I am not going to lie, today's blog is heavily influenced by a recent story in the media. A distinguished female athlete said she had been raped years ago when she was starting her career by someone working in the national federation. I will not talk about this though. I want to talk to men about facts concerning women.
So here's a few facts men possibly don't know about women. Until recently, when a woman was born, she was not considered 'heir' as she could not pass the family name to her children. In recent years, this has changed and the woman can actually give her last name to her children but it is frowned upon and always causes raised eyebrows as it's not 'the usual way'.
Growing up, women are criticised by society and often their family for playing sports like football, basketball or being into cars, computers and other 'manly' trades. God forbid a woman likes plumbing, there must be something wrong with her! And don't even get me started about travelling the world or following a profession different than what the family has in mind!
In some cultures, women cannot go to University, vote, show their hair, have a say in who they marry, are not allowed to work or have a career or express an opinion. And just because it doesn't happen in your culture, doesn't mean it doesn't happen somewhere else in the world.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is the procedure where the woman's external genitalia is cut or removed. This practice is usually found in countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. There is no medical reason for this. They just do it because it's a local ritual. They do it to women. All the time.
What a woman wears cannot be too revealing, too short, too shiny or too much. The shoes cannot be too high or fancy, the hair needs to be neat but not 'salon styled' when she goes to work and the make up light if it's daytime.
If a woman cannot or will not have children, she is useless. There's no reason for her to get married because she will not give her husband offsprings. If a woman doesn't get married, she's a spinster. If a woman sleeps with too many men, she's a whore. If a woman gets a divorce and wants to remarry, she is 'used goods'.
When a woman walks down the street, she cannot look a man in the eye, it's too provoking. If it's dark, a woman needs to have someone with her to make sure she's safe. If a woman wants to go out for drinks, she risks getting groped by a stranger in the crowd. If a stranger touches a woman and she complains, it is not a big deal, it happens.
I will not even talk about pay gap or sex discrimination in the workplace. These subjects are too broad and I am not an expert. But I can tell you with certainty that all of the above are facts. They are the things we choose to ignore and not talk about openly. They are the things we need to change, if we work together. And by together, I mean women and men.
So next time you find yourself in a situation where you need to decide about something related to a woman, make the right decision. The only decision. Do not make a decision based on society's norms and expectations. We do not come to this world to provide order and predictability in society. We come to live our lives free from violence and discrimination.