A Woman in a Man’s World

international student voice magazine Its a mans world
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After being stereotyped and cat-called in a very unexpected place, our intern Aditi calls out for a change in how women are treated.

I was on my way to Baltimore with a friend in an eerie taxi. The cab driver asked us for directions and we were a little lost because our geography does not really extend beyond Seneca in the Commons. He instantly shot us a biting retort,

“I have had my experience with women and directions. When my wife starts giving me directions, I just ask her to spare me the horror.”

My friend and I were enraged and wanted to shoot back a snide remark on masochism in Egypt (he was from Egypt). I am not myopic and I do understand that all stereotypes do have a basis, but forming prejudices on stereotypical premises is a true mark of an imbecile.

I am not an angry feminist, I am not a women’s studies major, I am just someone begging for some basic sensibility in the minds of the men of the world. It is not a far-fetched statement when I say that more than half of the problems which plague our world today will disappear if men start treating women with some amount of respect. Moreover, the degree of respect we lobby for is not something that needs to be begged for- treating a woman like a regular human being is not doing anyone a favor. It is not something extraordinary and virtuous to accept the fact that you do not rule the world just because you wear the pants.

This is not a rambling rant because I have run out of things to write about. I have reason enough to be furious Ladies & Gentlemen- I attended a conference on the Status of Women in New York earlier this month and on my way to the commission, I got cat-called. I got cat-called not in a dingy alley in downtown Manhattan. This happened by the UN headquarters where people are ostensibly civilized.

Most ministers and delegates at this conference talked about economic liberation and education as the overarching solution to elimination of gender biases and sexual harassment across the world. However, what then, must be the solution to the grotesque sleaziness that women deal with in the educated pockets of the world? Sexual abuse is not something which happens only in Latin American countries, West African nations and the Middle East. It happens every single day in the subways of New York cities. It happens to women who work on Wall Street. It happens in the best schools in the USA. It happens at Cornell University.

The problem is more than uneducated ruffians allowed to run around loose in the streets of backward nations. It is entrenched in a way of thinking. The fact that we let the way fraternities rank or rate sororities affect our perspectives, is disturbing on several levels. It is a draconian world where you cannot be “ugly” because you must conform to the fascist ideals of beauty prescribed by men and you cannot even be “attractive” because that places you in peril when you walk back home from the libraries late at night. This way of thinking is simply absurd and cannot be justified by any stretch of imagination. There is and cannot be no such thing as legitimate rape and the legislators (who are incidentally mostly men) need to comprehend that.

As a woman, I do not want affirmative action, legislative sub-quotas or protective curfews. All I am advocating for is for the men of the world to expand the measure of their sensitivity beyond that of a teaspoon. I ask them to see women as more than the subject of male fantasies because they are more than that. We all know that is not too much to ask for at all and no one needs to ask for it in the first place.

international student voice AditiArticle written by ISV Blogger Aditi Bhowmick





View these statistics about sexual violence in the United States provided by RAINN

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4 thoughts on “A Woman in a Man’s World

  1. Very nice article. Thank you for sharing. This is a serious issue. In order to solve the issue, I believe we need to know what is the source of this issue. What is the original cause that is making happen this problem with men and women. The first of most sources of men treating women like that might be the way media portrays women. How many movies and songs there are the way media educates people how to treat women? In other words, if we pay attention to the lyrics of today’s songs, to the languages in the movies, including dirty websites available for people, is this the way to demand respect of men for women?
    Also, the way they make clothing for women nowadays? Why women obey and buy clothing which are being sold in the malls, half open, which portrays women almost like naked when they walk on the street. Women also should not obey to the brainwashed goods and services offered in shopping malls because that also portray women in a degrading level.

    1. I really agree to the fact that we need to know the source of the issue and to the reasoning you have given above.
      On the issue of women’s clothing nowadays that you raised, I also agree with you. I’ve noticed a few things (and I could be biased) but I find it ironic that these women see it as “liberation” to dress with as little coverage as they possibly can, demand the world to see them as “attractive” and yet cannot comprehend why men around them have turned into sexual mongrels.
      Of course I’m not talking about the mentally, morally deficient cases but keep in mind that in this world, the word “sexual harassment” though covers a wide spectrum, always conjures the extreme case- rape, insinuating that men are the ones that are in power, the ones taking away women’s power. My point is that:
      I’m myself an educated, heterosexual man and I don’t feel it justified to just blame it on “men”- I too feel sexually harassed every time a woman walks down the street with her black hookerish eyeliners.

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