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Many people believe (mistakenly) that feminists hate men. I am a feminist. I don’t hate men. I feel sorry for them. After all, how awful to have to live with one part of your body doing anything it wants, with no regard for any signals that your brain sends out to it! Poor men! All you want to do is take care of your own business; live and let live, and all that. But, will the women on the street let you do that? No, they must parade around in ‘skimpy attire’, for the express purpose of titillating that unmentionable part of your body – which then reacts entirely by itself.
Can you control it? No, of course not. Didn’t we mention how it does its own thing without any regard for the rest of your good self? You are sorry of course, but natural instincts and all you know. You’re drawn to your prey like any self-respecting man would be at the sight of all that uncovered flesh, and before you know it, you’ve become an ‘eve-teaser’ or worse, a rapist.
You feel terrible, no doubt, but what could you possibly do about it? After all, you don’t control that thing. You’re only a simple man, “provoked” into harassment. Now, if the good ladies only understood this and kept themselves all covered up, none of this would happen, would it?
Never mind that young girls in refugee camps, have been raped as well. Never mind that women in Saudi Arabia that veils its women from head to toe, have been raped as well. Must have been something else they did that drew attention! Perhaps a naked wrist emerged from under the burqa. To expect a man to resist a naked wrist! Good heavens, what next?! Must have been some other cause. Something other than you.
Or something you’d prefer not to think about?
If you are a man or woman who blames other people for the contemptible actions of harassers and rapists, think again. Every time you come up with diktats on what women should and shouldn’t do, like this Naga women’s organisation’s latest dress code for women, you insult men by assuming that all men cannot control their actions. Instead of policing women, teach (or punish) the sub-section of men who harass.
Men can and should take responsibility for their actions, and women can take care of their own clothes, thank you.
Founder, Editor of Women's Web, Aparna believes in the power of ideas and conversations
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