| Opinion | Malaysia | 1 July 2017 | Asia Samachar |
I was a misogynist. I always thought I was smarter and better than any of my female classmates. They came into my life at the age of puberty, after I had been in an all boys school my whole primary schooling life. They were considered alien initially, but soon they became competitors and we (my school mates and myself) couldn’t handle losing to them. It wasn’t blatant, but we never thought of them equals, let alone superior, than us in school.
I was brought up in a traditional family model. My mom was a housewife, proud of keeping her home in wonderful condition, and chastised food not cooked at home. My father was the more intellectual one, confident and proud of his achievements, contrasting with the quiet nature of my mother who never progressed her studies after secondary school. She was dutiful, loyal and obedient. And their marriage never faltered. My childhood had very little to cry about, I was always taken care of and was happy.
It was with this canvass that I naturally and slowly, but surely, became the image of my father, confident and proud. And that my would-be partner or wife would be somewhat in the image of Mom, quiet and dutiful.
And so the misogynistic nature in me carried on until I started dating, when I fell in and out of love with girls better than being just equals with me. It was a conflicting time. But a lot was learned. Then, it was pressure to be better not because of the fear of being inferior, but because of some deluded thinking that being superior was more of an attractive proposition to courting them.
By the time I got married, I had come to terms with being equal with the woman I fell in love with. I embraced it because it was easy to fall in love with someone who could do things as well as you, think like you and even more.
I met my soul mate and I realized then and there that she’s not this image of a wife or future mother to my children that I’ve envisioned all my life. A vision based on my childhood. I understood that you can only reciprocate love when you see your partner as an equal or more. Otherwise, it’s a bargain without compromise with you always thinking you should get the best deal.
Like most young couples of my generation, we cooked and cleaned together, did everything together in the same manner. This, was something of a taboo for many Punjabi men the generation before. Even when there were evidently many successful Punjabi career women in the last generation who brought up families at the same time.
But, by the time my eldest of 3 girls started to compete in school, particularly in sports, with her male schoolmates, I was all for the fairer sex being superior mentally, physically and emotionally. This belief further entrenched into my psyche when my 2nd daughter was fast becoming a skilful and rough footballer herself. There is no joy like seeing your daughter run faster and tackle harder than the boys playing on the field.
Then, it dawned upon me. My parents had also attempted to raise my sister to grow up into a confident, independent and strong willed woman. Just like I’m now doing with my daughters now. My parents were driven to make sure she was equipped as much as possible to achieve as much as she could. She was instilled with the same beliefs, and she was taught to act and behave as to be not inferior to any man.
I now find it weird that I had grown up in a household believing that I would settle down with a woman very much like my traditional quiet mother, while my sister grew up believing that she was equal or better than whoever she would settle down with. There’s a disconnect here somewhere.
Anyway, life is the best of teachers. And my evolution from being a misogynist to someone who now sees and believes that the fairer sex is equal or even better than me in any aspect of our lives is on the right track now.
* This is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
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