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5 Patriarchal Values Women Need To Unlearn

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Gloria Steinem once said, “The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.” Learning and unlearning is a constant process. As children, there were certain values ingrained in us by elders. As grown ups, its important to unlearn a lot. We are all victims of the patriarchal setup. It’s the conditioning that prevents us from rejecting the norms.

Admit it or not, women are the worst affected by this conditioning. Despite our repeated efforts, there hasn’t been much development. Though women are now slowly emerging as empowering, we still have a long way to go.  If we look around, we find majority of the community suffering under the clutches of patriarchy. These are the five patriarchal values women need to unlearn right away.

Also Read: Five times friends helped me unlearn my patriarchal conditioning

1. Endurance

Ever since her childhood, a woman is taught to endure. She is told to endure everything from insults to violence. There’s no pride in claiming how much injustice we tolerate. The onus lies on us to unlearn the endurance patriarchy teaches us. If we stop enduring and start acting, change is bound to happen.

2. Silence

This is the most important patriarchal value we have to unlearn. Women need to speak up when need arises. Most of us don’t break the silence thinking that our ‘honour’ will be at stake. It is we who will be shamed and the actual culprits will roam about freely. It’s shocking that most sexual assaults take place within one’s households by one’s own relatives! How many of these cases are actually reported? Almost none. Reason? Women fear raising their voice.

3. Compromise

Stop telling your daughters “Ladki ho, thoda toh compromise karna padega”. Instead, teach them not to compromise at all. Women are always expected to step out of their comfort zone to live a “happily married life.” It’s more difficult than it appears on the surface. Unlearning to compromise is necessary for your own well being.

Also Read: Do Raise Feminist Daughters, But Then Don’t Ask Them To Compromise

4. Sacrifice

Another patriarchal value we are taught as women is sacrifice. What’s worse is that we have accepted sacrifice as a part and parcel of our lives. Ambitious women are told to sacrifice their dreams in order to become “good wives”. Mothers are asked to give up their career because according to our society, working women can’t make good mothers. Unlearning sacrifice will prove to the world that ambitious women are not “incompetent”.

5. Acceptance

While this term does have a few positive implications, it is equally toxic. “Acceptance” doesn’t mean coming to terms with anything and everything. But that is what we teach women. We teach them to accept whatever comes their way, even abuse. Learn to unlearn ‘acceptance’. It’s nothing but a patriarchal value forcefully imposed on you for the convenience of the dominant class.

For the longest of time, we have seen that women endure all that they don’t deserve. They remain silent to ‘protect their honor’. Marriage often becomes an endless tale of compromise and sacrifice for most women. Women also learn to accept everything that is problematic.

We have to now unite to unlearn these and many other patriarchal values holding us back. Dear women, my final note to you is, “Know your worth and never settle for anything less than you deserve.” Together we can and we will unlearn all the values fed to us because of our gender.

Also Read: TikTok Video Romanticising Patriarchal Norms: Why Do We Keep Falling For Them?

Dipanwita is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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