More humps on the road of self-esteem building

While the concept of gender equality is increasingly becoming a part of everyday discourse, the situation of women is still far off from the ideal state of gender equality. In the media alone, so much remains to be done yet as far as “woman” as a concept is concerned. In most advertisements about products – not only beauty products but any product from shampoos to liquor to watches and others – the image of a “desirable” woman is a twin image. The “desirable body” is equal to the object being advertised. The constant bombardment of people’s psyche about woman as “something to be desired” leaves a subliminal message of “desirability” as physical desirability. The local and global industry of beauty contests cement the concept of “desirability” as physical desirability, male-defined and class-defined. The higher income class’s definition of desirability prevails and this leaves a gaping wound in the psyche of the female population which is always at the mercy of the subliminal inroads of the media. This is a hump on the road of self-esteem building. Consciously or unconsciously , women are pushed to the belief that their worth should be always defined by men. Women do not get the needed intellectual support for their struggle to be strong women and be real pillars of a world that is supposed to continuously evolve.

In community organizing, the idea of human dignity of men and women is a fundamental theme. Communities can never move forward with women feeling less worthy in everyday human affairs because society , through the mass media, conditions people into feeling that women are only as good as how men perceive them. Even society’s educational and cultural institutions do not generally promote ideas that could stop the subliminal manipulation of people. A case in point is the sale of skin whiteners. Skin whiteners are selling like hot cakes because every woman as a market concept has been “pre-sold” of the idea that to be “complete” a woman must have a fair complexion. A woman must be “fair and smooth” for men! This particular hump on the road needs to be leveled off by alternative lifestyles.

Community Organizing as a process will need a lot of day-to-day prototypes that veer away from the concept of the market. At a glance the idea of going against the force of the mass media overwhelms.But we who believe in change should ever keep in mind the rhythm of the rain drops. Because of rain constantly falling from the roof tops, even a stone develops a crevice.