It’s Just Normal
I had a conversation a few weeks ago about something being normal. It started out being about what time people get up in the morning. I don’t think there is a set “normal” time anymore. Working 9-5 Monday to Friday is fast becoming a thing of the past. So why would the normal time to get up be 7am? I’m really not a morning person at all so in winter there’s not a cat in hells chance that I’d be up before the sun has risen. But you’re highly likely to find me working long after the sun has set all year round. It’s just how I function. Many people now work to their own body clock so that the times that they work are when they function at their best. Likewise, more employers have realised the benefits of flexible working and working from home.
But this conversation got me thinking about how many other things are normalised in our lives through the conditioning of being told that’s how things are. Usually based on some outdated thinking. Or the inability to move and change with the times. And guess what the top of my list was? Female equality. Because one of the greatest things we have normalised within society is the unfair treatment of women.
It’s Not Normal
There are so many things that we take as being normal when really, we should be shouting it from the rooftops that these things are not normal.
It is not normal that women do not feel safe walking home alone. Being alone on public transport at night. Or just going out for a run. Yet we have somehow made this fear normal and a part of life.
It is not normal that there is a gender pay gap. Why should biology determine how much someone is paid to do a job they are perfectly capable of doing?
It is not normal that “lad banter” is laughed at and brushed off when it is often sexist, misogynistic, and damn right rude. Speak up lads, don’t support it.
It is not normal that many men influence a rape culture with their words and actions. That’s so wrong on so many levels.
It is not normal that women cannot even go out socially without fear of being spiked. And if they are spiked the greater fear of what might happen to them.
It is not normal that women are still being chastised for not wanting to have children or marry men or marry at all. Whatever happened to freedom of choice!
It is not normal that a woman’s opinion will often be undermined when she is outnumbered by men. Or that her opinion will be mansplained to her.
Let’s face it, as women we pretty much have to deal with everyday sexism all the time. It’s just part of the course of being a woman. But we should never accept it as normal.
Making Things Normal
So, the question should be how can we stop normalising such behaviours and create our new normal?
The answer isn’t as simple as posting some faux feminist bullshit quote on social media once a year. Actually, that does nothing at all to help other women. Instead, we should look out for each other every day. When you see or hear sexism, call it out. And if you see or hear someone else calling it out, support them. Don’t stand idly by and expect others to wave the female solidarity flag. Get involved. Demand equality. Demand constantly to be treated fairly. Expect better for your daughters, sisters, nieces and friends. Teach your sons to respect and appreciate women. We should be teaching them that misogyny is wrong and such actions should be called out by other men.
Men, stand up for the rights of the women you love. Don’t crack dishwasher and kitchen sink jokes. Unless you want to be smacked in the face with them. Stop expecting women to do all of the housework or childcare. Your house and your child too. Encourage women to pursue their dreams. Dreams that may not entail a three-bed semi and two kids.
Allow women to be the amazing and unique individuals that they all are.
And The Men
Let’s not create an atmosphere of men bashing. That’s wrong. We know it’s “not all men”. It gets rammed down our throats enough. But it is up to all men to support and encourage female equality. To call out the wrongs, whoever it is committing them.
And girls, ladies, yes you, are you playing your part? Do you support your friend in her mad ideas to change the world or do a job that isn’t “normal”? Are you supporting your single friends that may not want a husband (or wife) and are quite happy being single? Or do you think they aren’t “normal” for not wanting the same as you?
You may not be able to change the whole world, but you can affect the small bit of the world you live in. One bit of support at a time. Every single day of the year.