Another interesting article/op-ed on the gender issue in the Guardian:
So angry I could strip!
Its about sexual harassment of women, whistling and lewd behavior/comments at women in the UK and New Zealand etc.
the girlification of women that should have been one of the first obstacles to fall in the battle for emancipation has instead proved one of the most difficult to budge. We may well be proud of our achievements in the workplace and in the political sphere, but at the first mention of our looks or at the slightest suggestion that we're "putting on a bit of weight", all that progress falls by the wayside.
As Mary Wollstonecraft said: "Taught from infancy that beauty is woman's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison."
The article and associated forum bring up a variety of issues and viewpoints related to sexual harassment. For instance,
- How do different men and women think about 'whisting' or 'staring lewdly'? The forum throws up some wildly differently answers among both men and women.
- Are women or men thinking about women more concerned about beauty than intellect? Why is beauty only (or mostly) applied to women?
- Which leads more towards women spending a lot of time and money on cosmetics and other beauty products: expectations from men or peer pressure from other women?
- One traditional (IMO, patriarchal) viewpoint has it that sexual harassment increases with women who are not metaphorically wearing a burqa covering head to toe: like in the words of one commenter in the forum, "If women stroll around half naked then obviously men are gonna have a look." We talked about this briefly and we all agreed that this 'blame the victim' attitude is wrong but I think this merits more discussion: primarily because this view is held by an overwhelming majority of people.
- So is liberation for women at all possible if beauty and looking good is so important among women?
- And the point that the article itself brings about: "what can women do about these (sexual harassment) incidents?" The Israeli tourist in the article stripped naked as an extreme expression of her disgust, but as people who are concerned about the issue, what can and should we do to make the situation better for women who come across our lives or across the world? If walking by a road in India, you see a bunch of inebriated guys "eve-teasing" or even passing lewd comments at a woman, what would you do? This is not an uncommon happening in India, and by the likes of it, in most of the first world also.
Came across this incredible montage of some shocking clips of sexism in CNN, Fox, MSNBC and CNBC during the recent Democratic primaries, and interspersed with some inspiring quotes from past activists:
And an interesting comparison of that video and the Sex and the City movie:
Women in Charge, Women who Charge, by Judith Warner
Vatican announces to excommunicate woman priests: