Do you think men in regressive societies where women are not respected or valued are more prone to ‘losing control’?

This was a comment on Bhagwad’s post, I have heard this before. What do you think?

“The provocative dressing sense and the profession (modelling) of these particular girls are making them as soft targets”

It doesn’t mean it is their fault!!
Yes, a woman has the right to dress however she wants. Obviously. The man’s actions are his fault, alone. Completely true.
So after she’s harassed you say it was his fault; is saying that going to stop that particular man from harassing other women in future?

Is wearing less clothing because you have the right to going to reduce your chances of being harassed by that very wrong and very perverted man? Maybe wearing a loose-fitting punjabi dress, for instance, might reduce the chances!

It’s not the woman’s fault, but she has to bear the consequences every time. Every woman knows that. Is wearing ‘provocative’ clothing just that necessary that you can risk bearing the consequences of a man’s mistakes?! To each his own, man!!

My response:

1. Do you think men in societies where women are not respected or valued are more prone to ‘losing control‘?

2. Making a man responsible for his actions would discourage him and other men from repeating the action in future.

3. Blaming the women has resulted in the society and the culprits taking  sexual crimes lightly.  The offender sees that the only person who is supposed to take any (real) measures to stop the crime is the victim. Her isolation obviously emboldens him, it’s not that he doesn’t realize his actions are wrong, but the society’s reactions assure him that his crime would not be taken seriously. [The rapists often don’t see their actions as crimes, and don’t expect the victims to report them.]

4. Sexual criminals also gain confidence when instead of dealing with them firmly, societies add more controls on women’s lives and activities.[Link] Women are asked to watch how they dress, laugh, walk, move, travel, socialize, work, dream, live, drink, eat, not watch movies, not sit in parks, not sing in public, not fall in love etc to stay safe from sexual crimes.

5. Following all these rules, sometimes having no lives worth living, have not made women safer. Fully covered women of all ages who break no such safety rules still get raped, inside their homes, at their workplaces, in broad daylight.

6. What if a woman likes to travel, earn, ride a motorbike, swim, sing, dance, dress, socialize…?  Fear  and mistaken ideas of honor  (more than safety and trauma) have made harmless activities into social crimes for women.

7. I think, not having a voice makes women more unsafe than going out after dark ‘provocatively dressed’.

And all this begins with women being asked not to dress provocatively.

So what would really help?

1. Women who look like they would not be easy victims are generally safer.

2. Sexual criminals are like all other criminals, generally cowardly bullies, if they fear being blamed, held responsible, convicted and jailed they would behave.

3. Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work! [Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!]

How do you think did blaming the victims of sexual assaults started?

Related Posts:

The rapists often don’t see their actions as crimes, the police said, and don’t expect the victims to report them.

Provocatively Dressed

She does not invite it.

The way a woman dresses…

Said Noodle strap to the Sari

Not just a pair of jeans

So why do we wear clothes again?

No jeans for an Indian Daughter in law.

Can’t end marriage over a sari.

What women ‘choose’ to wear…

What do ‘Modest’ women have that their ‘Immodest’ sisters don’t…

Written in a hurry, please excuse any typos! Will correct once I am back.

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74 thoughts on “Do you think men in regressive societies where women are not respected or valued are more prone to ‘losing control’?

  1. It is obviously stupid of the commenter. People get raped in Saudi, where women can’t venture out without a Burqa. So it is pretty much clear that rapes have nothing whatsoever to do with clothes. Of course, it is a very easy thing to blame the women than go after a rapist.

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      • Lol 🙂 but you know what seems stupid, so obviously stupid to some, is seen as absolutely logical by millions of people. How do you react to the logic of why should women not protect themselves by staying at home…how do you think this victim blaming started? Maybe from the time it became difficult for a woman to find a husband unless she was sure to follow the social rules… Patriarchal rules. One way to ensure sexual fidelity was to make her responsible no matter what…

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      • If you are asking what *I* would do, then I would tell them to go stuff their heads. I have been against marriage when I was younger solely because of the kind of things I would hear about and how difficult it would be to net a husband if I did not confirm. Funnily enough, it was not my parents who ever said that. With raging hormones in those days, it was a mini tragedy to think of not ever having a guy but with time one gets their priorities clear. Self-respect first, the rest later.

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  2. Well, conveniently the victim is blamed for the rapist’s or the molester’s crime. Society has been trying to control and suppress women because they want to go scotfree and justify criminal behavior. Going back to your original question — don’t really know if that is true, but they are definitely less likely to be punished.

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  3. Punishment will make perpetrators not commit the crime, and stopping victim blaming will make more perpetrators get punished because women will report.
    These are all such brilliant questions you have raised.

    You just have to read this article and the comments to see how many people think similarly.
    Beware, it is quite depressing! It ruined my spirit yesterday!
    I really wanted to put up some of the comments on this article below and write a post.. I’ll do that once I am no longer seeing blood.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Radio-cabbie-rapes-bartender-arrested/articleshow/11099863.cms

    I wonder if this is what we are up against what is it going to take for these ideas to evolve and how long? Do you ever get cynical?

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    • True Sraboney, if it was about sex then how come women are safe in Gujarat and unsafe in Delhi?
      I think having no fear of punishment and knowing that the victim would not be able to report, because she would be blamed, encourages such crimes.

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  4. Ha I have to laugh.. what more can i do ..

    1. I agree with that .. society needs to Grow up.. thats all i will say..

    2. making a man responsible .. Well I doubt if that will help although it is a MUST .. proper punishements give.. But that wont change the Mentality .. for that a lot needs doing ..

    Although I think end of the day if we think we are animals, and male speciaes in all animals have this thing in them ..

    That the reason why i think mentality needs to be changed and society tooo .. Each human being needs to be respected irrespective of SEX.. there shud be no reason why a man shud look ata womena and think of molesting her..

    I can understand that comment that has been picked up too, that is also a harsh truth. It is not a thing about women being blamed , I would say the same thing.. A lady santily clad is more to become a victim then one fully clothed.. Its all this media and everything, if you look SEX sells , we have so many half naked women and MEN in Adverts, movies doing sleazy numbers etc etc .. So its that mentality that comes or takes over.. You see and THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE Too..

    its not jsut question of what a man does or woman does its on a whole TOGETHER as a society everything is interconnected..

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  5. Why don’t we start dealing with it by punishing the perpetrators, for starters. And I don’t mean a measly fine of 1000 rupees. Maybe for every rape, like castration of the rapist. THEN we will have more men fearing the punishment and not “losing control” of their senses. It will be interesting to note how quickly they will sober up, once fear of the consequences set in….

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  6. In the context of a family not allowing their female members to go out alone after certain hours or dressed in a certain way…. I want to ask this question

    What is the line between “control” and “concern for safety”?

    We live in a non ideal world , and as much as I like my dainty clothes and not depending on friends for going somewhere late at night, I would not want to risk physical and emotional trauma for it.
    It’s not my fault but I will surely be the one suffering.
    Change is coming, and I am all for doing everything to get it here sooner, but until it is here, is it not my responsibility to “stay safe”, despite the twisted logic?

    As long as these are my choices it is fine. But ,by extension,when I have a daughter , I am sure I would surely discourage her from going out alone late at night. And I may be more lax with a son….

    Is this then “control”?

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    • Tania, I think it becomes wrong when we blame the victim or force an adult to change her lifestyle against her wishes. It’s also very wrong when lawmakers use women’s life style, career choices, social life and clothing as an excuse to excuse a molester or a rapist, or shirk their own responsibility.

      I feel, if one has to, then saying, ‘the crime rate is high’ is better than saying, ‘you can’t because you are a woman’. It should not be taken for granted or accepted as ‘normal’ because it is not ‘normal’ for half the population to be kind of locked up indoors are dark.
      Not to forget men get killed/hurt in crimes too, in fact more men than women are involved in violent crimes.
      What if a young woman has to go out for either earning her living, or for some emergency? Isn’t it better to be able to take care of oneself, than to avoid going out altogether?

      Often parents use their own fears (or concern) to control their daughters (sometimes sons too) lives, the same parents who won’t let a daughter go out after dark, often force her to stay in violent marriage or with her in laws, even when she says she fears for her life or even if there is marital rape, risk of her taking her own life.
      I am thinking aloud, let me respond to this in a post.

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      • Hi IHM,

        This is a debate I have forever had with my own family, friends (men and women).

        Of course , I agree , that it should not be treated as “normal” for women to stay indoors after its dark etc.
        But that doesn’t change the fact that, as it is today, there are a lot of people who would like to take advantage of their physical power over a woman, take advantage of the fact that there are fewer people on the streets at night, to jump at any opportunity when they see a girl on her own.
        Rape, is severe trauma, and it’s only natural that I would NOT want my daughter to ever experience it. Isn’t it?

        If she is an adult and she chooses to take the risk anyway, I cant do much about it. But if something untoward does happen, it would break my heart to watch her , wouldn’t it?

        Also, all the risks a son would run i.e. accidents , fights and also at any time of the day or night , are all risks for a daughter too. Rape is an additional risk she runs.

        P.S. : I don’t have any sons or daughters yet… 🙂

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    • Warning someone to be careful, and ordering them to confirm to your worries are two different things. The fact is a son is as likely to DIE in a drunken brawl or be hit by a speeding car by a drunk if allowed out at night, than a daughter is likely to get raped. The likelihood of either happening is actually infinitesimal. So why would you be lax about a son and strict with a daughter? Surely, it does not imply lack of care towards son. Then perhaps, it’s got something to do with the “izzat jaan se pyaari” attitude that people simply are unable to let go of even if they are aware of the consequences. A rape apparently is tougher to deal with than murder or mayhem for the family members.

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    • And yes, it is control because your worries are clearly misplaced.

      Also, let me point out that it has made absolutely no impact on would-be harassers on what I have been wearing for them to cross me. I am not just saying it, it actually is the truth. At one point of time, I was most puzzled cos some chap was staring at me like I was going naked, and I actually thought I may have forgotten some item of clothing. And I was dressed in a full sleeved loose flowing salwar to beat the heat. Don’t tell me it was the bright green colour of my dress that turned him on, and ask me to wear a black burqa (for my own safety).

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      • Hi Fem,

        Like I say in my reply to IHM, isn’t my daughter running ALL the risks that my son is fights, accidents et al, PLUS the rape risk?

        And just the way, I would try and minimize the risk of them getting hurt in an accident by asking them to take precautions (i.e. by not driving drunk, or seatbelts or so) , I would try and minimize the risk of my daughter getting raped by asking her to take precautions.

        Of course , once she’s an adult she may or may not choose to do as I do….

        I am sure why you say my worries are clearly misplaced. Could you elaborate?

        I agree, pinching and prodding hands don’t care about what you are wearing… but maybe leering eyes do? Just my experience , maybe … ?

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      • Because, as traumatic as rape is, it is something akin to being robbed or assaulted. Just because you think that your son is not likely to get raped is no reason to give him more freedom than your daughter. Also, as I said earlier, there really is no way to protect yourself against rape, unless the society is made safer by changing perceptions. There simply isn’t. Clothes simply do not make a difference, and pinching and prodding hands are simply the first symptoms of what might ultimately lead to rape. The only thing is opportunity. You might do better to teach your daughter to hit back than lock her up. THAT is the only thing that would actually protect her. Rapists tend to keep away from aggressive women, as they are generally cowards.

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    • Quite apart from being opposed to your viewpoint on principle, let me ask you this.

      How many Indian women DO go out late at night unless they have a good reason to?

      India’s rape statistics are horrible DESPITE massive under-reporting.

      Are you implying that this is purely because Indian women are more brazen than their counterparts in other countries, relative to the respective cultural norms? Will conforming to conventionally “safe” situations really make you any safer?

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      • Hi cycnicallyengineered,

        I do agree with what you say! But I think if a LOT of Indian women start going out at night , the statistics may improve?

        But since they don’t , doesn’t it make the few women who DO a little more of a target?

        Yes, I agree one can get raped anywhere, and it happens a lot, but I would still NOT want my daughter to undergo it..

        Do you think my worry is unfounded?

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      • So, maybe a lot of women should start going out and wearing skimpy clothes, and their mothers encouraging them to do so, as a service to womankind. Maybe we are taking the cowardly route by conforming to the status quo.

        And I also think that we do exaggerate the risk or rape and make it out to be the most horrible thing that could happen to anyone. Is it, for example, worse than losing a limb?

        Also, are the rape statistics worse than accident or violent brawl statistics? I have a feeling not.

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  7. Your response is perfect IHM. I would go one step further and say that ‘modest dressing’ actually exacerbates the problem. The more people are used to seeing skin, the lesser the chances of debates on how much to cover etc., it is just taken as ‘natural’. I think you have covered these points in your posts before. Danish families go sun bathing topless in public parks, no one bothers a second look… In India too, men often go topless in summer without anyone raising an eyebrow.
    As you noted, the best deterrent for rape is social censure of the perpetrator to the same degree as the victims are made to face.

    This is the main reason why rapists think they will get away, this is why they make mms of their own crime because they are cashing in on the ‘shame and social stigma’ the society will subject the victim to and not them.

    Second is , quick and harsh sentence to the rapists is the strongest message you can send out to other potential rapists. Delhi is dubbed as a rape capital, but within Delhi just look at JNU where women can freely move till wee hours of the morning, in just whatever dress they like on a campus that has large isolated roads and is heavily forested. How do they manage this? Their history of strictest action on complaints of even ‘minor'(passing comments, winking) sexual harassment , the men know better than to mess up their own future.

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  8. It is all about control. It has nothing to do with culture, tradition or religion. Often it is about clear cut control over finances, parents like to treat their children as their property or as an investment.

    I have seen often that parents cannot accept their daughters marrying outside their castes or religion or community. But if she is financially doing well (especially if the man she married is earning a lot of money) then parents tend to soften their opposition and sometimes even become “enlightened”.

    Also compared to other cultures (the west 😛 ), Indian kids have it easy as far as education is concerned as most parents bankroll their education and their lifestyle well into their mid 20s. So it is no surprise they tend to also conform.

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    • Just a point of reference here. For “kids” in the West, parents DO finance their education in case of professional studies where fees are extravagant. Student loans are easy to get abroad, and the student pays it back. The only difference is that the students themselves work for their day to day expenses and the parents chip in when you run out. The same system of education loans exist in India, so there really is no need for the parents to bankroll education for kids. Yet, they insist on doing so for whatever reason. Let’s just face it, it’s an unnecessary gesture on the part of parents, when they could simply guarantee a bank loan and help their child stand on their feet.

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      • It is a necessary gesture for the parent. A majority of them grew up in say the 70s , felt it was wrong to be independent of their parents. It was also financially impossible back then, (as in India education loans situation has improved only in the last 10-15 years and that too only for the middle-class)

        That gesture ensures children are tied to their parents and their parent’s approval. It also increases the chances of parents ending up living with their kids in their old age.

        Children also take full advantage of this situation (I know people who have kids of their own) throwing tantrums to their own parents for getting something.

        I do not see this changing atleast in the next 5-10 years, but maybe parents who are 30 year olds now might deal with their kids a little differently.

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      • Loans under 4 lakhs does not need a collateral security. Banks like SBI are actually not so set on all kinds of documentation, if the marks are good. I am making the point here that there is no need for children to fall backwards to obey their parents for simply having paid for their education. It is immaterial what people actually do, and make excuses for doing so. The fact remains is that we could follow the same system as the West, so it’s not like you have no choice. But then, we would not be family oriented anymore. What? Kids taking a loan for themselves and not impoverishing us? Not Indian! Tch, tch!

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      • “Loans under 4 lakhs does not need a collateral security.”
        A small point which may not be germane ot the issue. The above fact is justr on paper. I am saying this as a parent who went from bank to bank for a study loan for my child. His marks were good. His father was at the time still in the army. STILL the banks refused to give loan without collateral security. Our own banks where we had account refused to give loan without security of land/house in our names. At the time we did not have any. At the same time, people who had “friends” in banks got their loans quite easily without security.
        Having said that, we finally got the loan because a cousin’s neighbor was Manager in a bank and agreed to do the needful without any collateral security.

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      • Shail,

        I got two loans, one with equal amount of collateral and the other (which was under 4 lakhs) free on a mere guarantee. My marks were very good, and I was called for an interview by the manager to ascertain that I was worth giving the loan to. Perhaps it helped that I had also got a part scholarship? I was only talking from experience there. And ultimately, it depends on the bank manager who has the right to make the ultimate decision.

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  9. When society says that certain women are dressing provocatively, what they really mean is that those women dress “relatively” more revealingly than the average woman in that part or region. A young woman in shorts would attract attention in almost any part of India, but for a similar public effect in the US, she’d have to be topless or wearing a see through top at minimum. Move to liberal cities in Europe and even topless women can’t claim to stand out all that much, specially in places like spas and beaches.

    Imagine a hypothetical Indian town where 90% of women wear short skirts and sleeveless tops. Now a woman in a sari or a salwar kameez may actually attract more attention and can technically be said to be dressing “provocatively”. BTW I am not talking about rape which has its root emotions in establishing power, I am just talking about societal responses to how a woman (or man) dresses in public.

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    • If all the women are wearing salwar-kameez and one woman wore a sari – do you think she might be seen as provocatively dressed? Or if all are wearing jeans and sweat shirts and one wears a fitted and ‘revealing’ Punjabi suit, would she be seen as provocatively dressed? Why not?
      I think some of these attitudes also reveal how the society expects women to dress, live, love, walk, work, marry etc in the way it dictates through norms, customs, culture, religion, tradition, community’s approval etc.
      Any change is seen as a rebellion.
      So smoking bidi is not frowned upon, but smoking a cigarette is, although bidi is far more harmful to health. Wearing a sari might reveal more than a salwar kurta or jeans, but is seen as toeing the line, so no problem.
      In such cases, Street Sexual Harassment is a way of telling a woman to ‘follow the rules or face the consequences’. So it is about hurt egos and a feeling of inferiority (If the woman would not notice the ‘eve teaser’ or atleast not as an equal or superior, this can be tough for a man if he has seen his mother fear his father, or if he is given better portions than his sister.) So how does he show her her place (somewhere around her husband’s feet ,or in her kitchen, inside the four walls of her house)? Society has empowered him to do that by committing a crime that he would never seriously be blamed for.

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      • Yeah, and what’s sad is that society includes women. When women themselves pass judgement on other women who dare to break the norms, it’s a rather ugly state of affairs.

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    • right, in Aligarh Muslim University it was(and very well might be now too ) very common for boys to check girls regarding the placing of their dupatta!!! And girls unknown to them, mind you. Why can’t they check their eyes and sick mind instead?

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  10. Frankly, this whole “provocative dressing” thing is a moot point in India.

    1. If there exist Indian women who dress in a blatantly provocative manner, I’m yet to see them. In fact, I’ve always felt that Indian women tend to be EXTREMELY conscious of what they are wearing, to the point of thinking about it constantly when out in public. Advice about “modest dressing” is completely unnecessary in the context of this country, because the vast majority of women here already know exactly how modestly they should dress. It is ingrained into them from birth. And it is members of this vast majority that form the vast majority of rape victims as well.

    This commentator is either out of touch with reality or is being intellectually dishonest.

    2.If you are desperate enough, EVERYTHING will seem provocative. If you’ve been sexually repressed for twenty odd years, the mere idea of a woman would probably be provocative.

    I realize that provocative is a relative term, but it is only in India that I’ve ever heard scruffy slogan T-shirts being described that way.

    The more repressed you are, the looser would be your definition of “provocative”. There are many, many Indian men who would consider a “loose Punjabi dress” provocative enough to “lose control”. A couple of these men are my classmates, who were found guilty of harassing a female student who was dressed in precisely that article of clothing and eventually terminated. Obviously, they had a pretty warped understanding of what was provocative.

    3. Study after study shows that a large majority of rapists already KNOW their victims. Such rapist would hardly care too much about what their victims happen to be wearing at that point of time. The image of a man cornering a defenseless woman in a dark alleyway is far more common in movies than in reality, and a lot of people (like the gentleman who wrote the comment) are unaware of this fact.

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    • Also, check out this link.

      Myth: Rape is an impulsive, uncontrollable act of sexual gratification. Most rape are spontaneous acts of passion where the assailant cannot control him/herself.

      FACT Rape is a premeditated act of violence, not a spontaneous act of passion. 71% of rapes are planned in advance. 60% of convicted rapists were married or had regular sexual partners at the time of the assault. Men can control their sexual impulses. The vast majority of rapists are motivated by power, anger, and control, not sexual gratification.

      ‘Nuff Said.

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  11. You know im covered frm head to toe but am not immune to songs been sung at…aa ja rey oh mere dilbar aaja…just yday. Now it maybe funny at my age but makes me think,more than women it id in the hands and heads of men tht a control must be levered!

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  12. First of all, whether a rapist is titillated enough by a scantily clad woman to make a move is neither here nor there. Even if wearing provocative clothes makes a woman more vulnerable to sexual assault, we MUST fight for her right to wear those clothes and walk unmolested. The same goes for women who appear vulnerable. Sexual assault IS violence, and we must not tolerate it. And telling women how to dress or how to behave in public is a way of condoning sexual violence and shackling women.

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  13. It’s just a convenient excuse to say that a man “loses control”. When was the last time that a man “lost control” when the woman was well protected and had people around to defend her? Answer: never.

    If it’s merely so cut and dried as an instinctual response, a man should lose control under ALL circumstances and not just those where the woman in question is vulnerable.

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  14. @Tania Mirza

    I wouldn’t say your fears are unfounded.

    I think your RESPONSE (curtailing your daughter’s movements) would be unjustified.

    It is a fact that sexual assault is quite common. Something like one in eight women worldwide say that they have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives.

    BUT, the kind of assault we’re talking about here, IS pretty damn rare.
    Things don’t work like that in real life (take a peek at the link I posted in my comment above for the statistics). A teenaged girl would be far more likely to be raped by, say, a boyfriend than by some random stranger on the street. Most sexual assaults are well-planned, pre-meditated acts of violence carried out by people known to the victim. “On the spot” sexual assault is a nightmarish scenario but it is also uncommon and is certainly not something you should be worrying about all the time. The precautions here would be similar to the ones you’d take to avoid getting mugged and/or murdered late at night.

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  15. how did blaming the victim for sexual assaults start – it started with the patriarchal family structure, seriously! I don’t know if it’s just bitterness but this whole thing of blaming the “girl” is so integrated with our social fiber that I really dont know where a start should be made. Educate the men first, and then the women.
    Btw, women do not become soft targets for what they wear but for their vulnerability. If a woman dressed in a salwar kameez, covered head to toe is standing at a bus stop (alone or not :() she will be harassed! I strongly believe men with deep rooted insecurities, inferiority complex and psychological sickness attempt sexual assaults – it has nothing to do with “attraction”.

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  16. Was nodding my head at some of the comments above. Like Sraboney said rape is more abut power than sex.A married man may rape his wife to ‘put her in her place’. A boyfriend may rape his girlfriend to give it back to her ‘for being a tease’. An employer rapes his maid because he’s got economic power over her.

    Here’s a totally unscientific observation – one rarely reads about rapes by people unknown to the victims. Uncles, Cousins, neighbours, servants. The women here were at the mercy of sick perverted beings. A bad wardrobe decision is the least of their worries

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  17. Patriarchy has ruled by terrorising women from the period of earliest human civilizations. Dress codes, where to go, where not to go, when to go, when not to go…..all are regulations used for submission. History has shown us that the oppressors will never give up his power voluntarily. Only a collective effort of the oppressed can make a change.

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  18. Let us for a microsecond actually think that what this commentator told might be true – that there are some men who just cannot control their responses and molest women when they are provocatively dressed. They just can’t help it. Still, it is these men who have an issue with their public behavior and need to be locked up – not the women. Afterall, that is what happens to mentally ill people who cannot be trusted in public, they are institutionalized so that they do not harm themselves or the people around them. No one locks up half the city because there is a madman on loose, it is the madman that is locked up.

    That said, I have visited countries where, in some places, clothing is optional. I live in very close proximity to a city where public nudity is not a crime – people are just requested to use a paper towel when they want to sit in buses, etc. And still I am sure the crime rate against women will be much lower here than in any metropolitan in India. So surely, that should debunk the provocation myth. And then there are ultra conservative countries where a woman cannot even show her ankles and the crime rate against women is sky high.

    No baby is born with a sense of right and wrong. Or with urges it cannot master at some point. It imbibes and learns from the world around it. If I can “control” my carnal urges despite seeing men openly flash their privates on the streets, I am sure men can do so too! I know some really great people who are male and they would take offense to the fact that they are perceived as animals.

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  19. There’s definitely a difference between dressing classy and trashy. But how about defining what’s vulgar. There are colleges in India where jeans are banned for women, because they find it distasteful. Different people have different definition of what’s vulgar. Only at & after a certain point does the idea of what looks vulgar at a certain place in a certain situation, converge for liberals and conservatives.

    Sari is considered one of the traditional attires of India. Now sari is a Midriff-baring outfit and nobody seems to have a problem with the exposure of belly. This same exposure of belly in a jean with a cropped top or a long skirt and a cropped top will probably shock people and anybody who’d be walking around town wearing this attire would be labeled as asking for it. I ask why? Doesn’t the same amount of skin show?

    As a part of my volunteer work with an NGO I have been to places where women wear saris without blouse and petticoat. In fact, I have seen many labourers near construction sites wear their saris that way. At some places women wear a bandeau instead of a blouse. Backless Cholis don’t seem to turn on Gujarati people all the time. Back in 1960’s and 70’s women wore cleavage showing or deep neck kurtas or kameezes along with salwars. My mom have met people who find no problem in women wearing tight fitted salwar kameezes or any traditional attire(that shows their curves) but the moment they see a woman wearing a baggy jeans and a oversized top, they go on how vulgar or provocative that looks.

    For god’s sake I have seen men on road passing lewd comments, (one of them even tried to molest her) at a pregnant woman clad in abaya, hijab and niqab. You could see nothing (you couldn’t even see her figure) but her eyes and what did those rowdy men had to say? They told the police officer, that the woman must be hiding something really beautiful and the thought was a great turn on for them. They said that the woman was a dick teaser. I mean what the heck!

    While walking down to the college with my sister one day, I saw two guys leering at her. Guess what she was wearing? Jeans with a long tunic style sweater along with thigh high boots.

    As cynically engineered above has said…Women in India, in Delhi, even the most fashionable ones wear outfits that are balanced. I have never found a girl in Delhi who looked vulgar in shorts or jumpsuit or an off shoulder top. They are very conscious of what they are wearing, how they are wearing it and whether the dress is appropriate for that setting they‘re going to be in; probably because they live in India, in Delhi-city labelled as the rape capital. Seriously I have yet to come across a lady even in a club setting-who’s wearing hot pants with cropped top! (Something that a lot of people may find offending because they choose to take offense)

    I am a guy, and frankly I find it astonishing how women are constantly judged, berated for what they wear. It just never stops! Rape apologists have gone on to say that even though some women wear conservative or traditional clothing, they bring it upon themselves by acting sexy! I am just disgusted. Nobody talks about me when I wear shorts or when one of my pals wear boxers with vests while jogging or when the guys working in the construction sites go topless or when they take a bath every morning in their under wears. Nobody shames a guy when he flashes his “private part” in public either to sexually harass a woman or to pee on the road.

    As far as I know

    it’s all about getting used to seeing people dress a particular way. The moment the girl isn’t dressed according to someone’s standards of modesty or idea of how she should be dressed, that particular someone will leave no stone unturned to denigrate that girl and harass her, then come up with the excuse that she excited him. More appalling is the fact that most women whether older, of same –age or younger also indulge in victim blaming or disparaging the victim.

    No amount of clothing can shield you women from perverted minds. Even if you wear a burqa, they’ll come up with some other excuse. The only thing that can possibly empower a woman is confidence. Confidence comes from a supportive family and a reliable, trusted bunch of pals. It comes from learning self defence techniques, being armed with necessary weapons like mace and Swiss knife. It comes from knowing that in case, you are assaulted, harassed or raped justice will be served and you’ll be able to live a normal life once again.

    According to me the only reason for the latest rape case in Delhi was probably the girl’s vulnerability, not the time, profession and definitely not her dress.

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  20. Also I find it hard to swallow how many men don’t seem to have problem with them being viewed as monsters-animals who aren’t in control of themselves. For all the reasoning power they claim to have, they forget that raping someone is a decision that a few men make.

    Me – Nikhil this post (now linked) by Bhagwad says exactly that! You should create a facebook group to protest!

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  21. Hey IHM, This is a request. Could you do a post on how media constantly talks about the victim, scrutinizes her life, every detail of her being but utters only a few words about the rapist. I’d say media does a lot of harm, they will go on and on about what was wrong with the victim but not what was wrong with the rapist. They more or less facilitate victim blaming. They defame the victim but never the rapist. I believe this a sad state of affairs and shows how pathetic media ethics is.

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  22. When you can’t keep her down in any other way, hit below the belt. This is plain control driven by a lack of respect for the female person, brain and view point. I fail to see how dressing can do anything but kowtowing to this control factor saying “see, I am following your retro rules, please don’t touch me!”

    That said, I dress in a way that keeps me comfortable, it isn’t my problem if your control gene gets awakened, I am also not trying to be perverse, going off on an extreme to offend any sensibilities for the sake of offending. Just don’t care enough about much else other than my comfort and convenience in dressing myself.

    I am also careful in making sure I have reliable transport at night because crime requires prevention. I can’t be raped because your mindset hasn’t progressed beyond a century way in the past. Prevention shouldn’t be confused with submission.

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  23. IHM in response to your posting heading, men in regressive societies may not be more apt to “lose control”, rather they face less repercussions for bad behavior. And that is what makes the society regressive.

    Think about it, the more “modern” parts of any Indian city are safer for women, and hey have women who dress more “Western” too. It is a simple case of how bad behavior is punished.

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  24. Pingback: When they don’t even understand crime, how are they ever going to begin controlling it? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  25. Pingback: A response to: Why we think women activists should change their attitude of “wear what you like” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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