We often misconstrue the word respect with definitions that suit our convenience rather than what it really embodies. Almost all men, or most of them, when asked, will tell you they respect women. I do not doubt all of them. Yet, it’s hard to overlook the consensus of women, who confine the lack of respect even in relationships. In fact, the irony lies in the evident fact that men tend to be most disrespectful to the women in their lives, the ones closest to them.
And before we get all defensive, let’s try and understand what respect really means. It is the deep admiration we have towards a person for their abilities, qualities, and their achievements. It sounds simple! Now let’s look at the women in our lives and homes, and recount how many times we have even acknowledged their contributions, leave alone, admired them for it. The show of hands certainly takes a plunge!
Allow me to enlist just a few incidents and actions that have left the women in our lives feeling disrespected.
Taking Our Women for Granted
This behavior of our takes root from the time we are kids. The love of a mother can, and is, taken for granted wherein we replace respect with familiarity, blurring this fine line and resulting in a total disregard for the things we are given. From the food on the table to the clean clothes, and the unending demands that are met with, how many times do we acknowledge the gesture? It is almost always taken for granted that these are meant to be done for us.
Inequality in Our Treatment of Women
By inequality, I do not just mean fair wages and employment opportunities. I refer to the issues closer to our lives. Our disrespect for our women is evident in the way we stereotype the responsibilities that our women are expected to take regardless of their commitments to work and life. The most noticeable example is the high number of women being the primary caregiver to their newborn.
- Respecting our women would imply we share equally in the duties of parenthood.
Our Conforming to Social Norms
The idea that women confine to the societal definitions of decency and expression of thoughts is baffling. We expect our women to behave a certain way, dress according to what the society considers safe, and be acceptable.
- Respect for a woman should not be determined by her choices in life. She should be respected regardless of whether you approve of her choices or not.
Our Inability to Take a Stand
The number of crimes inflicted on women, from sexual assault to acid attacks, rape, and molestation, are on a constant rise. The lack of respect on the part of men is blatantly expressed in their indecision to stand up for those suffering.
- Respect is incomplete without our support for women in the fight for just a cause.
Our Disregard for Their Perspectives
We have, many times, felt opposed and disrespected when women contradict us. We forget that women have the right to agree or disagree just like we do.
- To misinterpret submission and agreeableness as a show of respect is deranged, to say the least. Yet, it is so widely prevalent that most men don’t even notice the senility behind it.
Women do not require our respect to survive; they need it as a right. The mutual co-existence of the two sexes can be harmonious not only when we men accept and acknowledge the role of women in our lives but also when respect them for their person. It is not a difficult task, but certainly an important one.