ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

The Sex called Fairer

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Have you ever wondered why females are called the fairer sex? What is the origin and meaning of the word fairer here? I have always wondered but given the attraction towards women, I never had any problem in calling them fairer. Never had inkling to doubt it for a second, lest I should earn their wrath. Well that’s fine for me given that I once surrendered the whole of Arunachal Pradesh to a Chinese girl. But I know you sons of the soil would not sit still, till you have un-earthed the reason. So here’s it for you.

There are numerous explanations floating around, given that the phrase is quite old and with time people tend to make their own theories.

First Men found women more attractive as compared to other men. They were more pleasant to look at. Fairer here was used as a tool for flattery. The croaking of the frogs! Simply put, women are prettier than men. I agree.

Second Wealthy European women used to remain indoors, avoid sun and thus remained pale. Their skin color was of a light hue and not dark. The fair color, over the working females, showed their wealth and prosperity.

Third It is a sexist term. With the division of sexes between male and female, various properties came to be associated with each. When men were considered “the better” and “the sterner” sex; women were “the fairer”, “the gentler” and “the softener” sex. Thus fairer differentiated women from hard-working, rugged, tough, dirty, hairy men.

Given this explanation it’s rather surprising how the sexist words of the old have found respectable places into our modern and rather tolerant society. There’s a contention here too. According to a research, women were far more involved in the atrocities committed during the Holocaust than previously thought. A doubt has been raised about them being really fair.

Fourth There’s an interesting anthropological angle to this. Girls are fairer haired after puberty than boys, hence the usage. Though I am not too sure about it personally.

Fifth Girls are better than men in taking ethical decisions given that they are “fairer” in their choices. Well, I will let the readers decide on this one!

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