What would RTH do?

That is the question.

If I were in a highschool yearbook, they would vote me most likely to die of a lynch mob. That does not prevent me from opening my mouth and serving a warm hearty cup of STFU to people who deserve it. My dark scathing humor will leave no matter of existence untouched. My innocence will touch your soul.

Welcome to a warped world turned inside out and upside down. All sorts of discretion advised.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Difference

Walking to school could be an embarrassment. There was a college on the way. Roadside Romeo's would sit outside on the walls to harass women. Whether it was walking to school in the mornings or to hockey practice in the evenings, you had to pass by these perverts and endure their lecherous comments. It really didn't matter if you were barely twelve-thirteen. I don't think Pedophilia exists in their dictionaries. None of us kids were even vying for attention. Drab brown school uniforms, clunky backpacks and shy awkward gaits don't really signal 'I'm sexy, look at me'. For some reason it was a fact of life. The collateral damage of being a girl. Boys would look  indiscriminately and the girl just had to endure.

High Schools and Universities in the United States do have their share of cool boy gangs. There are the jocks and studs who think they are better than everyone. They love pickup girls, especially the hot ones like cheerleaders. They like to leave trains of broken hearts. But despite all that women don't have to worry about passing such a group in front of schools and colleges. Most importantly, if you are just a kid of twelve-thirteen you definitely don't have to worry about these lechers. And if by chance one idiot ever crosses a line, your complaints will be taken seriously.

Growing up in India I've been grabbed, groped and stalked. Another fact of life, collateral damage of being a woman. It started when I was barely ten and carried on till I had left the country. You had to be careful not to go out late night. You had to be cautious what streets you walked on. You had to look at all the people around you with a suspicious eye. Even in public places like a bus stop, on a train, at a restaurant you had to be carefully consider where you would sit or stand. Sometimes you had no choice, but to use your backpack of purse as a barrier.

It has been over twelve years since I experienced any of that. Life has been so easy in the states that I forget that there is any difference in being a woman. I don't think twice about staying out late at night - one am, two am, three am, it really doesn't matter. I'm not worried about turning around the wrong corner. The city has its bad spots, but most of it its relatively safe. Even if you wander, the worst is that you might get mugged. I don't choose where to sit and stand in public transit. Now I don't mind being engulfed by the swarm of bodies in transit. I don't need backpacks or purses to act as barriers.

I remember the beaches in Goa. People from all across the world come to enjoy the beauty that is Goa. The sun, the sand, the surf, the shade of the coconut palms it truly is paradise. Western women walk around the beach and the little street shops in their bikinis. They lay on the beach exposing their skin to the sun for a fine tan. I remember all the men gathering and leering lustily at all these women. It was almost as if they had never seen a woman in their life. For some reason an innocent girl sunning herself was a nasty, filthy pornographic show men could salivate over.

The beaches in Brazil are nothing like that. Locals and visitors alike wear skimpy outfits. Showing off your ass and cleavage is like some sort of mandatory custom. But then again, you are on the beach to catch the sun and sand with your body. What is there so special to see. It is just ass and cleavage, nothing new. Men walk the beach nonchalantly. Vendors are more interested in selling their wares for a profit. Errand boys are concerned with delivering the cold beers and umbrellas promptly. The locals are more interested in kicking around a football or a game of beach volleyball.

When my coworker's boy hit that age where he noticed girls and would soon start dating, she had a talk with him. Not just the facts of life, but also to ensure that he knew how to behave and would always remain her good little boy. I don't remember any desi boys being taught by their mommas on how to be gentlemen.

Of course I know the experience of one person is not statistically significant. Many people may call my views biased or one sided. I'm not really an expert either. But I would still like to hazard a guess as to what makes the difference. I honestly don't think that item songs like Munni or Sheila cause sexual harassment. I don't think we should blame media for society's shortcomings. The west has its own modes of objectification like girls gone wild series, gentleman's clubs etc. Like Occam's Razor, I believe the difference is very simple. In most of the world men are raised to "respect women and treat them right" but it is not always the case in India. In most of the world men are taught "consent is important, no means no" but it is not always the case in India. In most of the world it is not the victims fault, but in India her short skirt, her working late, her dating boys are reasons that provoked the man. In most of the world it is unacceptable that women face harassment or be treated differently, but in India harassment is accepted as a part of life and a women has to conform to different rules. Change all the laws you want. Ban all the provocative songs we want. Do what you will. Unless our society changes its archaic attitudes - women in India will continue to suffer.


Anonymous said...

sach a honest post

Anonymous said...

what is violence ,............. is manhandling by lover or husband is come under in violence or what is come under in manhandling , especially in name of passionate love .............pls write about this also

return_to_hades said...

That is a good question. Perhaps someday when I gather my thoughts, I'll write something on the fine lines between rough play and abuse/violence.

Anonymous said...

thanks , i saw something very painful or i would say so disgusting , y there is so doblestandard in our society with not so virgin girls.....................after rape , divorce , fake merrige they treated by men, women like a dirt ...............with full of double standard , people relise them again n again that they r not pure ...........y is purity measures by girls virginity