At first it usually shows itself as seemingly benign jokes featuring women’s deficiencies, but soon you realise that behind the jokes there is a whole reality of ways in which women are being failed by our society. Mind you, men aren’t the only ones to blame for this – all society is to blame. It is so innate in our families that few would be bothered to see that girls help their mother with house chores while boys do not. Did the previous sentence bother you? If it didn’t, it goes to show how “normal” it is for us to assume that the mother should be doing the chores at home!
The problem lies deep in our psych: if the house is a mess it is the woman who feels responsible even if she is working a full time job. If a guest visits such a house, it is also the woman who gets the blame. She is supposed to be the expert of cleanliness and her primary care in the world should be the upkeep of the house. Moreover, if the house is well kept the woman does not get any praise – that is simply her duty – but if a man does something to help, maybe even babysitting the children while his wife cleans the house, then he is praised!
I know the times are changing fast: up till our grandmothers’ time it was considered great if your husband didn’t hit you and provided for you and your children. Still, this is no excuse to continue with the current frame of mind. I am not referring only to housework of course. For me it is shocking that in this day and age my wife (and other women I know) feels uncomfortable walking down streets in village cores because men would invariably stare and pass comments.
What is even more discomforting is that if one complains about this sort of harassment, many would say that this should rather be flattering and is to be taken as a compliment! Isn’t the unfairness of the situation clear here? Why should I as a man be able to walk down the streets or catch a bus unnoticed but as a woman have to feel scrutinised and gazed at? Unfortunately, while most of us may look down on countries where women have to cover themselves, it seems we are not really much better off.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg! There are much deeper issues such as men who remain immature and childish in their relationships while their wives have to act also as their mothers. This is not to mention how little understood many women feel from their husbands and how little support they get in rearing the children.
While my claims are based on numerous personal observations, I wish I could back them up by hard statistics – which unfortunately do not seem to exist for Malta. In this context, I am proposing the poll question further below.
I may not be sure I depicted a fair picture of the way our society treats women, but I feel quite confident that if there is such a thing as a weaker sex, it is definitely not the female one.