A recent thread on Twitter called #ShareYourRejection has prompted authors, actors and artists to share their rejection stories. Many are also revealing how rejection shaped their approach to their craft or affected their mindset. But all these are professional or personal stories of love and dating, which were monumental and shaped someone’s identity or career. However, there is also another kind of rejection the “everyday rejections” which women in India face. These are comparatively smaller rejections but they consistently pull us down, morally, personally, professionally and socially. These nays clip our wings and try to show us our place in the social hierarchy. But are they so so small that we don’t even notice them?
Rejections on the basis of gender
Women facing rejections in our country on an everyday basis are so commonplace, that they have become acceptable.
It is acceptable to reject a girl during a matrimonial proposal on the basis of her skin tone. Or to pass over her for a promotion just because she is pregnant and will eventually go on a long leave. Or even reject her say in a household decision concerning her. We all face it, one way or the other. What is worrying is that we have come to assume these rejections to be a natural part of our existence.
- Artists, actors and celebs are recounting the rejections they faced in life on Twitter, which affected them.
- However, there are everyday rejections that we as Indian women face because of our gender.
- These rejections hold us down in life, and also affect our confidence and self-worth.
Dr Lisa Chako, who is a professor and post-graduate guide at a dental college in Sangamner, recalls facing rejection because of her skin tone. For her despite being qualified and leading a professional’s life, the sense of rejection lingers on. “In my teens I was teased for my skin tone. It did affect me, as I never ever thought differently about my own looks or skin. Somewhere it made me think that our society rejected a particular skin tone. I tried to leave it behind and moved on as I always focussed on my work. But it lingered on and off even later in my life,” she said.
If you are a woman in India, you are bound to face these mundane rejections.
Aditi Kher, a housewife from Sagaur, Madhya Pradesh says, “It is not uncommon for men to reject women’s opinion and suggestions because they are taught from the beginning that women are not as intelligent or practical as they are.”
This rejection hurts a woman’s self-worth. They begin doubting their own judgement. This bias also percolates into professional conduct in our country. People reject women in service because they feel their gender makes them ineligible for a certain job profile. Shweta Dharap, who works as a learning partner with Perfex Learning Solutions in Pune recalls, “Couple of times clients have come back saying that they would prefer a male trainer because their sales team is 100% males and from diverse geography… And they feared that a female trainer may find it difficult to manage. On some occasions we were able to convince the client that I would be able to manage well and got very good feedback too. But on one or two occasions we had to get a male trainer.”
These rejections are however reflections of deep and disturbing misogyny which plagues our society. By and large it opines that women are inferior to men.
Women are so used to such rebuff today, that they have in many cases internalized it. We need to raise our voices against these everyday rejections. No one deserves to be rejected on the basis of their gender or their skin tone. No one has the right to reject our opinions or decisions just because we are women. It is about time we put our foot down and take these everyday rejections which stem from gender bias head on. But where do we start. Dr Chako has a perfect answer, “Just believe in your strength and start by accepting your own abilities/inabilities and worth.”
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.