The question is of course rhetorical. I do not want to hear reservation or empowerment for an answer. Because by now all these utopian ideas have proved to be a farce. All that we can offer our girls is martial art class, psychological awareness, a pepper spray and a lot of prejudice. Even after numerous social media awareness programs, talk shows and debates, we are still stuck in the body shaming, slut shaming and male chauvinistic era. Do you think all these happen only in social media ? Do you intend to say that it is the men who slut shame women? Then I have to ask you which universe do you live in. Open your eyes and look around. You can see numerous women, ladies,aunties, oldies and teenagers who pass on the sleaziest comments against women.
Recently I attended a family friend’s function. When I entered their home, the first reaction of the host to my husband was “Why don’t you make her wear some clothes”. I looked at myself. I was wearing a kurta and leggings . Apparently I was wondering if I forgot to wear my leggings . No, it was there. A lose leggings that didn’t even go with the definition of the “leggings” we see these days. The kurta was a high neck one. So cleavage is not visible. So what did I miss? Aah yes, sleeve. I was wearing a sleeveless kurta and was shamelessly flaunting my arms. Flaunting your back, bust, abs, belly button and even pubic hair is allowed as long as you are wearing a saree but your legs and arms should never be exposed to the public. What are you saying!! It is against our cultural heritage.
I still don’t understand why she asked my husband why he didn’t make me wear some clothes instead of asking me why I didn’t wear something. Is he the one who put on clothes for me? Or is it because they think that I make my husband do my jobs? No, the answer is clear. The insinuation was that why my husband “allowed” me to wear a sleeveless dress. I must take permission from him before wearing this and he should not “give” permission to wear sleeveless.
This is one of the harmless instances that I mentioned but what with the more serious, shameless, brutal and culture less thoughts revolving in the likes of the lady whom I mentioned before. God forbid if someone rapes a girl or woman who was wearing sleeveless or short dress they would say that she deserved it or even she asked for it. So why do we get surprised when men give rape threat to a woman. If his mother thinks that a woman should be raped for wearing modern dress or western dress for that matter, what would you expect her son to do with a woman. Respect? Nay!!
We should teach our girls to stand up for themselves, we should teach our boys to respect women, but before that we adults should behave. A man need not respect a woman with such sleazy mentality. A man should only respect a woman who gives due respect to him without being submissive and dominating. Before teaching a boy or man to respect a woman, let women start respecting each other irrespective of their dress, financial status, cast, creed or nationality.
Another comment that pinched my self-worth was ” it would have been understandable if she was from a rich family ” . So tell me, what is the connection between money and a woman’s individuality or self respect. If you are a billionaire, you can wear anything,do anything and say anything? What do we teach our girls if we ourselves do know how to behave?
“Why does he do all this gossiping? Is he a woman?” I would say asking this question is a crime. The same insinuate that women keep on gossiping and being woman is a degradation for a man.
This international girls day, let’s not give them anything. Let’s work towards developing ourselves and our mentality. Let’s stand for each other and then teach our girls to stand for themselves.