Women as a socially defined term

By Dara Sovan

A woman is like a sheet, so white and so pure, until it is painted with colors that it changes shapes.©Pixabay/2016/Fotocitizen

Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.

In the past, the term ‘woman’ was used as synonyms for ‘submissiveness’ and ‘inferiority’. People tended to associate this term with enfeeblement, just so to condone the glorification of male dominance in the society.

Little did they know, the label had such power that women themselves started to accept and embrace their ‘weaknesses’ and ‘submissiveness’. Women were used as prizes for combat, a reproduction machine for continuing the blood line, and so forth. Small was the number of women working outside the invisible barrier of segregation.

One day, something miraculous happened and they were called ‘the waves of feminism’. These waves were created to defy the foundation of a biased society and reform the existing norms and values that devalued women. After decades of rallies and protests, the campaign was a success and started changing (and still continues to this date) the course of the world.

Let’s not stick to the past and talk present because you, the reader, may have dozed off while reading this so far. I don’t know for sure whether I, as a guy expressing my ideas on ‘women’, will make you feel weird or not, but believe me, I have never done any harm to any girl or woman around me, so relax. I will be talking through my own lens in my own context, which is Cambodia.

From my perspective, women and men coexist for a purpose, which is not just for producing offspring to continue the bloodline. They exist to bond, to create something beautiful for the world, to give life with no pressure of being superior or inferior to one another, even when they are biologically different from one another.

Women have risen to fight for their worth, as can be seen through their involvement in every kind of typically male-dominated jobs. Examples can be seen in every corner of life, starting from small businesses to big enterprises. If you were to walk down a classroom, you will notice the increasing number of girls, sometimes even outnumbering and out-performing boys. This is just a small example from the education sector. But one girl taking a step forward into a patriarchic society can set the trails for many others who will be inspired by her success.

Meanwhile, the concept of mixing genders has not been proven to be a perfect paradigm — perhaps theoretically, but not practically. Women were raised with mindsets of being an inferior being to the opposite sex. This mindset still prevents girls from completing their education. It was, and still is believed in some parts of the country, that only men or boys have the intellect to aim for higher education while girls were or are supposed to get only little knowledge just to survive, be married, and spend the rest of her life being under her husband’s control. Some may have broken the barrier, but sadly the amount of girls dropping out of school, just to stay at home, remain disturbing to me.

And so I want to take this chance while I have the floor — to say that ‘All human-beings are born for their own particular purpose’. There is no point in labeling people as ‘superior’ or ‘inferior’, only when we eliminate this mindset that we can lead an equal life, without some having to worry about fighting for equality.

Originally posted on Thursday, March 9, 2017

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