This is the sixth of a series of posts as a part of my daily blogging journey. The goal is simple – write and post daily for as long as I can or $\geq 60$ days. Longer articles have been moved to “Essays”. To receive updates as and when I post something new, make sure you subscribe to my newsletter. Without further ado, let’s get started.

Let’s talk about sexism at IIT Kanpur today. I posted a poll on my Instagram Stories yesterday asking people to rate the level of sexism that they think exists on campus. 36 people responded to the poll. And it has given some interesting insights.

Before I get into parsing the data and making comments about the situation, I should warn you that the poll suffers from data biases like small sample size, inherent biases among the respondents, gender and personal experiences of the respondents etc. So, it is safe to say that the survey alone should not be extrapolated to represent the general case.

To counter some of these biases, I have talked to a few friends about sexism on campus. While this approach supposedly handles some of the biases and provides more evidence for or against the argument, it introduces a few biases of its own. My friend circle is limited, and hence our thought process is also limited due to our worldview. Okay, enough of the boring disclaimers, let’s look at the data and make some comments.

Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender. Sexism can affect anyone, but it primarily affects women and girls. – Wikipedia.

A generic square placeholder image with rounded corners in a figure.
A generic square placeholder image with rounded corners in a figure.
1 - All good. 10 - IITK Campus is sexist.

Comments

  1. 7 is the average response. So, yes it seems that IITK campus is somewhat of a sexist place.
  2. It would be hard to say objectively that IITK campus is sexist, because the sample size is only 36 but frankly, I’d say it is sexist.
  3. Most girls who responded to the poll voted 10, while boys chose 1-5 mostly. I think this is interesting. I think the divide is due to the fact that we’re talking about prejudices against girls in a mostly-boys campus.
  4. A few people voted for the average (5/10).

What do I think?

I think IITK is sexist as a campus. I might be incredibly biased, and to be honest with you, I have not faced half the things most girls have to go through. That said, I can recount a few experiences where people casually passed on comments just because I use lip balm, body lotion, and dressed up nicely almost everytime I went outside my room. I don’t think they mean any harm or they meant to demean me in any way, but it is what it is.

Talking to my friends, I’ve come to know of many other prejudices. Someone told me that “boys” are supposed to be this non-bathing creatures, who are supposed to walk around the campus in boxers and chappals. I call bullshit to that. Since when have staying clean become a feminine thing, lol? Comments like, “Bandi hai isliye mil gaya.” sound stupid to me. I’ll rant about reservations some other time.

IITK is supposed to be this heavenly place for academics where the “cream of the nation” exchange ideas. Clearly, curling the damn fingers for electromagnetism isn’t enough. Instead of a few stupid courses, I think IITK could teach about gender sensitization, reservations, the place of women in the society, diversity etc. Or at least offer a few elective courses.

Some would say I’m being over sensitive or that people calling out sexism are being overly sensitive about the issue. That is not the right way, in my opinion. I’m in no way perfect, and I just hope that the imperfection does not rear its ugly head. You should definitely call me out if I misbehave, and everyone else.

This is a loose rant. Feel free to message me or email me if you think I said something wrong.

Okay, then - thanks for reading till the end. I hope you get rich, that you get lots of rice in your life. Stay safe.

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