Patriarchy: The first time my daughter came home and insisted to me that she was a girl as if that was brand-new information, it turned out that a teacher had commented disapprovingly about her short, unstyled hair. “Girls do their hair, mummy,” she had parroted. A short while later, she had preened and twirled as her father told her how pretty the bead-bedecked hair extensions he had taken her to get made her look. That night, even as she complained about how uncomfortable the style was, she asked me if I too thought it was pretty. Not long after that, she developed a fixation with pink tutus and frilly skirts. “Girls wear skirts, mummy,” she would say. I had always known it would happen eventually, but still it shook me that my daughter, at just over two years old, was already internalising social norms around femininity.
When we tell girls to keep quiet so as to be ‘ladylike’, insist that women talk too much, and decry women’s emotionality and lack of logic, we simultaneously reinforce the notion that women are not to be listened to or taken seriously. That belief, for example, contributes to the often subconscious logic of rape apologists who imply that women who speak up about assault are not credible.
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Source: GBV Prevention Network
Author: Olutimehin Adegbeye