KATHMANDU, Oct 31: Let me get this straight first. I am not a hardcore feminist. I do not support reservation and quotas for women. I believe they are capable enough to compete with their male counterparts, be it in the matter of education, employment or politics.
However, it does upset me to see that the paradigms of our society and people’s mentality haven’t changed no matter how much the society has progressed. No matter what the level of education they receive, no matter where they study, men’s perception of women and how they ‘ought to be’ has not changed and, perhaps, will never change.
The stereotypes against women are still the same and it is hard to try to uproot them. I don’t know if I should be mad or sympathetic about the situation but it is depressing.
I recently asked a bunch of my so-called ‘well-educated’ guy friends if they would want to marry a smart or a dumb girl. To my disgrace, they answered a dumb girl.
Further inquiry into why would they choose so led to the answer that they would rather prefer someone quiet, humble and preferably ‘unemployed’ women so that they can stay at home, make dinner for them and take care of their children! I was shocked to hear them say so.
I felt like I was hearing an answer not from my friends of my age, but from a survey done in 18th century! Even the friends I consider ‘smart’ said that they wouldn’t mind an employed women but they should not have a higher degree of education than they do. Most of them added “smart girls attract me but not for a long term relationship. Their smartness will start to ‘annoy’ me!”
I was dumb-founded! I was like seriously? Would you rather rephrase your statement with ‘intimidate’ instead of ‘annoy’? I was aggravated to hear their response.
Even some of my friends who study in the States replied somewhat the same answer. They would come back to Nepal and marry a decent girl especially a ‘virgin’, because they would not want to marry a girl who studied in the States because they would doubt the girl’s ‘purity’. I wanted to smack them hard right here in their faces.
How can you say that when you yourself go out every Friday night to sleep with a random white girl? If I hear this from someone studying in a good school in Kathmandu and even the States, what shall I expect from men who grow up in rural areas? If this trend persists when is this thread going to be break?
I feel helpless when I can hardly do anything than vent my anger. I just pray to God to help them burst their bubble of ignorance. I want to end with a poem that sums up my feelings dedicated to all the men who feel the same way.
Oh naïve men,
I pity your ignorance
I fail to realize
That haughty arrogance
Its respect she needs
Not your sympathy
Still trying to discern
The reason behind your apathy
Are you intimidated by her intelligence?
Or is it submissiveness that you seek?
Don’t misapprehend her silence
As being feeble and meek
I will pray to the lord to bless you
To widen your narrow frame of mind
Erase your false image of supremacy
And enlightenment is what you’ll find…
The writer is an Undergraduate student at Providence College.