If you Google ‘the oppression of women’, you get a staggering 28.2 million results. That’s the scale of its existence on the Internet. We’re lucky that women in Malaysia aren’t exposed to the same level of oppression as in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia, but that doesn’t mean gender oppression doesn’t exist.
Take the recent brouhaha about national gymnast and gold medalist Farah Ann Abdul Hadi showing her vajayjay in a (God forbid!) leotard. If that’s the type of attention Malaysian female athletes get, it’s no surprise that progress can only go so far.
Something similar happened before when I was in high school. I went to a rather-conservative Chinese school (in Kelantan, mind you) and as you know, Form 6 uniforms are different from conventional Malaysian secondary school uniforms. Instead of the blue pinafore, we wore a white shirt and a blue A-line skirt.
One day, an announcement was made, making it compulsory for female students to wear only nude-coloured bras under their white shirts. The reason? A male teacher had complained that it was a distraction to have girls wearing bright-coloured bras.
A distraction? To whom?
That remains unanswered, but we all know where (or who) our collective fingers are pointing at. Which brings me to the main discussion at hand. As modern women, why should we allow ourselves to be on the receiving end of such injustice?
Women shouldn’t say what’s on their minds.
I know a lot of women who, instead of directly telling people what they want, prefer to beat around the bush to Himalaya and back, in hopes that others (esp. men) guess what they want. I think that’s a load of bull. I’ve since learnt that people (esp. men) don’t get all the elaborate pomp and circumstance that’s often associated with female hinting. If you want something, you’d better speak up. From having half of that last piece of chicken on the plate, to going to your restaurant of choice for your anniversary dinner. “Anywhere you like, dear” with an underlying/unspoken hope that he’ll suddenly realize you want to go to Cantaloupe won’t cut it.
Women should wait for the guy to ask her out.
Refer to point made above.
Women shouldn’t be too forthcoming or direct.
Refer to point made above. You can be forthcoming without coming off as rude. Picture shown is an example of how not to act.
Women shouldn’t wear men’s clothes/fragrances.
If you want to wear a man’s shirt, wear it. If you smell a man’s scent you like (from the bottle, not on the man, because that’s just creepy), buy it. Who’s to say that you can’t because you’re not a man? Personally I prefer men’s T-shirts because the slogans are less inspirational and are often more angsty/ranty, and thank god for small-sized men because I can now get men’s tees in my size. Never allow other people to dictate what you should or should not wear. Asking for an opinion is fine, because you can just brush it aside and ignore that you asked for one.
Women should stay at home and raise their children.
I know many single (unmarried) women who have successful careers one could only dream of. Whoever said that single women are lonely couldn’t have been more wrong. Often it’s the other way around, although men will never get around to admitting it. I’ve seen so many women who revel in the beauty of just living the way they want without having to cope with the stress of wifehood or motherhood. Of course, everything boils down to personal choices, but as a woman, you should never get pressured into making decisions that you are not ready for.
Women shouldn’t wear too much makeup.
Dude, I wear my lipstick and my eyeliner whenever and however I want. And if you have a problem with that, you should talk to my hand.
All hail the female rebel, and she doesn’t take any nonsense from other people.
(Images: chicagonow.com, sodahead.com, flickr.com, eonline.com, express.co.uk, beastlygentleman.com, wisegeek.com, femaleintel.com)