Too much pink
Pink, which is branded as a stereotyped, ‘girly' colour in our psyche is more due to the advent of the Barbie industry. We find ourselves gifting a girl pink-coloured accessories or dresses on her birthday, but never for a boy. This itself sends strong message and establishes the stereotypes in the tender minds. Pink is seen as a fairer colour associated with the ‘weaker sex'. This thinking has to change. It is heartening to see some campaigners in the UK raising their voice against this. Sometimes too much of pink does stink!
Before coming to the conclusion that pink is a symbol of gender apartheid, we have to answer the question: “Are pink toys, dolls and gadgets imposed on the customer?” The aversion for pink comes from a few who see in it some sort of discrimination. The answer for all these questions come from the manufactures who assert that they make pink stuff because there is great demand for it.
Why blame women?
Regarding the article “On wearing ‘obscene' clothes” by Kalpana Sharma, I do not agree with the author's opinion. Obscene dressing lowers dignity. Only if women are respected are they less exploited. There may be exceptions but wearing obscene dresses in the name of fashion and freedom is not good culture.
It was heartening to read Kalpana Sharma's article. She was spot on. If what the police official said was true, then how can an 85-year-old woman, covered from head to foot in saree, be raped on a train in our country? Also, I don't think anyone can be provoked unless they want to get provoked. It's just an excuse for the shameful state of affairs in our country.
The rape incidents quoted by Kalpana Sharma and the way it was treated by our so called Judiciary in the world's largest democracy is really saddening. I can't even digest how people can think that a dress, attire gives them the right to barge into another's private space. I think it poses a vital question, are we really human? No, according to me. Until these kind of thoughts against women, which are deep rooted, persist, we are not humans but barbarians.
The articles written by Kalpana Sharma and Meenakshi Kumar (Walk your talk) are repulsive and plain anti-social. It encourages a situation that creates more crimes. It's like asking people to keep their doors open at night as their personal right or asking people to wear jewellery and flaunt it openly. These two articles need to be condemned as they encourage violation of obscenity laws as they only talk about women's rights minus the responsibilities. Nobody is justifying rape but the media is encouraging a situation that promotes rape. Rape is a complex problem. Nobody can deny the link between revealing clothes, sexual arousal and the possibility of rape. It is not the only way rape can happen but can be one of the many reasons. To deny this is to deny the need to close one's door at night and to not have a safety belt or to not wear a helmet and drive.
The only crime in which the victim is accused of the responsibility of the crime is sexual harassment or rape. The victim is told that it happened because she wore tight jeans and top or revealing clothes or she was tempting others to be sexually assaulted or raped!! If all the women start wearing burkha, Patriarchy will still continue its practice of raping women and then the excuse suggested may be that it happens because of the anatomy of women.
The basic problem is, as the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, who wrote the epoch-making play A Doll's House, which came as a thunderbolt to the male-centric social and moral ethos of Europe, says: A woman cannot be herself in the society of present day, which is an exclusively masculine society, with laws framed by men and with a judicial system that judges feminine conduct from a masculine point of view.” It should be remembered that Ibsen wrote the above quoted sentence in the notes he made for the play in 1878. How contemporaneous the sentence seems in the present day Indian socio-cultural background!
In our country, girls and women fear to travel by bus or by train, they are afraid to be in public places. The prejudice (and attack) against women starts from the womb itself. The foetus is killed, if it is female. Without shattering the typical patriarchal mindset of perceiving woman as a sexual object created for man, we can't create a social milieu which is completely free of sexual violence. Woman should be projected as an individual just like man is.