“Sexism is the sexual prejudice against women” says the dictionary, but it does not say “prejudiced by whom”. This missing information helps us understand sexism.As women we are raised in a particular culture which shapes our personalities, attitudes and ideas. By culture I mean a way of life. Sexism is part of this way of life. Sexism is common to both black and white.While growing up, I learnt to cook, clean the house, do washing and so on. It was the natural thing to do.When I could do all these things, I was seen as a “˜real woman’. This is what girls are expected to become. What I cannot understand is that even some mothers who belong to liberated organizations expect their daughters to fit the mould society has shaped for women. This illness is sometimes also practised by progressive organisations when coming to employment.Our culture as black people, regardless of our language differences, demands that a woman should possess particular qualities in order for her to be seen as a ‘woman’. If you disagree with this view you are accused of acting white even though white women are fighting the same battles.It is, however, true to say that many white women have managed to address this problem to some extent with the help of domestic workers. The argument is not that young girls should not be taught to cook. The concern is that only girls – and not boys as well – are taught house-keeping.As women, we must put forward different views about gender to our children and encourage their natural talents regardless of their sex. Stop giving girls just tea-sets and dolls, and boys just guns and cars to play with. Please let kids be kids!Children define their roles from a tender age by what we say and do as adults. You should not say this is what girls should do and what boys should do. This not only takes women backwards, but society as a whole. I hope that men and women will change and create a new society and culture of equality and respect.
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