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5 things the patriarchy taught us that we need to unlearn, yesterday!

Let's do this, let's crush the patriarchy and unlearning them, outdated patriarchal norms...

The other day while unearthing my childhood books, I came across some textbooks and my 4th grade composition book from back in the 90s, both of which came as quite a revelation.

In my notebook I found a piece written – in crooked cursive – titled ‘My Family’. I had written something on the lines of; “My brother is learning how to wear his tie and be a good businessman.” While I seemed pleased with myself for having accomplished some baking expedition I was on, thus validating my prowess as a good girl in the family. The text books on the other hand, had consistent images of moms clad in aprons and the dads in their suits and ties.  

Come to think of it, there was no dearth of patriarchal references in our lives as kids. References that established the set gender roles in our minds – dads as breadwinners and moms as homemakers. And that is just the tip of the ice berg! Patriarchy is so ingrained in our culture that its biases and prejudices make us judge – even attack – anyone who doesn’t fit in our definition of normal.  

We, the young adults therefore need to subvert this patriarchy, for a better and more objective tomorrow. However strong the patriarchal myths and prejudices; we must dismantle patriarchy one norm at a time…

Let’s take time to explore our identities and embrace it

Androgyny may be trending in the fashion circuits these days but the world at large is far from accepting it. Gender identity is an important aspect of our social fabric and while we have come a long way from being completely biased towards the transgender, we still have a long way to go. Trans phobia is real and we need to break away from the patriarchy that forces people to be who they are not.

Most times our social assumptions are so strong; we don’t accept people that are beyond our understanding. If a man or a woman does not confirm to our gender laws, we tend to outcast them. That two people of the same sex can fall in love, is beyond us! A person choosing his/her own gender – different from their allotted one at birth, is not acceptable. Let’s learn to unlearn that. Let’s give and take the freedom to explore who we are – our sexuality and our sexual orientation and be comfortable with it.

Let’s not internalize gender roles

However enlightened and gender neutral our society may seem, the patriarchal norms around gender roles still continue to haunt us. Our culture continues to value masculinity over femininity and the same has been drilled into our psyche. Even our cartoons aren’t sacred of this patriarchal depiction of gender. Remember Dexter’s mom in her apron? Even though women today run the boardrooms with as much prowess as they run homes; men are still associated with power and control while women are associated with emotions and weakness.

Even though most of our moms work, we still grow up with the notion that mom is responsible for home and dads are in charge of the more serious, monetary and life decisions. Don’t believe it? Why then do we still have domestic violence cases being filed? Next on our unlearning list therefore, is how we perceive gender roles. Women and men are equally strong and weak; they deserve equal opportunities and are equally capable in every measure.

Let’s question everything and voice our opinion

Our patriarchy endorses control over oppressed and marginalized groups. Patriarchy affects all genders equally; with its oppressive stance, its sexism, classism, intolerance and more. Our culture has a history of oppressing those without power; be it women, minorities or the under privileged.

“As teens you can do a lot to challenge stereotypes! Make mental notes of what is being said about how girls should dress, how boys shouldn’t cry, how women are projected as trophies and men are projected as players. Now is the age when you can open your eyes and choose to question the status quo with a critical eye” our in-house Therapist Avanti Malhotra tells us.  

For those of us that are lucky enough to have an education, internet and more importantly a voice; we must learn to question any and everything before we blindly accept it as part of the system. Even when we get an answer, we must align it with what is right and wrong and not just agree with what the patriarchy decides is alright. That way, we will have played our part in building a better, rational world.  

Let’s recognize hypocrisy and not be immune to it

First, we are denied proper sex education because it is not the most ‘sanskari’ thing to talk about.  So, we are expected to figure out ‘sex’ on our own. Only after marriage of’ course! Sex education in schools is either inexistent or superficial and no one entertains our sex queries. Porn is officially banned because again, morals and values.

Having said that, we teenagers are sexualized all the time! Both genders face sexual assault in our society, street harassment is so common they won’t even report it if someone masturbated at you. Women of all ages suffer sex abuse and somehow no one seems to see it as a patriarchal issue. This contradictory attitude is incredibly harmful for us. It’s time we stood up against this hypocrisy and learnt to normalize the sex talk. The more we normalize this sex talk, the less provocative it will be.    

Let’s count our blessings but not allow them to dismiss our problems

As teenagers our mental health issues are not an attempt to seek attention. Our problems are just as real as the adult problems. It is important to know it and be able to say it. Our opinions and interests can’t be dismissed as fads. Our opinions count because they will shape the world of tomorrow.   

That said, we must also make sure we don’t exploit the privileges that the patriarchy has awarded us with. We must own up to our privileges and unearned advantages. We must not exploit them. It is important that we don’t tweak patriarchy to suit our personal benefit.    

 

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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NEXT STORY


10 fun things to do after a break up

We asked some teenagers about how they coped after their break-up, and here is what they did:

Maybe, one fine day, you will look back and laugh at the break-up you are going through. But right now, the end of a relationship feels like the end of the world! Oh, the bucket list of things that you guys were supposed to do together; travel around the world, attend music festivals, eat exotic food and so much more.

The good news is that you can still do all these things, alone or with someone else. The bad news is that you still have a broken heart (figuratively) that is constantly reminding you of your ex, and you just cannot seem to get them out of your head. 
Try these out:

1. Watch a movie in a language you don’t understand
Don’t we all love the minions? Partly because they walk and talk gibberish. Similarly, watching a movie in another language can be a fun(ny) experience. 

2. Take weird pictures of yourself and paste it on your wardrobe
Stretch your nose up in the air and click a selfie or stick your tongue out and squeeze your eyeballs together. Become a clown! 

3. Create a break-up playlist and grieve in Bollywood style
Become the protagonist of your life, and cry as if there is no tomorrow. We’re not saying chest slapping, but sliding down a wall is acceptable.

4. Post a killer display picture
Maybe it’s time to tell the Internet that you’re single, which will require you to change your profile picture. Make sure, it’s hot!

5. 100 jumping jacks
There is something calming about flapping your arms and jumping in unison. Is playing Batman soundtrack in the background helpful?

6. Take some love from your dog
Research suggests that playing with pets makes one happier. Go, give and receive some love from pets.

7. Make moustaches on your photographs together
Now what do we do with those old pictures? Use your creative skills and draw horns or snouts.

8. Talk to a complete stranger about your break up
Sometimes, opening your heart out to a stranger can be life-changing. No fear of judgment!

9. Lie on the floor and do a shell hug
Give yourself some love by hugging yourself.

10. Conjure a fictional revenge plan
It can be immensely pleasurable to conjure ways to make your ex’s life hell. However, try to keep these plans in your mind. 

If you have gone through a break-up and would like to share more ways to deal with the situation, post in the comments below.

Also, if you feel that you cannot take the emotional stress of dealing with a break-up, you can e-mail your worries to our in-house expert. 

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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