19 May, 2013


Playing the devil's advocate - after clarifying that I do not share the author's disrespect for the 'sanaf-e-nazuk' [the female gender] - I dare say that several feminists have trivialized women's empowerment by attempting to erase their unique identity and grace.

It is almost as if being and looking a woman is unwomanly. At the JNU I learn some girls strongly advocate suppressed busts as the benchmark for modern, independent woman. A well-endowed woman is by the very look, for them, slavish.

There are those that think of women who refuse to wear jeans and trousers as backward, unassertive, meek, even cowards..

Then there are those that have made a virtue of irresponsible sex. How else does one defend women that have been sleeping with men [who promised them jobs or film roles - and apparently didn't] and claim to be raped 'over the months'?

I guess there is a case to make for respecting identities as they come, and not as we demand. To that extend this author's demand that women wear skirts to please male public, is outrageous. Equally denouncing women who do so may need to be tempered.
Feminism bordering on erasing the essence of feminity appears no less harmful than their treatment as merely objects of gratification by men.

And when it comes to treating women of alien cultures there is this twin challenge of gender and culture appreciation. Few men succeed at grasping the sensitivities involved.

I am afraid, though, that both facts need to be recognized: first that men will continue to be men and will be attracted to outstanding female bodies [whether well endowed here, or flattened elsewhere, whether of rose petalled lips here or thick, hanging lips in Africa]. Can this be eliminated? All they can do is to restrain the display of their admiration.

On the other hand conscious attempt at educating men [from boyhood] and sensitization to the dilemma of women are sorely required, and our education and work culture still excludes this at the popular level. Few men are trained to see the world from women's point of view, despite their reasonable commitment to fairplay.

I relate here two instances: During the Gujarat riots while we supplied usable garments to riot victims of the various relief camps, we forgot a vital item called sanitary napkins, until Anjolie Ela Menon came visiting and chided me on ignoring this vital necessity. Why did this not register? Because all involved, until then, were men, not trained to women's needs.

In my private office's staff wash room I failed to place waste disposal system for almost two years, until a foreigner girl alerted me to this need. Why did the Indian staff never demand this? They didn't even recognize that it was their right.

My other major concern has been the trivializing of the heinous crime of rape that I mentioned in my post. The over-zealous defense of every girl who cries rape after consenting to a deal, almost equating this bad transaction with the barbarity of paternal rape of minor girls, shocks me, and I wonder why can't these defenders see the serious damage they are causing to their - and our - just cause.


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