TODAY -

Is "to be like a girl" an insult?

Mingyashin Shaiza *



Let's put an end to implying, "to be like a girl" means being weak. Instead, let's get cracking on speaking the phrase to empower.

"It is not the human brain that is inherently "gendered", but the world in which we are raised", said Gina Rippon in her book "The Gendered Brain".

Gina Rippon is a British neuroscientist. She and her team have done intense research on the human brain and the difference between, the male brain and the female brain. And she confesses that if someone places a male brain and a female brain in front and asks her to differentiate; she will not be able to say the difference.

She said that subtle cues about "manly" and "ladylike" behavior from the moment of birth mold our behaviors and abilities, which other scientists have then read as inherent, innate differences. Babies, as soon as they are bom, are like tiny social sponges and their brains are working very hard right from the beginning, picking up social cues from the world around them.

So where do gender gaps come from? Our brain is connected to the world around us. The world is a brain influencer. "A gendered world produces a gendered brain" she quoted.

If you think women are weak and "to be like a girl" means being weak, just know that yoti were not bom with that thought. You were taught about it and were raised in that environment.

Physically men are known to be stronger and usually, women have half the upper body strength of men and are 6 inches shorter than men (depending on where we live in). So, when it comes to physical strength, most women just assume they are weak.

But women don't need to be stronger than men to be strong. It's all in the mind and your willingness to be strong. For thousands of years, women have depended on men to do physical tasks. Men do most of the physical work by default.

Women need to accept that they are strong and are capable. For too long women have been limited and allowed to stay weak and incapable.

Here is a story of my grandma in Ukhrul, who is almost 75. years old. She is lean and slim. She has the delicacy and softness of a lady in her. One day, when she heard that a fire broke out nearby, she quickly carried a cylinder filled with gas (more than 20kg) from her 1 st-floor kitchen to the ground floor.

If you've ever met her, you would not believe it. But she did and it cannot be erased. After the fire was put out and the chaos was over, her daughter came home to find their cylinder outside on the ground. She was shocked. But grandma was not, she knew she could do it and she did it.

This is not a shocking story. We have seen our own mothers and grandmothers walking miles to tend to their paddy fields and farm. We have seen them, carrying loads of firewood in their basket, strapped to their head. We have seen them, carrying paddy during the harvest. They could do it not only because they have to do it and it is their job to do it. They could do it because they have the strength in them.

I am quoting this again, "It's all in our mind". Don't let the perception of society shun your true strength.

Paulo Coelho said, "You are what you believe yourself to be".

Believe you are strong. It is not an illusion. It is in our mind and our body that has the strength, all you need to do is to accept and believe that you are strong and watch the beast in you unleashing.

I was not aware of my strength until I decided to shed the belief that girls are weak and took up a challenge to piggyback someone who weighs 83 kg. I was about 55 kg. I myself was shocked in a sense. The strength was always in me, all I had to do was accept the challenge.

This somehow proves that our thinking and the way we were brought up can have a great impact on the way we perceive things. With that, I had gained my strength and belief, that a woman is no less than a man.

Here is something for you to contemplate on:
Do you think men will always be stronger than women if they were given the same challenges and tasks right from the beginning? What if they were given the same toys or made to believe they have equal strength? There is a science to it, but then again, being feminine is not equal to being weak, and being masculine is not equal to being strong.

So, the next time you hear the phrase "like a girl", think of the strength of women.


* Mingyashin Shaiza wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on November 19 2021.



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