am also going to read the biography of Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa, Margaret Fuller, Florence Nightingale, who are some of the most powerful women of all time, who have largely contributed to the well-being of the world. I am also gradually going to acquaint myself with some of the most influential female personalities of all time, by watching documentaries on them. I find it very depressing how in my unconscious state of mind, I have been unknowingly prejudiced against women, so much so that I have continuously undermined the love, support and care shown by mother, and have taken them for granted. However, I have decided that each day I will take out at least 10 minutes out of my busy schedule, and I will devote the same for self-reflection (Connell 2014). I will walk down the memory lane, I will reflect and ponder over the beautiful things my mother has done for me. I am sure I will be able to admire the strength of endurance and love of a woman like my mother, who have not only given birth to me and my sisters, but have sacrificed much for the sake of our benefit. This act of admiring the strength of my mother will be easier for me, as I have already talked to my grandparents. I have learnt from them that my mother does not go out to work, not because she lacks qualification, but simply because she chose to sacrifice her career for our happiness. Besides, I will need to understand the fact that household chores, such as cooking, washing or upbringing and educating children also require a lot of intelligence and efforts on part of an individual. I have always witnessed stereotypical attitude in my family, whereby my mother and sisters were mostly responsible for performing household chores, and I was the only one who was encouraged to pursue a career. I have decided to break these stereotypes, by helping my mother in cooking experimental dishes, and motivating my sisters to successfully complete their education and pursue meaningful career (McIntyre , 2013).
The society we live in imposes certain ideological views on us, whereby we tend to believe in stereotypical concepts about others (Amodio et al. 2014). While some associate black with negative aspects of life, others associate the idea of femininity with the concept of weakness. In the 21st century, much of such stereotypical concepts have been challenged and deconstructed. Keeping this in mind, I believe that even I will be able to get rid of my unconscious biases (Herek et al. 2015).
Leslie, S.J., 2015. The original sin of cognition: Fear, prejudice, and generalization. The Journal of Philosophy, 3.
Durrheim, K., Quayle, M. and Dixon, J., 2015. The Struggle for the Nature of “Prejudice”:“Prejudice” Expression as Identity Performance. Political Psychology.
Cragun, R.T. and Sumerau, J.E., 2015. The Last Bastion of Sexual and Gender Prejudice? Sexualities, Race, Gender, Religiosity, and Spirituality in the Examination of Prejudice Toward Sexual and Gender Minorities. The Journal of Sex Research, 52(7), pp.821-834.
Lee, W. and Cunningham, G.B., 2016. Gender, Sexism, Sexual Prejudice, and Identification with US Football and Men’s Figure Skating. Sex Roles,74(9-10), pp.464-471.
Ellemers, N., Rink, F., Derks, B. and Ryan, M.K., 2012. Women in high places: When and why promoting women into top positions can harm them individually or as a group (and how to prevent this). Research in Organizational Behavior, 32, pp.163-187.
Connell, R.W., 2014. Gender and power: Society, the person and sexual politics. John Wiley & Sons.
McIntyre, L., 2013. The practical skeptic: Core concepts in sociology. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
Herek, G.M., 2015. the soCial psyChology of sexual prejudiCe. Handbook of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination, p.355.
Amodio, D.M., 2014. The neuroscience of prejudice and stereotyping. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 15(10), pp.670-682.
Devine, P.G., Forscher, P.S., Austin, A.J. and Cox, W.T., 2012. Long-term reduction in implicit race bias: A prejudice habit-breaking intervention.Journal of experimental social psychology, 48(6), pp.1267-1278.