Building a Brave New World
“Words can be like x-rays if you use them properly, they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” - Aldous Huxley
I am usually not one for dystopian fiction. Simply because I like looking forward to a world that is just, equal, happy and hopeful. But some part of me also feels a sense of comfort in dystopia, a sense of belonging, identity and affinity (if you’d like to put it that way?). I am no man-hater, don’t get me wrong. But let’s take a minute to do the famous close your eyes and picture experiment. Close your eyes, picture a doctor, a lawyer, an astronaut, a driver, an investment banker. Now honestly tell me, were these people all men?
There, and just there, lies the problem.
We’ve all been conditioned to take the word ‘man’ as the general term associated with ‘human being’, and I think it is fair to point this out, because a little over half the world consists of women! I remember reading this article by BBC in which it spoke about women not having spacesuits that were costumed to fit their bodies, car crash dummies that were all ‘male bodies’ so women stood a percentage higher chance of serious injury and smartphones that have HUUUGE screens that are just not comfortable for women to use. But you might think, “Hey this is something that doesn’t happen to me on a daily basis.” Let me stop you right there. When I was around 14 years old, my mother decided to buy a new car. So we booked test drives with multiple car companies and post all the quick drives we took, our hearts fell for the Maruti Suzuki SX4. We had almost decided to go ahead with booking the vehicle when she came across the tagline for this model. Maruti Suzuki SX4 - Men are Back
I didn’t see the problem, because I thought it was a really cool thing to say. But for a woman who was funding her own vehicle, my mother would not take this discrimination. This one statement had altered her decision completely. I never understood why it even mattered, but today as I write this account, it is so blatantly NOT COOL!
And that’s the thing! All things powerful, cool, sporty - are all associated with men.
But, things are changing for the better. People are embracing more gender neutral communication, and the word feminist is not hated all that much anymore. Feminism as a word stands for equality of genders and not for the want for power of women over men. Just as the word Mankind stands for humanity, and not just for male members of society. But this takes time for all of us to understand. Years of doing something one way conditions us into the false comfort of being right. But is that necessarily correct? I’d let you answer that for yourself.
“Ignoring is not the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.” - Margaret Atwood
I simply love this quote. It reminds me that we have stopped ignoring these ‘minor inconveniences’. Like making languages (such as French) less sexist with ‘inclusive writing’, tailoring sport equipment to encourage more women, making workspaces more women friendly. But there's far more to be achieved, like paying women the same as men, encouraging women to take up more positions of power, men helping around the house and bringing up children to play with gender neutral toys. Even encouraging more female superheroes as idols in society (throwback to when Wonder Woman saved the DC film cinematic universe).
But, change is on her way, with empowering communities and content based safe-spaces built by women, for women, like Basis, a platform that empowers women to make impactful, independent decisions with the help of supportive communities, expert advice and relevant, actionable & jargon-free content.
So it is safe to say that change is indeed on her way and when she finally arrives, which she will, we will ultimately have a brave new world!
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