I read Kalpana Sharma's fine article 'On wearing 'Obscene' Clothes' in The Hindu today and decided to voice myself as well, on this issue. She does wonderful work Kalpana Sharma and I am an unabashed fan of her writing.
Going by what I have seen and heard in my life it would be a fair conclusion for me - that women are the real dalits of the world. (According to Wikipedia, the word "Dalit" comes from the Sanskrit, and means "ground", "suppressed", "crushed", or "broken to pieces".) They have been abused, kept backward, taken advantage of, used by men forever. And if the trend of the erudite statements by the DGP of AP Police and the Minister in Karnataka are anything to go by, will continue to be in that position (for those not aware of their statements, they have been saying that women are dressing more provocatively and thereby inviting rape or something to that effect). There is much talk of empowerment of women in all spheres, their education, financial independence, freedom of expression, equal opportunity et al but it remains that at the heart of society, it is a deep rooted thought that women always have to play second fiddle.
Sadly there are many who share the DGPs and the Minister's views and are not as vocal about saying it out loud like these two brave men (who have crossed over from the line of bravery to the other side by talking to our overactive press about their views). Several educated men (I know education is no sign of any intellectual progress) also feel strongly that the woman's space is in the kitchen, the bedroom, to clean up, to spawn children and keep the husband happy. Almost everything in their sphere is related to how the woman is able or not able to keep them happy. All blame is on the woman, for everything, including not being able to conceive. To this day!
Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on which side one is, we are in a transition period. Women have jobs, are expressing their choices, are proving themselves better which is the worst scenario for man. Women have always made men feel insecure with their inherent strength, wisdom, patience and beauty and I always felt that women did hold back all these centuries because they are the more secure of the genders. But now that they are also competing and exercising choices and giving it back, man's insecurities only increase that much more. Now I cannot handle this, he says, you cannot look beautiful or attractive, you cannot wear these clothes, you cannot step out of the house. If you do that I cannot protect you. As if man was solely responsible for protecting women all this while. If the woman served no other purpose for man, they would have been exterminated by now.
One to one, women have more b*lls than men and that is a given. From their birth women are constantly challenged with new environments, situations while men sit in the pampered comfort of their homes. Man may be physically stronger but that is about it. Men cannot handle women, especially an attractive one. Especially alone. And the biggest insult for men happens to be about their manhood - talk of being insecure.
My guess is that the transition period will shortly go the other way when women might just call the shots. There might come one day when women in power might ask men to lock up their rather easily excitable and blameless and innocent parts, and any transgressions may result in corrective surgeries. I would like to see how the men would like to react to such a situation when they are policed by women and their transgressions dealt with in pretty much the same manner.
You cannot go and rob the ice cream van just because it is advertising itself and say that it looked really good and therefore was robbed and its the fault of the ice cream for looking so good. It is called a robbery and is punishable. Now if the DGP and the Minister are against all these distractions I am sure they can find many more things that they could focus their immense power, wisdom and energy on to make a difference. It is their job to allow the ice cream man to advertise, make the ice cream look good and get on with his life. It is their job to tell the robbers that they cannot rob anything because they liked it - not side with them. Not merely tell the ice cream man that his ice cream was too attractive and he is likely to get robbed. We all know that. What we don't understand is why these guys are getting paid.
Forget the slutwalk girls, its time for a kick-where-it-hurts campaign.
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I am reading a book called "Why Loiter?" based on some research about women and how they use (or are allowed to use) public spaces in Mumbai, and by extension, anywhere. Interesting one.
That should be interesting to read.
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