Archive for December, 2013

Feminist and Humanist

December 17, 2013

L V Nagarajan

There has been quite a lot of concern of-late about the safety of women in India. Sexist crimes are seen to be on the increase. As more and more women, especially among urban middle class, started taking part in social and professional activities, such crimes and their reporting have increased. Among the rich and affluent class, these crimes and accusations are treated just as page-3 matter. Among the poor and lower class people, these crimes are just ignored. 

This middle class outrage has now started biting the higher class people also, including senior judges and media owners. There is almost 100% agreement on exposing and punishing these criminals against women’s modesty and freedom. Indians are still to get used to seeing women other than as mothers, sisters, daughters, relatives and servants. Even women need to get used to seeing men beyond these relationships. Now we have relationships between men and women in the form of, – colleague/co-worker, student/teacher, boss/sub-ordinate, supplier/customer etc. Sometimes both men and women try to extend this relationship to something more, and here comes the risk. A boss seeing his/her subordinate also like a son or a daughter, a student accepting her teacher as a friend, an executive seeing her  colleague as fellow traveler on tours, either of them accepting such a gesture in a hurry – these are some of the situation found difficult to handle by both and men and women. These lead to closer contacts between them and on some weak moments appeal to sexual instincts. During such closer contacts, extended relationships beyond the obligatory, consensual or otherwise, should be mercilessly abandoned. Perhaps in our next generation, men and women will be more used to handling such multi-level relationships between them with more maturity.

It is very well accepted that men are more to be blamed for such crimes. But it is sad to see, women are more and more refusing to acknowledge their role in maintaining healthy and safe practices while moving in man’s world. They claim that such unhealthy and unsafe trends are their rights as modern and liberated women. I refer to a recent unsigned article that appeared in cnn-ibn website. The article is given below with my comments. As you can see the article is very aggressive on women’s rights, if not provocative. This is an attempt to moderate such views to more practical and safer levels. Some women close to you may have such extreme views. Kindly show this blog to them.             

From Article from ibnlive.com – Date : 26 Sept 2013

By an unknown author

Here are some openly feminist pointers to men who deal with women daily at home, workplaces and socially:

1. A woman can decide to take time to internalize and process an incident. The outward expression isn’t proof of internal trauma.

(Outward expression may hide internal trauma. But In case of serious crimes such as rape and sexual assault you should not hide your internal trauma. You should express your internal trauma as quickly as possible after any crime. Otherwise you are risking yourself of mal-intent. This is true for both men and women)

2. A woman can choose to file a complaint at any time she deems fit – even a month after the incident if she so chooses, it doesn’t mean she is looking to make hay.

(For any crime, the complaint should be made immediately after the crime. Surely efforts will be made by the criminal to stall the same. Any complaint made after a long delay will need to be explained)

3. Even if it started as a consensual affair, a woman can say ‘no’ at any time. ‘No’ means ‘no’. The sooner men understand that the better it is for all parties concerned

(When you start any activity jointly, it is always difficult to walk out in the middle. This is very much true in consensual sex. Think thousand times before your consent, either by intent or by default. Otherwise, say ‘no’ at the earliest)

4. A woman can have multiple sexual partners. What she chooses to do in her own time isn’t your concern. It doesn’t reflect on her abilities as a professional. You cannot take the moral high ground as defence against a charge of sexual assault

(It is immoral for both men and women to have multiple sex partners. In some countries it is even a crime. Anyone has a right to be immoral. Having a professional expertise, or lack of it, does not enhance or diminish this right)  

5. A woman’s clothes aren’t testimony to her character

(True. Indecent people do parade in decent clothes. Some time, very decent people do come in rather revealing clothes. But decent people, both men and women, are expected to attire themselves decently in public. Revealing clothes expose people, especially women, to some risks) 

6. Even in a feminist world, you have to be courteous to women. The tired cliche that ‘if you think you are equal to us, you bloody well fight for that last seat on the tube’ doesn’t work for me. Women value generosity in a man

(Courtesy is demanded of everybody. Respect is something to be commanded not demanded. Nowadays, we could see some ladies being very loud and nasty and commonly using four letter words. Men value modesty in a woman)

7. Often you are physically, mentally and emotionally the only crutch a woman has – as her brother, husband, lover, friend, father and colleague – to bear her cross. Don’t exploit that as leverage for bargaining for her freedom and choices she makes

(This is addressed to a man. In present days, even a man finds a woman as an emotional help. Many women are seen to exploit such emotions. Any such exploitation either way is despicable) 

8. You wouldn’t like to be told how to live your life. Don’t tell her how to live hers

(Speaking for myself, though I am an adult now, I would still need advice of friends and close relatives even on some private matters. Any unsolicited advice does irritate you, I agree.) 

9. Her freedom – to wear what she wants, to go where she wants, to choose her friends – isn’t yours to bestow. Don’t play her God in your micro-cosmos

(Any youngster will sometimes need the advice and acceptance of his/her seniors. Outsiders definitely do not have any say on this) 

10. Nothing works better than a well worded apology when you are wrong. You don’t know what a woman is willing to forgive if you only said sorry.

(It is again a question of courtesy, demanded from all)

I still shudder to think what will some women call me after reading this.

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