Recently, I traveled to Mahabaleshwar in Goa. I was standing in a handicraft store looking at the molds and designs of different things kept for viewing and buying. There were numerous household items, like pan, chakla-belan ( used to flatten and round dough ), pots, jars, cutting knives and trays etc.

My first reaction to this was – ‘Why do these stores have mainly female-centric items?’ I could not identify with them. This was certainly not the first time this had happened. It happens when I accompany my mother on shopping.

This incident made me feel a little uncomfortable with myself. It made me feel like my belief in ‘equality’ had been a pretense all along. Was this unique to me? Was I being hypocritical?

Confused, I emailed my Philosophy Professor. (We are currently being taught ethics and morality.)  He wrote to me – ‘We are all cultural products of our times. Our ideals are our conscious takes on issue, but in unguarded moments our unconscious prejudices and desires take over our willed actions. It is in being aware of these unguarded moments and in cultivating strong moral habits alone that we can congratulate ourselves.

I hope that this introspection will help me be more conscious of my prejudices and biases so that I am able to sideline them as far away as possible.

Does this prejudice make be a good or not? I don’t know. It certainly makes me think. Its much more than I could ask for!


13 thoughts on “Feminism and Cognitive Bias

  1. I agree with your Professor…we are all influenced by our socio/political environment ….so no …it’s just when we develop ‘awareness’ through education or experience that we start to analyse and question ….I personally always think it’s healthy to ask ‘why?’ …..but then again it HAS got me into a bit of bother at times:D:D:D

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  2. The thought alone does not make you “bad”. Encouraging it and/or acting upon it is what makes a thought bad. In your case, it’s a good thing because it made you introspect. By the way, my husband likes kitchen stuff more than me. Then again, he cooks much more than me and he’s the stay at home husband and father while I am the sole breadwinner who goes to work everyday and must sometimes work long hours, even at home, or wherever I am. We’re not a stereotype and it helps not to fall into the trap of consistently stereotyping everything around us.

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  3. Such a mix of people as I read the above comments LOL Keep in mind as well, terms change from culture to culture. Im American and was brought up by a hard core Feminist, she was a Welder and made more money than my father. Here the term feminist is not so much about equality as a political power play to gain equality through special attention because they are female, … my perspective and of fourse would differ from family to family and state, location. My mother was very selfish, extremely so, it colors my view. I opted to go towards a more traditional role and for the most part makes me very happy, (I have a pink set of tools in a tool box ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Œ) This was really interesting for me to read so thank you.

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  4. I am not at all surprised by the fact that you became aware and uncomfortable by heavily gendered products, I find myself feeling the same way. I think it is natural to feel a little uneasy when the market system relies on gender-bias to sell a product. The important thing is to be aware of it and continuously ask why things are marketed in such a way. I love what your professor had to say about it too.

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