When a talk about feminism emerges, I feel a strong urge to escape from the conversation. The reasons being, that they’re either too emotionally charged, too offensive or too protective with respect to women and yes in many cases too offensive towards men as well. Overall, there is just a little too much ‘too’ in any gender-related discussion.
But just because I am not a particular fan of aggressive and merely prolific gender conversations that does not mean I do not have a sharp cut opinion about the shortcomings of gender equality.
Before I reveal that one thing I believe many women are longing for, I would like to emphasize however that I believe that not only women are disadvantaged in many ways. I would like to claim that men are just as disadvantaged as women are. Call it presumptuous but I think that my experiences and observances have shown that men and women are equally caged by the roles human societies have assigned them and the character traits that our societies require the perfect man or woman to have. Those societal gender requirements are so different in nature that we should not try to quantify them in any way. From the subjective viewpoint both a man and a women can feel just as restrained by societal expectations, conventions and restrictions.
I strongly dislike policies made to accommodate women’s apparent need for special treatment. When Germany introduced a legal women quota for the board of directors, I was not exceptionally happy. While it may be the seemingly best option at hand, I simply cannot accept the fact that across the globe we never tackle problems from the root cause.
You can ask nearly any woman on this planet, and this I am sure about, the one thing she will tell you she misses is APPRECIATION. Yes, I mean any woman.
We, both men and women, routinely praise and compliment men. We praise them for their efforts, we compliment them for their accomplishments. We applaud the way they went against all odds, realized their dreams or how they tackled challenges with persistence and cleverness. We tell them they’re smart, we tell them they did a good job.
Now let’s see what kind of compliments women usually receive. The whole bandwidth of superficial and external compliments is covered, from how pretty they are, how much effort they must have put in their outfit, what wonderful bodies they have, what a good wife or daughter they make, how caring and how compassionate they are. And of course they do deserve these compliments and they need them. Yet they should not be the exclusive kind of compliment they receive.
And not only men are to blame! Women also tend to compliment each other on looks!
While pretty much everyone has already agreed that no one should be objectified, we still have not moved on from there. All the working women, all the stay-at-home mums and the ones that do both, the high school, secondary and primary school girls, all of them deserve compliments for their accomplishments. For how well they did a project, for how well they held a presentation, for how well they mediated a fight, for anything that requires mental effort and character strength.
Humans are conditioned by feedback. Men and women. The feedback we receive, shapes the perception of our reality. Positive feedback gives a feeling of empowerment. But the type of feedback or compliment matters, too. If someone expresses appreciation for your actions, rather than for your ‘being’, that is an impactful gesture.
Make a woman feel that she is more than a mere nice appearance, more than someone that is there for someone else. Make her know that she impresses you with her accomplishments.
Even a simple “Good job!” will do.
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