As a part of my postgraduate course, I had to write on a series of gender terms that we all have heard or read at some point in our lives. I wanted to share my work as I feel it’s important for all of us to know not only these but all gender related notions floating around in our society and how often we choose to ignore them. The terms are defined unconventionally, along with its respective examples.
1. Asking for it
Meaning- An act where a woman’s character is directly proportional to the ‘length’ of her dress.
Example- Oh c’mon! She is wearing a sports bra in public space. What else did she expect?
2. Body Shaming
Meaning- an act where men and women are judged and mocked because of their physical appearance.
Example- Oh my god! She has stuffed her bra. No way those are her real boobs.
3. Boys will be boys
Meaning- A concept or a green card that allows a man to get away from any kind of wrong/unlawful activity/action
Example- Don’t go out at night. You might attract a boy’s attention, and then you know they’ll have no control over themselves.
Meaning- When you are supposed to ask for permission before trespassing any person’s personal space/body parts.
Example- ‘Are you comfortable spending a night at my apartment?’, a boy asks his girlfriend.
5. Male Gaze
Meaning- a creepy stare by men of all ages which makes a woman feel suffocating and like a non-living creature with no feelings and emotions.
Example- Two boys staring at a woman’s leg in the morning at the Metro.
Meaning- an act where a man thinks a woman is incapable of explaining anything on her own so he has the fundamental right to butt in.
Example- ‘Do you even know anything about football? Better, I’ll explain.’ said a leading sports journalist to his female subordinate who has been in the job for 10 years now.
7. No Means No
Meaning- an act of firmly stating the negatives of a situation as clearly as it could be stated but mostly taken otherwise.
Example- ‘I don’t feel comfortable spending the night with you,’ said a girl to her date.
8. Know your place
Meaning- an illusionary place created in the heads by many who feel the need to tell people where they belong in society.
Example- ‘You are a woman so don’t speak in the financial matters of the house,’ says a husband to his wife.
Meaning- a society for the men, by the men and of the men
Example- Dah! I have given you the ‘independence’ to go out and pursue your dream as your husband.
10. Blaming the victim
Meaning- an act where a person is accountable or responsible for a crime/tragedy that they themselves are a victim of.
Example- Look at how short her dress is. She’s craving for the attention .
Meaning- an act of treating women as a weaker sex against the opposite gender.
Example- You cannot go out at night. It’s not safe for a girl.
Meaning- an act where a woman gets projected as a commodity, exits for their mere pleasure and gawking.
Example-A director says while filming a scene, ‘Focus on her waist, make that a highlight of my film. It’ll sell fast and be a blockbuster’.
Meaning- a free pass that a man thinks he has that will allow him to objectify/tease/harass a woman the way he likes
Example-. *Whistles*, ‘Oh my Janeman! Where are you going? Come and sit in my car and let’s go to Lonavala together’. ’
Meaning- hate against men or seeing all of them as the culprits of wrongdoings. Even though it is committed by just a few, all men look wrong.
Example- No man knows how to respect a woman, and all they care about is how to prove a woman wrong.
Meaning- when a man develops natural hate or dislike towards the opposite gender
Example- You can never become a successful cricketer as you are a woman.
Meaning- an act of treating women like objects for merely pleasure purposes
Example- A man to his friends, 'Look at her tight-fitted body-con dress. Makes her curves pop out wonderfully, doesn't ?
17. Old boys’ club
Meaning- an upper hand that a man gets just because he is a MAN.
Example- Enjoy your promotion, Mr. Batra. Don’t worry, Mrs. Sharma is too young to get it. *wink*
18. Rape Culture
Meaning- an environment where a heinous crime of rape becomes normalized and a matter of little meaning because of the existence of patriarchal society and biased gender norms.
Example- Yes, I heard about Mr. Sharma’s daughter having an unpleasant incident the other night. But what’s done is done, right!
19. Sexual Harassment
Meaning- verbally or physically inappropriate behavior that is offensive and degrading and generally conducted by people in authority towards their subordinates.
Example- A male colleague hugs Mrs. Sharma inappropriately by squeezing her waist.
20. Girl Power
Meaning-a feeling of togetherness and solidarity that women share to feel empowered, confident, and fearless.
Example- When Mrs. Sharma reported a case of sexual harassment against her office college, all women in the office supported her to stand up for herself and acted as her shield.