Open and hold your car door for ladies, during lunch or dinner pull out the chair for them before you sit, offer your seat to them in crowded city bus or train, these are few tips offered to men who wish to behave like a true gentlemen (?). It is also said that true gentlemen treat women as a woman, I guess this means give them very special treatment for sure but definitely doesn't mean treat them as equal. While these etiquettes might make women feel special, privileged or even happy on these occasions, but according to me these etiquettes are gender biased. They are examples of positive gender discrimination (where women are getting special or preferred treatment just because of their gender). Superficially there doesn't seem anything wrong in it, they all look so well mannered, good intentioned and very respectful also but such minor incidents slowly sow the seed of discrimination in people's mind. Because of some of these things some men get impression that women are different (or special or weak who always need help) and they should be treated somewhat differently (that is like woman). But then these people also expect that women should behave like woman, because they are special and different than men (inferior, weaker, less capable, etc.). These are the men who get surprised or even feel shocked when women demand equality.
Gender discrimination like any other discrimination can be either positive (where some person is offered special treatment just because of their gender) or negative (where person is discriminated just because of their gender). Men and women both are victims of this type of discrimination. But whenever men or women face positive discrimination, that is when they get any special treatment just because of their gender normally they don't complain. I see most men and women enjoy this type of special treatment offered to them but when it becomes negative discrimination they start complaining. Any type of discrimination (positive or negative) should be questioned, because if you tolerate one type (positive) then people expect you to tolerate other type of discrimination (negative) also. Some families treat boys differently than girls, boys are allowed to go out more frequently, they can stay out late, drink or even smoke after certain age but similar things are not allowed for girls. Boys often don't see anything wrong in this preferred treatment, they don't complain for this special treatment but then same families expect boys to outperform girls in every competition, he is expected to work and earn living for his entire family (bread earner), he needs to be strong under all circumstances, after all he is the man of family...the savior, the protector, bread earner, etc. All these expectations put tremendous pressure on them, they are expected to perform and succeed not to fail or show any weakness. In any sexual crime men are considered as obvious offenders (statistically they are in most of cases, but the problem is it is assumed even before any investigation), and without realizing some men suffer because of their gender. Some males who don't fit in this mold struggle, feel guilty or even get ridiculed by society (for not being real man). I have written about discrimination and bias against women in some posts before so I won't go into details about that. The truth is both genders get special treatment and then also get discriminated just because of their gender. I think both these things are wrong, once we accept one thing (special treatment or positive discrimination) then the other thing (negative discrimination) comes along with it.
Why women need to be treated any differently than men under any normal circumstances? What couple does during their date is their personal matter but to make these gender biased etiquettes a general thing is wrong. Women can open car doors themselves, pull their own chair and they can also stand like any other normal passenger in train or bus. I have seen many ladies politely rejecting seat offered to them just because they are women (by saying that they are fine and don't mind standing). There are reserved seats for ladies in trains and buses in India but there is altogether different reason for that, I think everyone who has traveled in crowded buses and trains in India know why ladies are offered reserved seats or reserved compartments. But I think we don't need any reserved seats just for ladies anywhere, in special cases like pregnant women people (both men and women) should be courteous enough to offer them their seats. Women are capable of taking care of themselves they don't need others (men) support specially in a way that makes them feel that they are weaker sex. I hope that more and more women reject this type of special treatment offered to them just because of their gender. Equality comes with some price, it's not a free thing. Equality also comes with some responsibility and struggle, if women want to claim that they are equal to men they need to behave like one. They need to reject all special treatment offered to them just because of their gender. They need to say that they don't need special treatment but need equality. They need to fight for their rights, it might com with loss of all this special treatment but I am sure equality is far better than any special treatment which comes at the cost of equality.
Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.
[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]