Research Article

Sexist Mentality: The cause of crimes against women.

Sexist Mentality: The cause of crimes against women
Author: Nilanjana Saha, 1st year student in NUSRL, Ranchi.
Co-Author: Ayushi Sharma, 1st year student in NUSRL, Ranchi.

Abstract

This article will present an inclusive study on the gender discrimination and sexist mentality experienced by women in different wakes of life. The article includes what is sexism, and how did it come into existence. How people perceive sexism in their daily lives. It will also explain how sexism is prevailing in the contemporary society and what encourages male to use violence on women .The influence of recurring events of violence turn women timid and powerless over time which ultimately resulted in their exploitation. This article will throw light on the fact that how the most common acts of the daily life can be the propagator of sexism and how sexism is the root cause of violent crimes on women and girls. It will also focus on the conduct the society should follow to eliminate sexist mentality from the society as well as what the judiciary is doing to protect women from the criminal conduct of sexist mindset. The article is the compilation of both study and research, to put forth the fact that sexism does induces society to commit crime against women.

Introduction

Sexist mentality has been prevailing in our society from ages .Every second women is a victim of different types of violence whether it’s domestic violence ,rape ,mental violence, dowry death ,honor killing ,sexual assault and many more. A girl child is considered a burden and is often not even allowed to see the light of the world. It is hard to imagine this state of affairs in the 21st Century when women have proved to be strong leaders and torch bearer in every possible work. From wrestling to business, the planet has been revolutionized by exceptional women leaders in the uneven playing fields which were until recently completely dominated by men .Indian Society has always revered women.
In spiritualism, man and woman represent the two halves of the divine body. There is no form of superiority or inferiority between them. Indian society is the witness to the super-women, whose faculty of reasoning was far superior to that of ordinary mortals. But there are many of these women who used to get suppressed due to the radical mentality. Female goddesses, are worshipped across the country but we don’t actually understand the irony of the societal norms. On one side society worship female idols and respected as a supreme being but in reality, on the darker side, the condition of women is deplorable. The patriarchal system has continued since the time of Rig Veda. Customs and values were made by men to favor men. Women suffer this discrimination in silence. As a society should think that the primary roles for ladies are marriage and motherhood. Women must be married because she’s a liability .She has to get married at any cost and for this society is ready to sell their daughters to anyone even if she gets beaten on daily basis for not giving enough dowry. Husband is given a divine status that he is the one who has to control his wife Relatives bless the wife “Suhagvati raho” (may your husband live long), or “Phalo puto”(may you bear fruits [children]); not the wife. She should bring money and gifts from parents on various festivals. She has nothing of her own. Without the husband life has no meaning for her. Although the practice of Sati has declined, enforced widowhood is still prevalent. These socio cultural factors have continued over the years and have put women in danger for various forms of abuse.
Even today’s modern standard of living and rapid technological advances has also been blamed for bringing this mindset. Rising use of internet, social media, pornography etc. this has also contributed in bringing sexist approach in the society. When the education system also ignores the sexism in their curriculum, all education do is influence the minds to think women as an object to be dominated and suppressed. In today’s world where we talk about equality and equal gender roles, still somewhere we know it is lacking because that mentality still prevails and women are still become the victim of violence and crime. We, as a society teach our daughters how to be a good woman but why don’t we teach our son’s to be a good man. A man who can be a good father to a girl like Fatima, a man who can be a good husband to Lakshmi (who wanted to be a working mother), a man who can be a good brother to Liya (who was acid attacked by her brother’s friends), a man who can look at a woman with a respectful eye and can tell them that this world can be a better place for them.

✓ What is sexism?

Sexism as a word came under light in 1980s, where the concept of sexism had developed since the human society started to live in a community together. But of course, the mindset is not a result of an act of a day but several centuries. Basically, when we try to understand what sexism stands for, we should take a look into what the original user of the word, Caroline Bird had in mind while using it. In her speech she said in part:
“There is recognition abroad that we are in many ways a sexist country. Sexism is judging people by their sex when sex doesn’t matter. Sexism is intended to rhyme with racism.”
When people all around the world is hailing the protest with slogans like “black lives matter” which is indeed needed. In the same world, people are still playing dumb to acknowledge the fact that many of them indulge in sexist act each and every day. The most probable reason why Bird must have tried to rhyme it with racism, was to make people familiar with the gender discriminations that is not as widely acknowledged as racial discrimination. Here, gender discrimination is not really focused on a particular sex but the inferior one which has been dominated upon, since ages but there the focus is on what sexism is in contemporary world. The definition of sexism had developed into an idea which was just a part of gender discrimination but now it constitutes the whole meaning behind it. It changed into a word which define how a biologically weaker sex is being dominated by a biologically stronger sex i.e. females being dominated by males.
For a better understanding of what the idea of sexism and how did it changed through centuries, the following lines should be considered by Richard T. Schaefer of this book called sociology: a brief introduction which was published in 2009.
“Sexism is the ideology that one sex is superior to the other. The term is generally used to refer to male prejudice and discrimination against women. Regardless of culture, however, women everywhere suffer from second-class status.”
Discrimination against women, is now considered as sexism, which is very true in nature. The way male in the world still have an upper hand to everything from land to money, from life to death. It is impossible to say that sexist acts are not affecting women more than men. It is rightly said by Richard T. Schaefer that women are still living and suffering as a second-class citizen of any society, because they are still considered as an object rather than a living entity with her own desire and wants. Every now and then, a woman is being told to not do a certain task just because the society feels women are not meant to do it, only a male is to perform the task.
They are being ordered around, sexualised without consent and even pushed down to the bottom of the social hierarchy just because they don’t try to stand out to fight against the injustice, which is the major reason of their downfall throughout the human existence.

✓ What influences sexist mentality?

The mindset ,is the driving forces behind sexism in contemporary world, is not the result of some activities against women but a series of them. The idea can be traced back in the time when people started living in communities and process of marriage started. The customs made then was where the females have to migrate to houses of male or had to live with their family. As a result, the bond between the sister and mothers were severed and male familial relationships strengthened because of the close bonding. It teared the sisterhood and established brotherhood which slowly turned into the case where males had all the rights to decide because they had tighter bonds and more support then female who were new to the household and it was difficult to stand against the patriarchy. The consequences of that practice can be seen now as a common practice which is not being questioned by anyone.
The patriarchy has always been enrooted within our practices and hence normalization of these acts had been practiced. The following lines will give us a concrete proof that how the normalization of sexism had been seen like the natural characteristics of the society-
“It’s tempting to assume male dominance is the natural state of human society. It isn’t” says Amy Parish, university of south California, LA.
The influence of sexism had been passed from generation to generation to both the boys and the girls, where the boys are taught to be strong and keep women under their control and girls are tough to accept whatever a boy tells and not to go out of the so-called boundary set up by the society. The sexism is now more of a tradition than evil which should have been burned a long time ago. The same ideas are expressed by Sheldon Vanauken in her book Freedom for Movement Girls – Now 4 (1968) which states –
“A myth. A myth like the racist myths we’re all too familiar with, designed to explain and perpetuate the superiority of one race and the inferiority of another. But the sexist myth is the greatest and most pervasive myth the world has ever told itself- at once explaining, condoning, and perpetuating male superiority and female inferiority, meanwhile denying -craftiest touch of all! – that to be secondary in everything is at all inferior.”
Here she states how just like racial discrimination is a myth and was created to dominate one race which was inferior to them, the same is with sexism where it is myth which seeping down into the bones of people. The human beings, especially males have been believing in these myths to propagate their agenda of male superiority so that, the women whom they feel are inferior to them, can’t compete against them or overtake them. It is universally known fact that people who are possessing power are reluctant to let it go and hence it is the case of sexism too. The evidence of the same can be taken from the book “down girl: the logic of misogyny” by Kate Manne which states-
“Sexism as one branch of a patriarchal order. Sexism rationalizes and justifies patriarchal norms, in contrast with misogyny, the branch which polices and enforces patriarchal norms. sexism often attempts to make patriarchal social arrangements seem natural, good, or inevitable so that there appears to be no reason to resist them.”
Here it is correctly explained by her that how much patriarchy influence and justifies the sexism, and the term misogyny which is explained here as the driving force to establish the patriarchy in your society because women are looked down and trampled upon, which ultimately won’t let women protest against the injustice. There are still thousands of factors each and every day which are the subset of the age-old practices and domination.

✓ How much influence does sexism have on people?

In a survey conducted on 28 people by us, it is found that almost 93% of them knew about the word sexism, where the people are aged between 12 to 52 and maximum between 19 to 25 which is indeed a usual age to inculcate the sexist yet again for the future generation. The respondents were equally distributed between both genders i.e. male and female.

It is clear from the survey that majority of respondents have faced gender discrimination in their lifetime at least once which is the base of sexist mindset development. While studying the individual response, it could be conquered that most of the female respondents faced gender discrimination many times or one two times at least, but with the male responses it was clear that many few men have ever faced discrimination based on their gender.

Even though some women may say they never faced any discrimination based on gender it will all be a false impression pressed onto them, as they have to adopt all the rules formed by the society which might burden them with compulsions. Due to lower self-esteem, the oppressions are normalised. It is argued by people that, it is the basis of human subsistence that one gender should hunt and one should cook, and its true but does the role distribution have to be so rigid that the permeability is lost in the process. Doesn’t talent have a role in deciding who should do what and isn’t it on a person’s desire to do something or not to do it. All the answers must be yes, but the sad reality in the society is that everything is prefixed for the women community who don’t have a say for their life.
Sexism is an age long practice which is spread from father to children, cousins and grand-children, and now is being accelerated by globalisation and technological advancement. The media is creating a big impact on sexist mentality both positively and negatively. Positively as they can highlight the discrimination and injustice against women and telecasting it to a larger number of masses, but at the same time the liability of media and social media is that it is still male dominated which don’t show each and every fact relating to sexism. Social media having tons or people with different ideas and opinion, meet up and form groups to influence younger people through rape jokes, sexist memes and anti-feminist posts. Even though not everyone indulges in these severe forms of sexism but even normalizing household practices makes way for people to adapt to them. The survey shows the same result where 68% people observed sexism in media and social media.

The issue covered here is how sexism impact and induce the males to use violence against women, which amounts to crime.
Due to continuous mental pressure, restrictions and dominance of male on the female species, the females ended up becoming more and more timid and insecure which can be understood by the fact that males have an indifferent attitude to the violence against women and inclined to follow the path ideas of using physical power on women just because it’s a wrong cultural aspect which was not corrected earlier. It was very rightly said that –
“There is a powerful association between attitudes toward violence against women and attitudes toward gender. Especially among men, traditional gender-role attitudes are associated with greater acceptance of violence against women.”
The next question in the survey was connected with the idea that how much of an individual liberty does a woman have in a society, it was asked that whether men and women have equal rights in the world. It was observed most of them agreed there were still some who were confused or rejecting the idea which means there still are people who may thing about the inferiority of women under men. When a person living in a society doesn’t even consider a fellow human equal to them with regards to rights how would that person won’t dominate them to feel superior. This is the case with some sexist communities whose negligent attitude know no bounds when it comes to inflict pain to the female who may or may not was at fault.

Fantasizing, making jokes or making uncomfortable remarks surely does induces a lot of inferiority complex among women who are still not self-confident to stand against them. Women even in earlier times were never seen apart from an object to a male, just for enjoyment and work, the feeling of women were never even considered once nor her consent. Here also the sexist mindset does its work. The response covers the issue in hand that how many women themselves have felt being objectified and some have seen other women get objectifies. To objectify a person just because it is pleasurable to the society does not help in curbing the menace of various kind of sexual crimes. It was mentioned by Christelle Hamel in her book, Violence against Women and Ethnicity: Commonalities and Differences across Europe.
A study of media discourses and ethnographic data shows that sexuality is socially constructed by racist social relations. These racist social relations manipulate gender divisions and present women’s sexual choices as either validating or invalidating racist discourse “From the Racialization of Sexism to Sexism as an Identity Marker.”

✓ Factors effecting crime against women

It is a well-known fact that education helps in eradicating many kinds of ill around us. It started from banning of sati pratha to widow remarriage to ban on triple talak, all was approved by the society when it started understanding the ill effects of these practices on women. When asked about how much education helps in removing sexism from society 75% of responses were in affirmative, it shows that people have felt the changes in an educated person regarding prejudice which used to cloud their mind.

Education, no doubt, helps in broadening the thinking capacity of people but in true sense books and syllabus which were compiled by the authorities for the youths to study in their early years never once focused on how much sexism is being conveyed by them when the discrimination of men over women is not even addressed properly. The kings making queens a property of theirs to grab portions of land of neighbourhood estates, exchanging women for prize, keeping women locked in harem like storage rooms, aren’t this sexist enough to influence the mind of the reader to think that males are supposed to be superior and violent on females by nature.
Even education was failed on many cases when the cases like a well-educated man beats his wife just because he is drunk and angry, when school students plans on raping their girl classmate like in boys locker-room case, like the state with highest literacy rate having the gruesome cases of dowry death where women are bitten by snakes for not asking for dowry to her father. With all these incidents how can it be said that the education system had uniformed gender discrimination when the sexism is based on attitude and mentality as rightly said-
“One of the key mechanisms of attitude formation in relation to violence against women is intergenerational transmission.”

In the survey when asked about the major reasons behind the crime on women most chosen option was the lack of education in people. It is not just getting a degree but it is about having a wider view on the subjects live respecting others and their natural rights. There were others issues which were chosen like male superiority complex which makes up of greed and ego. The option of vulnerability of women here becauseof the biological difference of strength between men and women but this could have also been curbed if proper respect was given to every society member because all do some or other kind of work to sustain themselves in the society.

While one of the factors which induces the crime against women is the lack of education, the other will surely be the nature of society which is based on patriarchy. The domination starts from the domestic affairs of a household, where women work for home and from home, still gets assaulted by their husbands a small issue may be the taste of the food which she made after full time work. Every woman as a house wife have to hear “what do you do all day? I was working outside and you laze around the whole day!” how much misappropriate these lines are when the manual work she does is more tiring, plus child rearing when she is a working woman is like cherry on the top. These remarks are so normalised in our lifestyle that women don’t even feel these statements as sexist at all.
When men could see that they can do anything to women because they have seen the same things happening around them, they don’t hesitate for once to use physical force against any women irrespective of age. This is a major cause of many kind inappropriate behaviour against women both outside in house and inside too. The lack of awareness about the malpractices the males are using to justify themselves is a major concern as to how they could identify a woman as an individual entity and not just a worker and pleasure giver.
It was rightly said by Aysha Taryam in her book The Opposite of Indifference: A Collection of Commentaries
“If we are to fight discrimination and injustice against women, we must start from the home for if a woman cannot be safe in her own house then she cannot be expected to feel safe anywhere.”
As charity begins at home, in the same manner the eradication of sexism should start from the home, from the mind of males of every age, even elder women as they became a part of this practice so very deeply that many don’t want the situation to change. If the males don’t learn that how much their sexist approach effect the women around them all their life, the result of the sexism which is the brutal violence will continue to age immemorial.

✓ What are the acts of sexism which evolves into crime against women?

To understand these issues at hand, let’s take a look at the survey where all the offences like rape, sexual assault, dowry death, acid attack on girls, female infanticide and foeticide and child marriages received many votes. All of these crimes have been the result of the constant male chauvinism and ego. It had always been women who are pointed to when a crime against them, blaming them of being a witch who make men delusional with their charms, and make men do the things which are crime. It is shameful to the society, which we call very modern, to believe in witch craft and blame women for doing anything and everything which they like. They had been judged from the day they born to the day they die.

“Not long time back most scholars and clinicians blamed the victims for their victimization ignoring that a high percentage of men harbour or desire to rape and that there is a connection between sexism and rape.”

When a woman faces rape threats and complains about it, the people around her tells her to keep it in locker and not to let the issue out, they make her feel guilty of a thing she never has done. When at home a girl asks to let her work outside at night, they are usually not allowed to but a boy can do so, is it the fault of the family members of having sexist mindset? When people with sexist mindset who can rape or assault any girl on the road just because they know the society won’t question them and just would let them go with warning, how can a father who care for his daughter let her go out in these situations, making them pseudo sexist.
The cases where the husband keeps on using physical and verbal violence on the wife just because he is not satisfied with her actions is the most common act of sexism, which had been rejected from time to time stating that it is a household matter. Then we have cases of child marriages, where a child of 12-13 years of age is married off to a much older man. If the society wasn’t sexist now, them each year we woudn’t have 1000s of cases being reported from around the country. If women were given equal say for themselves then of course they wouldn’t choose to marry at that early age which out attaining any stability of their owns.
The more of the heinous crimes like rape, acid attack and female genital mutilation happen because male ego takes over them. There are many cases where female children were rapes just because they were girls, without any explanation, many times women are harassed in public places, because they are standing without a male person with them who work as a deterrence, many other cases can be found where woman get assaulted because they were wearing a not so suitable dress according to social norms, but then there are also women in Burkha getting raped. They are getting raped not because they were disrespectful, not because they were wearing something short, not because they were not working properly, these reasons don’t even give a licence to men to sexually assault them, they were assaulted because they are women. Women have become an object on which sexism can be exhibited for the society to see.

✓ How should we as a society behave towards acts motivated by sexist mentality?

Sexist mentality has been prevailing in our society from ages and now it’s time to curb it by coming together as a society and joining our hands that we will stop this ,we won’t let it happen. Let’s start from our homes first. Every second women are a victim of any kind of violence whether its domestic violence ,rape ,mental violence, dowry death, honour killing ,sexual assault etc she is the victim and men always the culprit. we as a society can change this by just acting wisely and stop motivating sexist mentality because everyone of us wants a safe place for our daughters, mothers, sisters and wives but we are not actually giving them that .All we have to do is sensitise our men ,teach them about gender equality and roles each gender plays in our society Patriarchal norms have marked women as inferior to men.
A girl child is considered a burden and is often not even allowed to see the light of the world. It is hard to imagine this state of affairs in the 21st Century when women have proved to be strong leaders in every field possible. From wrestling to business, the world has been revolutionised by exceptional women leaders in fields that were until recently completely dominated by men Indian Society has always revered women. In Hinduism, man and woman represent the two halves of the divine body.
There is no question of superiority or inferiority between them. Hindu history is witness to the super-women, such as Gargi, Maitreyi and Sulabha, whose faculty of reasoning was far superior to that of ordinary mortals. Many female deities Saraswati, Durga, Laxmi, Kali etc., are worshipped across the country. According to the Mahabharat by cherishing the woman one virtually worships the goddess of prosperity on the darker side, the patriarchal system has continued since the time of Rig Veda. Customs and values were made by men to favour men. Women suffer this discrimination in silence. But now we as a society needs to think about this and end this sexist mentality so that women don’t suffer any further violence.
When people see an act, which seems discrimination or violence, the only thing they do is to close their eyes towards it, the day when the society can stop closing their eyes and raise their voice many Nirbhaya’s can be protected and many more woman can be empowered.

✓ What all laws judiciary is framing to combat sexism and violence against women?

1. Dowry and dowry death: The Dowry Prohibition Act (DPA), 1961. applies to all people, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Jews. Giving, taking or abetting the giving or taking of dowry is an offence, which is punishable. Several states (Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Punjab) amended the DPA to give it more teeth. The law was found to fail to stall the evil.
2. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 is an Act of the Parliament of India criminalising triple talaq. In August 2017 the Supreme Court of India declared triple talaq, where a Muslim man can divorce any of his wife by pronouncing talaq three times together, without any responsibility after the maintenance period, as unconstitutional and an offence.
3. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005: The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), 2005 was enacted to provide for more effective protection of the rights of women guaranteed under the constitution who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and for matters connected thereto. It recognizes 4 types of domestic violence: Physical, verbal, and emotional (including not having a child or a male child, marrying without consent), and economic (including violence related to stridhan, dowry, property) and sexual (includes sexual abuse and marital rape).

Conclusion

Sexism is gender-based prejudice or discrimination. As with other sorts of prejudice and discrimination, it functions to take care of status and power differences between groups in society. One form of sexism involves prejudice and discrimination against girls and ladies who seek to realize in prestigious fields traditionally related to males. Another form of sexism, however, occurs when pressure is placed on boys and men to conform to traditional ideals of masculinity. Over the last 20 years, an increasing number of developmental and academic psychologists became concerned about sexism directed toward children and adolescents. After providing a summary of various processes associated with sexism, we examine how it’s manifested in social contexts. We also address factors associated with awareness of sexism and coping responses to sexism. Finally, we consider possible ways to scale back sexism and foster effective coping in society. Through this research article we have tried to address every single aspect which revolved around our topic we also did a survey and analysis among people of different age groups and gender and get to know about their opinions and view on this topic. They consider it as a burning issue which needs to be addressed sexist mindset leads to violence and it is a demon against women that is devouring the society. It has been present since times immemorial. Its base lies within the deeply engraved notion of patriarchy. The combined efforts of government NGOs and most important, the sufferers of this violence, the women have to take a major step to fight this evil and we as a society will look forward to kill this demon by taking baby steps so that sexism which to some extent leads to violence and crime against women gets eradicated completely.


References

1. Sheldon Vanauken (Special Collections Library, Duke University): Freedomfor Movement Girls – Now 4 (1968).

2. Schaefer, Richard T. (2009). Sociology: A Brief Introduction (8th ed.). NewYork: McGraw-Hill. pp. 267-268.

3. Manne, Kate (2019). Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny. Ithaca, New York:Oxford University Press. pp. 78–79.

4. Hamel, Christelle. “From the Racialization of Sexism to Sexism as anIdentity Marker.” Violence against Women and Ethnicity: Commonalities andDifferences across Europe, edited by Ravi K. Thiara et al., 1st ed., Verlag BarbaraBudrich, Opladen; Berlin; Farmington Hills, 2011, pp. 113–124. JSTOR,

5. Flood, Michael & Pease, Bob. (2009). Factors Influencing Attitudes toViolence Against Women. Trauma, violence & abuse. 10. 125-42.

6. (Davis & Liddell, 2002; De Judicibus & McCabe, 2001; NCP, 2001; Pavlou& Knowles, 2001; Truman, Tokar, & Fischer, 1996; Wade & Brittan-Powell, 2001;White & Kurpius, 2002).

7. SMT SUDESH JHAKU VERSUS K C J AND OTHERS LNIND 1996 DEL 473.

8. The Dowry Prohibition Act (DPA), 1961.

9. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019.

10. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

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Debarati
Debarati
11 months ago

Great Article Nilanjana

Shruty
Shruty
11 months ago
Reply to  Debarati

Amazing work, ya.😁

Himanshu
Himanshu
11 months ago

A nice article, I must say. Will get to learn from this 👍

Aashu Kumar
Aashu Kumar
11 months ago

Awesome Article, Good Job 👏

Dr. Sushma
Dr. Sushma
11 months ago

Very nicely presented article by Ayushi Sharma and Nilanjana Saha. Such articles definitely create awareness about gender discrimination.

Sufian Ahmed
Sufian Ahmed
11 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Sushma

Great article nilanjana!!
Proud of you girl!!

Somanagouda Patil
Somanagouda Patil
11 months ago

Wow 🤩 finally …so well-written
Proud of you Nilanjana …
waiting for the next one 🤞🏼

ANUJAYA EKKA
ANUJAYA EKKA
11 months ago

this article is really good NILANJANA AND AYUSHI

Anupama Minz
Anupama Minz
11 months ago

Very well written Nilanjana and Ayushi☘️.Hope this article of urs will bring a change in society!♥️

Dewanshi Agarwal
Dewanshi Agarwal
11 months ago

Good work!!

Anirudh
Anirudh
11 months ago

Nice article👍👍
Congrats to both of you Nilanjana and Ayushi for ur first article

priyal
priyal
11 months ago

this is so well written 👍 great job

ABHISHEK KUMAR
ABHISHEK KUMAR
11 months ago

Good going..👏👏

It will definitely bring the change
..🤞🤞🤞🤞

Abhishek Singh
Abhishek Singh
11 months ago

Very Informative, eager to read more articles like these!

Vikki
Vikki
11 months ago

Just wow😍 ayu, this is fabulous and congratulations for your first article.