It is a man’s world

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It is a man’s world.

I sit on the sofa, my baby cooing and gurgling in the bassinet in front of me. A phone conversation happens in the kitchen that I hear snippets of. I hear laughter and gossip. I hear recipes being exchanged. Then I hear something that makes me sit up.

“Penn porandhapla irrukum” transliterated it means “It will be like having a girl child”

The idiom is used without malice. It is a figure of speech that has probably seen a million repetitions spanning three generations. Something that has its origin in the days when girls were treated like property. To be bartered. Or given away. Of no value to the parents who begat them.

I look at my still cooing daughter and it hits me. Sexism hides in everyday phrases. Masking itself in quotes, idioms, expressions, words.

I begin to interject. To have this conversation on why we should stop using them. Then I pause.

I remember something that happened a week back. I was watching Frozen. In the end when Anna stands frozen and Elsa is about to be killed, I wait for Kristof to come rescue both sisters and kiss Anna proving that his true love brings her back. I remember being pleasantly surprised when none of the clichéd endings happen. I remember going to bed with a smile.

See, I shouldn’t have to feel this way. Anna saving her sister should have been as normal as Kristof riding in to save the two of them. There should have been no feelings of elation because girls are capable of taking care of themselves. It is seared in our psyche. Burned into our brains. These sexist notions. It is not just the patriarchy that surrounds us. It is also us women who buy into this system. Like when we feel guilt over pursuing a career while outsourcing house work elsewhere. Or when we load the freezer with food before traveling away. Or feel pride in handling taxes or finances. Or feel guilt at being the primary breadwinner.

It is embedded in our everyday life. In our thinking. In our actions. Till that changes, it will be a man’s world.


This is my entry to day twelve of Writing 101 at The Daily Post.

7 comments

  1. Love it! I carry a lot of guilt for many of the reasons you mentioned. I need to let it go! In the words of Elsa 🙂

    • I hear ya. Too often am quick to blame society but of late realize there is a lot to unlearn before I can teach my daughters to own the world they live in.

  2. Amen. I am so full of the guilt, although I seethe at it. My daughter thankfully is growing without any such stereotypical notions. I will keep it that way as long as I can.
    No, phrases such as “ponnu porandapula” will NOT pass without a fight in our household.

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