Girl or Woman: How would like your sexual prey today, Sir?
Antibiotic cocktails aren’t a fun replacement for the original variety on a pleasantly mild-tempered November evening. Still, live we will.
“Governor Ana Julia Carepa said the age of the woman, put variously at 15 and 20, was irrelevant as she should not have been jailed with male prisoners. ”
Who deemed it fit to call an adolescent a “woman”?
I don’t know if its some kind of a language barrier or purely a psychological one that prohibits the writer of this article from comprehending that someone who is 15(or between 15-20 though am inclined to believe that she indeed is 15) is not yet a woman, unless of course they are a fictitious character in a pop-singer’s hindered psyche. If we were to get amazingly crude and equate the act of deflowering(yuck) with the onset of womanhood.
This post will spiral out of control and touch upon things that have been immaculately bottled for quite a while and moreso, I have a ligament tear and a high fever and on top of that, this, to say that I am not in the right frame of mind is an understatement. So don’t measure for meter, will ya..
Like She and I were discussing earlier, everytime charges of sexual assault and brutalization come to light, the nomenclature suitably modifies itself to indicate “maturity” of some kind, sexual preferably. However, the moment they need to portray the female of the species as cosemtically enhanced nymphos with ample amounts of silicone deposits, the sobriquet bestowed is entirely different. “Girls gone wild”..Anyone?
Either way we are often reduced to being prey. And I know that if she were alive and knew me well, June Jordan would smack me across my face and ask me “Why have you allowed anyone to reduce you to anything in anyway?”
I am afraid that there exists two responses if you mention word/s like “rape” or “sexual harrassement” or “violence against women” 1) The nonchalant it-happens-so-frequently-it-must-be-the-woman-baring-her mid-riff kind or 2) Hush-it-can-never-happen-to-me-so-why-talk-about-it kind. Violence perpetuates not only through actions but also through thoughts and by our subsequent refusal to talk about it. The story of this girl’s ordeal made me bite my lips real hard just so I could refrain from crying at my buzzing-with-activity workstation. Very soon the electronic and print media will bleed over each other trying to get the juiciest and the most heinous details of the gruesome acts inflicted upon this 15 years old girl. For about 3 days, that is, and then it will all settle. Like dust on old newspapers. We will all fold away the rags, move onto racier stories and regressive soap operas being broadcasted on respective TV sets and generally forget about this incredible violation of someone’s dignity, hell, her life, not to mention her rights as a woman and a human being. Pity. Incorrect word, still.
During the sophmore year progressive feminist teachers often lectured us in aircon endowed, technologically superior and fairly comfortable classrooms, about the strides the women’s movement has taken in the last 40 years. We discussed, rather passionately, the Elizabeth Stantons and the Angela Davises of the world but the moment we stepped out the door it’d commence, the lewd comments, winks, glances passed by all and sundry, from the menial workers to the cafeteria incharge, it made you question the validity of the entire discussion you’d just had. It made you wonder if indeed this talk about the giant steps taken by the Sisterhood indeed was some well-engineered puppetry that had us all fooled. The “eve-teasing” hasn’t stopped, niether has the cat-calling. Well, it probably never will but whats worse, its suddenly on the asencion. 10 years old boys are molesting 7 years old girls. Newspapers still abound with NRI grooms searching for fair, convent educated, english speaking brides they can torture and burn in the dingy environs of Southhall or Jackson Heights. My mother still gets sympathetic “awws” when she reveals that she has 2 daughters from two different men and she is divorced and happy on her own now.
She also mentioned visiting a blog where the sex starved author sought advice to advance his libidinous existence and was promptly supplied with detailed information about how he could use a date rape drug to get what he wanted. In the Prozac age, spiked drinks are the best way to get into a girl’s pants. I am continually, for the want of a better word, dazed by the current state of affairs. Blood curdles when I still read about some paedophile-cum-zealot impregnating his 14 year old daughter in the bylanes of Mumbai’s underbelly, “in the name of Allah”. I still need a male employee from my company to be in the car when I am dropped home by the official transport, even as early as 11:00 pm(and that is early by Bombay standards). Supplements that equal to rags you wouldn’t want to wipe your table with carry unfortunate pictures of well known actresses and further analyze the shape, size and fabric of their underwear peeking from underneath their dresses. Did anyone tell the “seasoned” photo-ogs that sometimes the flash on a camera can be strong enough to cut through the jersey material exposing more than what the wearer intended. More importantly, why does this very obvious and sub-conscious “wardrobe malfunction” merit an entire page’s worth of a write up?
Heidi Klum’s breasts constitute news, young girls hanging themselves from peepal trees in impoverished parts of Southern India usually deserve no more than a 2inch column space on Page Oh-who-cares. Everytime you turn on the TV you are reminded, by way of every single advert, that you are not fair/thin/tall/thin/small/thin/white enough. Did I mention thin? Semi-clad MTV VJs-cum-diaspora rejects let you peek into their camisoles while they seductively declare what is hot(?) for girls’ to wear this season, especially, if they need to snag a bloke. Bring on the bling! Play the ho! Some street cred, ya’all!
Froo froo designers with entire peroxide bottles emptied on their heads decide what should and shouldn’t you drape on your being in case you have “Indian skin”. What other kind of skin do Indians have? Oh! wait, maybe this guy is from that Swedish part of Delhi, you know.. South Ex perhaps? Do I really need so much nonsense filling my head just so I could dress decent for a night out in the town? Is my self worth tied to the color of my miniskirt or worse still, my skin?
Women are constantly being told, nay, ordered, to be a way that is niether comprehensible nor desirable. And we often, so easily and sometimes so gullibly and even unknowingly buy into the propaganda. In shops and streets we are meat, classified and branded like cattle. What sizes should fit, what size should you be and more importantly how hideous do you look in the navy kaftan coz that stuff is so not for size 6! Your options are as follows a) opt for a shapeless tent b)hibernate in the attic for the rest of your life and never step out or c)chew on a stick of celery and vomit your insides out so that you can keep up with Olsens or whatever twig is fashionable.
And this is a worldwide phenomenon.
Taiwanese companies want women to come to work dressed in lingerie. Laughingly the ladies comply and even talk about how they didn’t eat for 2 days to look right for the occasion. Sigh.
China recently declared that it’d only allow “tall, slim and beautiful” women to serve as hostesses during the Olympics. Of course! In a country where the average height for women is roughly 5’1″ or so, tall women are falling from trees like oranges in Ohio!
And god alone knows how do they decide as to what is and what is not “beautiful”.
Once, I remember, trying to discuss a rather unhappy event with a bunch of co-workers and their friends(young women mostly), it was about a bar dancer in a building close by and the need for rehabilitation, as I had expected the discussion veered towards feminism. Snap, came the response from a cherubic event manager for a large multinational “I am sorry if this sounds bad but I think this whole feminism-sheminism..its just a hogwash…or its for*you know look* the lesbos!”. Giddy giggling followed. Now, how could you ever argue with that kind of logic? With one statement an entire ideological and a very real revolution had been wiped out.
From the flimsiest to the goriest, all the aspects of surmounting patriarachy makes you bang your head against the wall and more so when you see young girls so conditioned to behave like fembot bimbos who measure their self-respect against the size of their waist, who think rape and abuse is something that happens to other people in other places and don’t even want to use the word let alone discuss the issues bogging an entire multitude, who are so clued into the ongoing events in Lindsay Lohan’s drug addled life but have no idea who Angela Merkel is, who make wincing noises when someone talks about the atrocities against women in Darfur and Assam and not coz they are moved but they are actually late for the launch of a new jewelry line, who think that people like myself are essentially paranoid, over-caffeinated intellectuals who are out to turn the whole world into one giant lesbian circus.
Social equivalent of a hand grenade, I am not asking you to be, but can’t we care just a little bit?