“Please help! How do I prove to my guy friends that women are equal to men? “

Got this request in response to this post:

“Hey IHM!

Please help! How do I prove to my guy friends that women are equal to men? “

IHMEquality means that we do not need to prove how capable or ‘superior’ we are, to have the same basic rights that everybody else has.

So, when we say everybody is equal we mean, everybody has an equal right to happiness, dignity, justice, safety and freedom (etc), no matter what their age, ability, skin colour, literacy level, sexual orientation, race, caste or gender.

Do you ever feel the need to ‘prove’ that you are ‘superior’? In a joke maybe? It seems some people do. What makes some people want to ‘prove’ (sometimes jokingly) they are superior?

What do they mean when they say men (or women) are ‘superior’? What can make some people more deserving of basic rights than others?

Here are three arguments used to ‘prove’ that ‘men are superior to women’. Do share if you have heard any others. 

1. Men are superior because a woman cannot take off her shirt but a man can.

A possible response: A woman being able to take off her shirt without fear of shaming, stigma, violence, honour killing or moral policing, would be an indication of a society that doesn’t see women’s bodies and lives as everybody’s business.

Objectification of women and their bodies does not make men superior to women, it’s a social evil and should be challenged. The societies where women are not objectified seem to have lesser (sexual or otherwise) aggression by men against women and children.

Also, a sari without a blouse was a standard dress for majority of Indian women. [Link]. It didn’t give them right to equality, they were still burnt, honour killed, married off as kids and killed at birth.

Also if we were to use the above logic, does the fact that women can bear children make them superior? Does the scarcity of women make them ‘superior’?

2. A woman can’t rape a man, so men are ‘superior’. 

A possible response: This one seems to be a variation of – “The male community, including myself, needs only 10 minutes, just ten minutes… to send what is called sperm, into the uterus of a female.”

Or, लो आज नारीवाद का अंतिम संस्कार किये देता हू – roughly translates to ‘Come, let me perform the last rites of feminism today’. [link shared by anonymous]

So are murderers ‘superior’ to law abiding, non violent citizens?

And, also a man might never learn whose child he is raising – does that make women superior?

3. Why have there been ten times more male inventors and scientists than female ones? 

The email says,

 I KNOW that the reason for this isn’t that men are superior but how on earth do I explain it to the people who believe that it is so?”

A possible response: Even today women are expected to give up career opportunities to have families/for parenting. Having a wife seems to make it easier to focus on career – women generally don’t have wives to take care of their meals, laundry, parents and children. And if a woman demands equality, she should behave exactly like a male…?
Making one parent (women) choose between career and parenting will eventually lead to more and more women choosing not to have children.

Related Posts:

And if a woman demands equality, she should behave exactly like a male…?

How Did We turn into Such A Regressive Society?

“So why do we wear clothes again??”

Weird, funny facts about Misogynists.

When a newly married Indian woman gives up her career, what else does she give up?

A tag: But when a woman sees a hot man, nothing happens in her brain?



92 thoughts on ““Please help! How do I prove to my guy friends that women are equal to men? “

  1. Simple. Women and men aren’t equal. We are different. But, we belong to the same species. Our differences are meant to complement each other. We, with our different traits, are supposed to work together–to survive and to thrive and to make the world around us a better, safer place, not just for us, but for others who inhabit this planet. We have brains and we are supposed to use them to observe things around us, to question, to learn, to make decisions, to enjoy. Not to compare amongst our own species and belittle each other or make the other feel less valued due to certain physical or mental attributes. And that goes for a man, woman, or any other gender in between. The first and foremost thing is that we are humans, we have been given a gift of understanding and expression unlike any other species, and if we cannot treat one of our own with the basic courtesy and respect that we expect for ourselves, we have a lot of growing up to do, regardless of our gender. This goes for every argument about inequality among human beings–that of gender, race, religion, sexual preference, food preference, and so on. How difficult is that to grasp? It might seem like I have gone off on a tangent, but this is fundamental to any human interaction.


      • Yes, that’s what IHM said: Equality means that we do not need to prove how capable or ‘superior’ we are, to have the same basic rights that everybody else has, and I agree with the social aspect of it.
        What people who make such comparisons tend to assume by equality is that we are equal in strength, capability etc. In that sense, we may never be equal, we were built differently. What I meant to say is that there’s a reason for that difference and we should understand and appreciate it–not use it to berate those with strength or capabilities different from us.
        We probably mean the same thing, I’m just saying it differently. You do put stuff way more eloquently that me, though, Carvaka! 🙂


        • Yes, we are saying the same thing. ‘Not equal’ just always sets of a can of worms because it is so easy to misinterpret maliciously. I think what we’re saying is ‘different but equal’ which refers to all races, abilities/ disabilities and genders, as you said.

          I agree with your sentiment entirely, except the ‘more eloquent’ bit. 😛 🙂


        • Also the X gender being superior to gender Y argument is impossible to prove in absolute terms. For instance, women have stronger immune systems than do men and are more resistant to communicable diseases than are men.
          Female infants have a lower mortality rate than do male infants (if provided similar care and food).
          Women live longer, have healthier hearts and by and large, cope better with emotional turmoil than do men.
          Does this mean that women are superior to men?
          This whole obsession with gender superiority has set the humsm race back by millenia. Its kept a leash on the talents and skills of half the human race.
          Humanity cannot progress if one half is forcibly kept in subjugation by the other half; no matter what the pretext–religious, cultural, economic or even the pseudo logic of evolutionary psychology


  2. I am surprised that the email writer still calls them ‘friends’. What has gender to do with superiority? We are not talking about varieties of mangoes here but human beings.
    How can someone who is capable of displaying more of his body superior to someone who can’t? By that standard, animals are superior to humans.
    And a person who thinks that his gender is superior because they can rape needs medical help because he can be a potential future rapist. What about child molesters? They must be more superior?


  3. Why do you have to prove anything? i realised early that when peoples mind are set they are set, maybe constant battering may change it but otherwise to evolve they have to see around them and learn – some do some dont.
    the LW should do exactly what she wants and not prove anything. tell the ‘friends’ that she believes ” all human beings are equal “. and leave it at that, It takes a very closed mind to not understand that simple fact.

    i did however during one weird discussion with my son and i was explaining that today if all boys and men went extinct , with our reserve int he sperm bank and some already pregnant women , we’d still be able to survive as a species, but if suddenly disaster were to strike all girls and women , that’s it end of the line for human species? right…
    it is such a dramatic contrast. i think i myself was shocked by this.
    even with so much going for us we don’t claim that we are superior , we are just different , equal but different


  4. All human beings are equal. This just means we are equally human and deserve the same basic human rights. If your ‘friends’ are trying to say the men are better than women, then that is a very broad generalisation and quite easy to disprove (as most broad generalisations are). I am sure your friends run slower then P T Usha, make less money than Indra Nooyi (Pepsi CEO), are less powerful than Sonia Gandhi, could be beaten to a pulp by Laila Ali and on and on. If they work in the professional world, they will lose some promotions to women and will probably work for a female boss at some point, whether they like it or not. Some men are better than some women at some things. Some women are better than some men at some things. We are all still equally human. One gender or one group of people does not deserve to dictate the rules to another gender or another group of people.


    • Oh and you don’t need to prove anything to such ‘friends’ of yours. This basic equality should be apparent to most educated people. If someone says ‘men are better than women’ or ‘brahmins are better than dalits’ or ‘white people are better than black people’, they are exhibiting their bigotry. It’s not up to you to prove your case. It has been proven already but bigots often bury their heads in the sand.


  5. “Why have there been ten times more scientists than women….”

    Imagine the culture even in our recent past. Think of a woman equivalent of Galileo or Kepler. While those guys bore hardships to learn what they did, a woman emulating their steps ( travelling around, meeting with other male thinkers, negotiating access to scientific equipment, data, books, universities..) would be so revolutionary in her times compared to them that I doubt she could even survive,.with her life intact, for a few months. Even an equivalent of Einstein would be extremely hard pressed with his frequent moves across the Europe, not to mention explicit prohibitions of appointing women at universities even at that time ( Emmy Noether, an eminent mathematician, was not allowed a regular position). Women liberation is an extremely new idea.

    Even today, now that I am father of a daughter, I see how pervasive and impinging the culture is where girls are supposed to just like shiny things wear nice dresses and look pretty ( which BTW is an affront to boys as well). I teach at university level and there is zero encouragement from the culture for girls to adopt mathematical fields. So much so, that I am amazed even at the number of girls that filter through and actually do mathematics. Imagine black males “in the USA” ( as opposed to, say in Africa) . They are not expected to do science and mathematics by the culture and that is exactly what they do; they do not go for these fields and are very under represented among the scientists.

    BTW, this discrimination is mostly cultural and not at the institutions of learning where you actually have affirmative actions for both women and blacks. But apparently, the culture is a very powerful thing.

    I work in a highly advanced mathematical field i.e., theoretical physics, string theory etc. As I said earlier, although women are very under represented at the undergraduate level in terms of opting for mathematics, still, I find a very large proportion still making a career in theoretical physics. When I started thinking about it, I was actually amazed at their numbers, given how dominant, pervasive, and totally opposite to what is required to become a mathematical physicist, society’s expectations are from young women. Having interacted with them professionally, not even once I got the impression that I am talking to someone with less skills. I find them exactly the same as men in the field, some super genius and some just good enough to get by. ( Although I have my impressions for other groupings of physicists, for example, among the third world countries, Indians and Iranians excel by far other nationalities and Russians are simply the best in the field. But no such division when grouping people as men vs women) Also, you see more of women physicsts from countries which had achieved more gender equality compared to US in the cultural sense, for example, from Eastern ( and to a large extent from western ) Europe. All of this is from my personal observations and not from a systematic data and I did not start with a pre conceived or indoctrinated notion of intellectual equality of women and men, probably the oposite.

    However, overall women are of course much more under represented and the very top creme of current theoretical physicists only have very few women. At least to me, it is clear that it is solely because it will take some time to overcome the historical precedence, given that even the current culture is not helping to change it. Already the strides made by women in a very short period of time are phenomenal.

    BTW, interestingly, women in the 19th century made good astronomers, probably because in that field you were not required to leave the roof of your house or interact with men, so you could still do it without much sanction.

    In any case, suppose there is some difference in mathematical abilities of men and women. If there actually is, it will only be a statistical difference, say , you may find with equal opportunities, 20 % of guys have the ability to make it to the top compared to , say, 10 % of women. Even in that case you have no rational to use this fact in denying opportunities to an individual based on their sex, as that one person may be the one who is the best of the best. All you can do is look at the individual merit of that person alone. This is what equality demands; judge people according to their individual merits and not their color, gender, race…


    • There are many examples of female discoverers and scientists who weren’t acknowledged for their work, or whose credit was given to a male colleagues/ collaborator/ superior instead (everyone knows of watson and crick discovering the dna but not that roalind franklin did much of the actual work that they used). There is ‘male-washing’ of history happening in some countries right now, where they specifically aren’t recording or publicising female achievements in sports and science in order to discourage it (there was a recent case in saudi I think).


    • Wonderful, well explained and thought out comment about women in science. We did not have so female Einsteins or Newtons because of social barriers and outright discrimination that prevented women for pursuing higher education until just a few decades ago even in western countries. It is not because women are innately and biologically inferior to men in fields of scientific research. This is exactly why we need feminism so women have equal opportunity to pursue their dreams and ambitions and not held back by social customs and traditions. Imagine all the female potential and talent that was wasted away for centuries because women were intentionally kept out.

      Even after all the barriers, there were fabulous women like Madame Curie who won two nobel prizes for discovering radioactivity. Ada Lovelace who worked with Charles Babbage on the very first computers and wrote the first algorithms that could be processed by a machine.


    • BTW, this discrimination is mostly cultural and not at the institutions of learning where you actually have affirmative actions for both women and blacks. But apparently, the culture is a very powerful thing.

      While institutions of higher learning may not explicitly discriminate, in terms of recruitment and admissions, the culture within these institutions can be at times discriminatory. For example, there tend to be relatively more men than women getting tenure. So, when young women enter an institution and see very few female professors, it affects them directly and indirectly. They do not see themselves represented in the Faculty, and do not have as many role models to aspire to. Also, the female professors that do get tenure have reported at times that their job as a professor looks quite different than that of their male colleagues. For instance, they may see many more students during office hours who are seeking emotional support and guidance (more of the traditional caring and nurturing role). These hours do not count towards their actual workload though. While its great that students find them more approachable and helpful, its not hard to see how this would be detrimental to their career. Female faculty may also be treated differently by students within a classroom, which would also affect the female students in the classroom. So yes, affirmative action programs are good when it comes to admissions, but they don’t necessarily change the learning environment.


    • Loved your comment. It was very insightful.
      Oftentimes I think, with regard to representation in the field of engineering , women in India have it better than women in the USA. There is often complete cultural support for a girl who wants to become an engineer , irrespective of gender, for the field (because of the very real affluence it brings).
      Infact, there’s considerable pressure to choose computer engineering , irrespective of gender.
      Thus, in a bizarre way, that field, -which is bemoaned in the USA as not attracting enough American women- seems to have been liberated from gender associations in India 🙂


    • There is a similar instance where a science panel was asked as to why there are lesser number of women in sciences. The astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson responds to it from his experience of being a black man in science. Some people might find it interesting

      From 1:01:50 onwards


    • Very insightful comment! By the way, my father is a theoretical physicist too. And yes, while he does always bemoan how the quality of students opting for higher studies in physics has been steadily going down, I’ve never once heard him suggest that female students are any better or worse than the male ones!


  6. It boils down to what is the definition of ‘equal’. In this context, equal is not the same as identical. Women and men are distinctly different from each other, but each of them have unique capabilities that are meant to complement each other for humankind to thrive and flourish. In that sense they are equal.
    If this answer is not convincing enough or is too complicated for your friends, then a simpler way would be to ask them to get back to you when they hear of a man having the power of giving birth to another human being (and do not count that one instance of the ‘man’ who was actually a woman, who became pregnant). If they can’t find any such example, but come back with something a man can do which a woman can’t – you get to say ‘NOW, you see what I mean?’.


  7. I am not sure how that debate started, but I remember once there was this debate between boys and girls in the 7th grade classroom (while the teacher was still there) as to who is better. So one boy said, we guys can walk without our shirts, can girls do that?

    The teacher (female) jumped in with a response, we nurture babies in our wombs and give birth to them. Can you guys do that? No. So don’t pick on biological differences.

    And that was that 🙂


    • This ‘can you walk without your shirts’ argument is just so absurd. I mean, of course women CAN walk without their shirts on–its not like they become paralysed waist down when their upper bodies are bare! The reason they don’t walk around topless is mostly cultural–because breasts are so completely sexualised in the popular imagination that exposing them is akin to exposing your private parts. Even breastfeeding is taboo in public, because people don’t like to be reminded of the primary reason why breasts exist. Be that as it might, I don’t see how the cultural sanction for men to walk about shirtless should lead to claims of superiority!


    • I don’t think men taking off their shirt can EVER be compared to women giving birth.
      Walking without shirt by men is just something that is socially accepted,in our times, while women are denied the same freedom. It is not something that women can NOT do. If I were the teacher, I would have said that,rather than bringing up biology. .


  8. If your friends think men are better than women because of the 3 points (and maybe more) then you need to change your friends!!
    Also, regarding point 3, Why do we see all the inventions and discoveries more important than bringing up children or managing the household? Who said being a scientist is more beneficial to the society (or more praise-worthy) than being a homemaker? We need to come out of socially perceived definitions of good, bad to really choose our career paths and life goals.
    Point 2 is hilarious…how does “being able to rape” make someone superior?! It makes them criminal and they need to be arrested and put in jail, if nothing else!
    I think equality is nothing but everyone having a choice (without being prejudiced and being looked down upon by society) to do what they feel like doing, within the scope of law of the land where they reside.


    • “Why do we see all the inventions and discoveries more important than bringing up children or managing the household? Who said being a scientist is more beneficial to the society (or more praise-worthy) than being a homemaker?”

      So true!! If men were the ones having a womb and having babies and feeding them their milk, they would have made it sound like the most important thing in the society. So anything and everything that a woman ever did, would never be enough since the man was having kids and basically, the survival of entire human race will depend on him.

      “We need to come out of socially perceived definitions of good, bad to really choose our career paths and life goals.” So true!!


  9. I think to even wonder about which gender is superior is flawed thinking. You can’t put all men into one bucket and all women into another and then compare them. Among both men and women, people can be kind or mean, wise or foolish, compassionate or selfish. It really depends on the individual. It’s as futile as trying to decide if Indians are superior to Americans or Gujaratis are better than Punjabis. It just depends on the person. But regardless of who they are, they all have the same fundamental rights.


  10. Going off on a tangent here but I know I will get some really good advice. How do I deal with people (especially men) who start talking about how men’s issues are being sidelined in the fight for women’s rights? Their claim is that men are as much abused as women are. Don’t even get me started on what they consider abuse. Abuse apparently is the wife not being able to cook/clean and be like their mom (not paraphrasing at all here). Abuse also happens when men are married to “aggressive” women. This is the basic abuse definition I got out of the few men who brought this up. My response so far has been:
    1. The fight for women’s rights and men’s issues are not mutually exclusive
    2. What you term as abuse can be resolved by more realistic expectations from your partner and having dialogs with them if you are feeling bullied. If a dialog/counselling doesn’t help, please walk out of the relationship rather than suffer. Feminism is not stopping you from doing that.
    3. Men do face a lot of pressure from the same patriarchal system that we feminists have issues with. And we recognize that and that’s why we ask you to join hands with us instead of making this a men vs. women issue. Goes back to #1.

    However what I really want to do is smack them and knock some sense into their head. Really? I mean you really want to compare the issues brought up as “men’s issues” (I’m sure that even some men are offended by the characterization of the issues. There’s much more to a relationship than the ability to cook I would think) to the issues that women face? How do I get a more powerful message across? I understand that I might not be able to change their mind, but I want them to know better than to make such silly statements around me.


    • Oh you know what? i have heard a lot of this. I have heard like men are soooo innnocent and nice, women manipulate, they dont cook and clean and do all things, men are sandwiched between their moms and wives and their lives are so miserable after marriage and they dont have freedom at all.
      I am so tired of trying to argue and convince these kind of idiots – all i want to do is to smack them hard!!


    • “Abuse apparently is the wife not being able to cook/clean and be like their mom (not paraphrasing at all here).”

      Just ask why they consider that abuse. What if the woman works, or are they only ever speaking of home-making? Men don’t usually cook for women like their mothers either. Do they consider it abuse? By this definition, all working women are abused by their husbands because I don’t know any hubbies taking training from their MIL in cooking for the wife. Able bodied people should be able to feed, clean and serve themselves. They can choose to divide work in the family but cooking is not women’s work. That itself is a sexist imposition on women

      “Abuse also happens when men are married to “aggressive” women. ”

      Yes if they mean that the ‘aggressive’ women are hitting their husbands or raping them or bullying them into making their personal life decisions against (not things that affect the couple but things that affect the man like whether or not he works). Unless they do any of these, being aggressive is not automatically abusive in itself. If by aggressive they mean that the wives defend their own personal autonomy and personal decisions, then the word they are looking for is ‘assertive’ and self defence is not termed abusive in any law or morality.


      • I totally appreciate and understand the sense you are trying to make with “what if wife also works?” Let me just point out though, that homemaking isn’t a cakewalk – i realised this after i became one after having worked for 6 yrs of my adult life. That’s a lot of work. And the quality a wife can put in, nobody can. Not even if you pay a very handsome amount. I just think it’s about time that housework be considered work, no questions asked.


        • I think it’s a lot of work and my intention was not to trivialise that. My point is more about:

          “And the quality a wife can put in, nobody can. ”

          I think a husband can put in the same quality. I get your point that hired help might not care as much as a member of the family but that member can be male or female. Housework is not ‘women’s work’. It can never be abuse if your wife doesn’t cook to your liking. Firstly if she’s cooking then you don’t really get to make demands, you should eat they way she likes to cook. Secondly the assumption that it IS the wife’s job to cook is not a valid one. I’m questioning the entrenched gender roles here when I say ‘what if she works outside too’ because housework is not just for women and outside work is not just for men.


        • And I totally agree that housework should be considered work, for both men and women. It’s the gendered approach to division of labour that I disagree with.


        • Of course homemaking isn’t a cakewalk but I wouldn’t say that only a wife can do quality housework. Find the right person who is committed and works hard, pay them enough and they will do a good job. Let’s not put housework on a pedestal and make it work only a wife/mother can do well.


        • I am sorry but I do not agree with ‘And the quality a wife can put in, nobody can’.I personally know a couple where the wife worked late hours and the husband was always going to office later than her and coming home eaarlier than her, as his office was very close by.He would come home, clean and cut vegetables, some days even cok an entire meal (roti, rice, dal, sabji), clean up the kitchen after cooking, lay the table, fold the laundry, sort it, and on weekends when they were expecting company (me)he did all the tidying up while she was in the kitchen making snacks.She personally told me that he does a better job of housework than her.And she learnt all her cooking from him, skills, tips n tricks, etc.To conclude, a man can bring quality to house work.


    • bit.ly/1bKIsxF -> I think you should read this. Next time you meet a so-called “men’s rights activist”, please refer them here and then ask them to re-evaluate if they ever truly were an MRA or no. Chances are, they probably weren’t.


  11. 1. Men are superior because a woman cannot take off her shirt but a man can.

    Who says women CANNOT take their shirt off? They are physically capable of doing so. The fact is that it is socially unacceptable for them to do so. These are two very different things. One is a capability and another is a social norm. The latter can be changed. But the more important question is, what value does being able (read: “allowed”) to take off a piece of clothing in public hold that we should call one half of the population superior because of it? What meaningful benefit derives from it?

    People, of all ages, races, castes, genders, abilities, etc. etc. are unique in their capabilities. BUT, at the end of the day, they are all equal because they are all human. Is a doctor superior to a farmer because she can perform a surgery and he cannot? Is he superior because he can grow the food that she will eat and feed her family? No. They each have unique talents that they use to help people. They both help – but in different ways. So they are unique, but equal. Equality does not mean sameness, as has been pointed out by other comments. It means alike in value. Both men and women have equal value as human beings. None is superior. And thus, no one needs to prove their ‘superiority’.

    As you said IHM, “Equality means that we do not need to prove how capable or ‘superior’ we are, to have the same basic rights that everybody else has.”


  12. 1. Men are superior because a woman cannot take off her shirt but a man can.
    Well, technically a woman CAN remove her shirt too, the same way as men can. Duh! It is only the reactions that differ. Is SHE responsible for the reactions? NO!

    2. A woman can’t rape a man, so men are ‘superior’.
    Oh WOWWOWWOW! So ability to rape is the measure superiority among humans?!! Just imagine the low level of intelligence of the brain that cited this reason for superiority of men. Going by this, among men themselves, the mass murderer, the psychopaths can be deemed to be the superior ones, because they committed a crime and not the others?

    3. Why have there been ten times more male inventors and scientists than female ones?
    Because the women were busy cooking and taking care of these inventors and scientists. This question is similar to a situation where you tie the hands and legs of one person and then ask them why they cannot do the same things that the other (whose hands and feet are not tied) can do. Duh! Personally I feel ANYONE who asks this question is way inferior in their thinking.


  13. I think such stupidity can be dealt with only by equally ridiculous comparisons.

    Boy: I can remove my shirt. Girls cant.
    Girl: I can remove my bra. Boys cant.

    Boy: Men can rape women
    Girl: Women can kill men.

    Boy: There are more men scientists
    Girl: There are more women gynecologists ( am not sure if this is actually an accurate statistic but lets just go with the flow 🙂 )


  14. “Here are three arguments used to ‘prove’ that ‘men are superior to women’. Do share if you have heard any others. ”
    I’ve heard quite a few men say that women can’t ‘think clearly’ so therefore men must rule.
    If you question these men further they’ll usually state that not being able to think clearly is estrogen related or women are somehow simply inherently cognitively inferior.


    • The irony here is that these same men will complain about women showing too much skin and how “distracting” that is for them and their concentration, and how it prevents them from thinking clearly. So who should really rule here? The people who are easily distracted by ankles or the people who aren’t? 😛


  15. Sounds like a peeing contest your guy friends are drawing you into. Which, by the way, you’d lose too. Why don’t you try asking them if they can make, nurture, and give birth to a baby? Do you realise that this ‘equality’ question is about the right to respect, life, safety. Equality question comes in where you, as belonging to one particular gender, are culturally and socially restrained from doing things that are normally allowed to the other gender . I think you are undermining this notion of equality simply by asking this question, entertaining such a discussion with your friends. If you still want to continue being friends with such people, that is. I say people, and not guys, because this is a gender-neutral statement. You may find women who think that they are inferior to guys, whatever their reason for thinking so.


  16. It is frustrating when people we consider as friends give such biased remarks… It is impossible to make them understand that men and women are equal. The perception of equality comes from their family, their social background, the whole society that has raised them. Their mother, their sisters, their wives, the other women in their family or someone that close to them, if they work hard for a long time, might have chances of successfully changing their perception of equality. As a friend, it would not be possible to change it by discussions or arguments.

    It is almost impossible for a friend to change this perception. I would say, just stay away from these friends… If that is not possible, then the best thing would be to stop discussing gender or equality related topics with them.


  17. This is called maze lena .When a group of friends find someone as chidku they just talk trash and laugh.My brother also has this habbit. Though saying that man can rape woman is sign of superiority is going overboard , but many times these type of people go overboard.The more you argue with them in serious manner the more the make fun of you.best way is deal with them smartly.


  18. I’ve faced this problem with a lot of guy “friends” too. But they typically shut up after exam scores come out, and they see that out of a 150+ class of engineering students, the lone three females are always getting the highest. 🙂

    People like your “friends”, unfortunately, will never change unless they want to change. They remain willfully blind, and they will believe what they want to believe, even when you bring them proof. Your proof, facts and logic will forever be dismissed as “That’s your opinion!”, even when it is backed up sociologically. The bottom line is, people are dumb. Mostly by choice. There are a few ways you can deal with this.

    1). You can keep arguing with them, and maybe one day they will grow up enough to change and understand your point of view. Given their age and general maturity level, and how willing they are to learn, this can happen. Mostly though, you will just end up wasting your breath on an bunch of idiots who don’t want to listen to you anyway.

    2) You can stop wanting their acceptance and move on. Women do not need the endorsement of men in order to know that they are equal. This is a fact of life. Women are human beings, and they are equal, and they have been equal in every way since the dawn of humanity. There has not been a single profession in this planet that has not been occupied by women. There is no job on this Earth that women have not done, except maybe donate sperm, and even then there are transgender women who have done that. We do not need people to give us permission in order to succeed in life and go places. We will go there anyway. You do not need your friends to view women as equals in order for it to be so. We are equal anyway. They are just fooling themselves by pretending otherwise.

    The next time they bait you, just smile sweetly and say, “Nothing you say will change my mind, I don’t care about your opinion.” (If they tell you that you are being ignorant, just call them out on their hypocrisy. See #1.)

    Also, there’s the final option, which works well with option two, which is dumping them and finding better, more enlightened friends. You don’t have to surround yourself with such negativity, they will only bring you down to their level and strip away any ounce of critical thinking that you have. Some day, maybe, they will go places and see women and men who don’t believe as they believe, and they themselves will accept that they were wrong. But it’s not your job to prove that they are, it is their job to come to that conclusion on their own.

    So take that burden off your shoulders and get on with your life. 🙂 Nobody speaks out because they want to prove people wrong. They speak out because they want to know that there are people who think the same way as they do.


    • Also, about the fact that there are 10x more male scientists than female scientists–this is abjectly untrue. The ratio of male to female scientists, much like any other profession, is actually much closer than your “friends” think.

      What they are looking at is the number of male scientists who are recognized in their fields vs the number of female scientists who are recognized in their fields. The key word here is “recognition”. Women have been in every profession there is, but them and their achievements are hardly ever recognized and given the appropriate awards. This lack of recognition and encouragement is a direct result of patriarchy and the attitudes that your “friends” have. They seem to think that the world was always sunshine and rainbows, and that women have always had equal opportunities, and that somehow we “choose” not to go into such professions or do not succeed in them because our intellect is smaller.

      So basically, they’re enforcing the very attitude that keeps women from succeeding, and then blaming women for their lack of success. They’re proving once again that they’re hypocrites. For your, and your blood pressure’s sake, just stop talking to them.


  19. If you have guy friends who need proof that that women and men are equal and who cite those three reasons as proof of men’s superiority, then you need to change your guy friends.

    All I wanted to say has been said by others already.

    Tell your guy friends to check the Secondary School results of any Board exam these days.
    During childhood and formative years, when one’s gender is not too much of a handicap, the girls have been doing better than the boys consistently these last few years.



    • IMO, the question isn’t about academic achievement in school years, but the “follow-through”. How many girls finish their PhDs and do research? How many are “allowed” to be career-oriented, even when the career is not bringing in the bucks? (I’m talking about male:female ratios here, and not the complete absence of such women.)


  20. 1) There are states in the US where a woman can legally be topless. There are countries in Europe where it’s the same.

    2) While rare, there have been an increase in the number of male rapes/abuse where women were the accused. This is more common with an older woman targeting a teen or pre-teen boy.

    3) Cultural and social bias. This is similar to how lower caste people in India are in general academically weaker, despite being equally intelligent and capable on average.




      • Its clear the poster got into an arranged marriage. Arranged marriage works that way (girl/her family look for a boy who will be more successful and lead, as opposed to equality).

        Why are you blaming the poster? Blame the system


        • ‘More successful’ and ‘less successful’ people are still equal humans. If he brings home the money and she takes care of the home and kids (assuming that’s what you mean), they are both contributing to the household. There is no reason for her to be treated as inferior somehow. He married a partner, he didn’t buy a slave. One can choose entirely different roles in a marriage and still be equals.

          Systems are made up of people and we must question people if we are to change systems.


        • Pallavi, women are equally at fault for getting into marriages with people like the original commenter. Don’t just blame the guy.

          From my personal experience, many women are okay with committing to a marriage within a few days of meeting/interacting the guy, as long as he is sufficiently more qualified/successful than the woman. Last week, I met a girl through the glorious system who said something to the tune of ‘My family picked a boy who is more successful than I, and I will follow you in life. This is part of the values imbibed in me by family”. This girl had a super education and a super career, and would potentially throw it all away for a guy she met a week ago.

          Why not get to know the guy for a few months before marriage? Why set such low standards for yourself when it comes to marriage?


        • Carvaka, I never said I subscribe to the view that success/bringing in money = deserves better treatment. In fact, my GF is elder and makes more money. I take care of the cooking + vessel washing entirely, she does the cleaning. As you can see, I take a larger share of house work by choice.

          I’m saying what the OP is saying is the desired result of traditional arranged marriage – that the husband be “better” in every possible way (height, being elder, earning more, more qualified) so that he leads and she follows. Start with asking women to change this equation. Women’s families will agree to a match where the man and woman are seen as equals, at least that’s what I see


        • Okay, could someone disliking my comments explain why? I’m saying that from my personal experience, I see the average Indian woman setting.very low standards for arranged marriage. I realize the folks on this blog are far more determined than the average desi girl


        • Niketan I gave you a thumbsdown because this comment is not posted by girl/family looking for a more successful guy than her. The comment is by a poster who considers himself superior to his wife and announces it. The comment of the poster is derogatory irrespective of what according to you most girls/families want. You do not know his wife to conclude she falls into that category.


        • Who said anything about blaming the guy. Women promote patriarchy as much as men do. They do it because they don’t know better. Things will change when the right questions are asked. Things will change when discussion is encouraged. Also, I said ‘people’, not the guy. Why do you jump to conclusions?


    • Real leaders are chosen by their followers…only dictators proclaim themselves as leaders :). By leader, I presume that you mean that you want to keep the financial power and decision making power in your hands. I’ve heard other people make similar claims and they have generally come to a fairly sticky end (even the well-intentioned ones). Once you take decision making out of another person’s hands, they will resent you; they will constantly second-guess your decisions and they will stop trusting you. It will inevitably happen, even if the other person is non-confrontational. Also, once you retire, you become the dependent…all the other person’s built-up resentment will finally find an outlet…you’ll find that the SMOOTH life you are looking for is no longer within your grasp. So, if not for her sake, then at least for your own sake, do not arrogate any naive claims of so-called leadership to yourself.


  22. 3. Why have there been ten times more male inventors and scientists than female ones?

    Please read “A room of one’s own” by Virginia Woolf. She illustrates why male writers were(are?) so much more successful than female writers (“It would have been impossible, completely and entirely, for any woman to have written the plays of Shakespeare in the age of Shakespeare”), but the same principle holds for inventors and scientists as well. Plus, it’s a beautiful read. She sees the gender disparity through amused, not angry eyes, but the essays are all the more hard-hitting for that.


  23. Laugh your head off. Why do you want to convince these guys?

    You can’t win, they will first drag you to their level of idiocy and beat you with experience.


    • This is factually incorrect. Non-consensual intercourse is rape, whether it was physically brought upon the victim or not.

      There are cases of women pinning men emotionally and then engaging in intercourse. Of course, this is a small number, but wanted to point out the inaccuracy.


  24. Pingback: A post for the superiority freaks | Shail's Nest

  25. a. you don’t need to “argue” or “prove” equality- they are equal. It is like “believing in gravity”- you don’t have to, it is.
    b. these aren’t your “friends” they are trying to rile you.

    Just my two cents, but don’t argue with them, it will be like wrestling with a pig- you will get dirty, the pig will enjoy it. People who use specious arguments like the ones you discuss are neither nuanced nor smart and sensitive enough to discuss gender and disparity. The whole conversation on their part seems to be a shouting at and trying to ridicule your reasoned and thought out points. They are just not emotionally mature to discuss actual issues. Actually they are trying to reduce you to their level of idiocy with their shock talk and to beat you once you are there – as another commenter put it. Don’t waste your energy and time- you will need that when you have to stand up for your rights.

    Sorry that I have sounded so condescending, but think about it, is it a discussion they are having or trying to make fun of things you stand for passionately?Don’t feed the trolls.


  26. Dont compare Apples ( Men )and Oranges ( Women).
    Apples and oranges are fruits . Men and women are human beings
    Apples and oranges share all properties of the fruit, yet they are different.
    Men and women share all properties of “homosapiens”, yet they are different.
    They can only complement each other.

    Who should be bigger or smaller , better or brighter is a discussion that can be held long and hard and the answers will depend on who facilitates the debate , in what culture, in which country , aptittude, atttitudes, so on and so forth.
    We can put it on the table and arrive at answers , to work with together, but equality on the same variables will vary.
    They are supposed to vary, to complement each other.

    My favorite eg is of the hand. If all the fingers were made of “equal” length, it would never work. In its inequality , lies the “function and strength.

    Moral of the story : Fight for each other, not with each other.

    Thank You


  27. Pingback: Do Indian women see socially reinforced gender inequality as a problem in the first place? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  28. Pingback: Would Indra Nooyi like to be the kind of mother to her daughters that her mother has been to her? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  29. Pingback: ‘My question is, what do you do? What do you say when the majority thinks this way…’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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