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The mind it can simplify things or make them incredibly complex

What does it mean to be female? What does it mean to be male? And all the other classifications in-between?  For a long time the gender discourse did not really bother me. I always felt that if we could go beyond the lens of all things that differentiate us, we would actually be able to look at each other simply as living beings co existing on this planet for a lifespan. But that I learnt was a utopian view; in real life you are scrutinised for every little thing that makes you different. Nations are built, wars are fought, lifestyles are created, and communities and families are held together or pulled apart based on similarities and differences. And no this is not restricted just to physicality – that would be too easy! It is deeply rooted and conditioned in our minds.

The mind – to me – is the most powerful and the most dangerous tool we humans possess. It can simplify things or make them incredibly complex. The battle over gender is just one among them. Beyond biology, people have complicated things so much that our identities decide our fate.

Men and women are different: we have different biology, different characteristics, different interests and understandings; and these differences are the very basis for why we complement each other so beautifully.

But reality also is that women have had it very hard for a very long time. They have had to fight for equal rights in every sphere of their life. From equal wages to the right to education, from female feticide to violence against women, from citizenship identity to property rights, it continues to be a struggle across geographies. A male child is still preferred to a female born, and unfortunately the mind has been conditioned such that women themselves treat their sons better than their daughters. The narrative behind each woman has seen even the most privileged having to do twice as much than her male counterpart. Then there are the realities of rape, marital rape, dowry, molestation, harassment, torture, prejudice and discrimination…

And while women cut across these barriers and prove themselves time and again, the conversation has now begun on what it takes to be a man. The current understanding of the world ‘masculine’ keeps them from crying, showing emotion or not being man enough. Men are measured on how much they can earn and the value they can add to a woman’s life be it status, background or money. A man in this part of the world does not have the choice to not be the major breadwinner. The pressure of being a man is often a heavy burden to carry.

Doesn’t it then seem strange that human beings instead of embracing differences and celebrating similarities choose to instead feed on discrimination and bias. Shouldn’t our conversations and our thoughts be more centered on closing gaps and fostering respect, dignity, compassion and understanding?