Thursday, November 10, 2011

Keenan&Reuben&Manu&Babla &, &, ?

In Howrah, Manu Ram and Babla Bera were stabbed for trying to protect a 14-year-old schoolgirl. To borrow the words from an oddly-named NGO website, ‘eve teasing is an inseparable part of every girl’s life causing much avoidable mental agony to her. This in turn adversely affects her family and her friends’ (sic).

It not only affects family and friends, it also leads to tragicomic situations where people assume that any girl who is approached by any boy needs to be rescued! Last month, an unfortunately headlined item — ‘Eve-tease dilemma for cops’ — informed us that, in Patna, some people beat up young men. “The girls were celebrating a friend’s birthday when some boys approached them with birthday greetings. It was quite obvious that the boys and the girls knew each other. Some residents saw them talking and thought it to be an incident of eve-teasing and attacked the boys.”

Justice for Keenan and Reuben is necessary, but the outrage seems deflected so that, as usual, we blame institutions and not ourselves. The police have already arrested at least four people. Assuming the murderers are convicted, will we be satisfied? Will there be no more Keenans and Reubens?

As far as I’m concerned, the question to ask is not how such molestation-related murders could have happened in Mumbai, but why this happens so routinely in India.

It happens because millions of men do not respect women’s bodies. It happens because parents don’t teach their sons that there are proper ways of approaching the object of their (sexual) desires. It happens because boys are not taught to take ‘no’ for an answer. It happens because we have fostered a demonic culture where women have no control over their sexuality: they must either be given away to men in a pre-approved, community-sanctioned fashion, or they might be attacked. In such a culture, a woman is seen as fair game unless her protector-men — husband, boyfriend, brother, father — can physically beat off all assailants.

The full piece is up here


Anonymous said...

"It happens because parents don’t teach their sons that there are proper ways of approaching the object of their (sexual) desires."

Would you expect a mother to teach her son how to sexually approach a woman? Would you do it to your son?

Besides, isn't it condescending to refer to women as "object of their (sexual) desires"?

Annie Zaidi said...

Yes, that I would expect. And if I had a son, I would.
and no, it isn't condescending. It is an idiomatic expression. Object also does not have only one meaning. There's object as in thing, object as in subject-object, and object as in 'I object, milord!' I'd refer to a man as the object of my desire too, if he was one.

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