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Women who travel alone have to constantly battle questions and issues regarding their safety.
A woman is by no doubt one of the most beautiful and attractive creations of nature. It is a part of natural phenomenon to look at anything that appears pleasant to the eyes, but this is just an occurrence at a physical level. Living beings are gifted with senses, including us humans, who are at a special privilege to have been provided with the power of mind as well. Sensory pleasure or perception is a very primitive activity and it is by no means wrong.
But the question which arises is this: what makes us any different from the non-humans/animals? The power to think, to go beyond the physical existence, to realise that every person is different with varied strengths and weaknesses. Science broadly categorizes humans into two genders primarily on the basis of biology. According to me too, the difference lies in biology, which in turn leads to variation in emotional levels as well. In the most primitive sense, the female is considered to be the weaker and when we are mentioning weaker, it is a direct reference to the physical strength. Even in the jungle, the lion is the head of the jungle not the lioness who’s got the freedom to choose whom to mate with. I hope my references are not evading the point but only pointing to the irony, that we, despite being humans, have not been able to draw the line between us and the animals.
The question may arise as to why am I writing all this in the article when the title reads something else? I believe that in answering some questions one must first have a basic understanding of the gender, the differences and what prompted the author to write the article in the first place. So, why are women so afraid to travel alone? I think this question is not just something that a grown woman but also a 10 yr-old could answer. It has one and only answer to it, which is ‘safety.’
The question should instead be, “are women really safe to travel alone?” For a woman travelling solo, it is not just a travel event but an expression of regaining the freedom that has been held by social structures and stereotypes of the society. A solo woman traveler always needs to keep in mind several things including the attire, in exchange of greater safety while travel. She has to keep in mind whom to approach, whom to talk to, where to travel and what time to travel and what are the huge impediments in her path to freedom. Now, how many of us would really dare to venture out alone despite the oppositions from those who care enough to not mind voicing all sorts of uncomfortable questions? Not to forget the oppositions from those who would look down upon us as rebels. One is a social taboo which exists, not in all places or cultures, the other part is safety, which also varies demographically but not as much as the former one. A solo traveler has to think twice before starting off any sort of communication in an estranged environment.
Often I have read women travelers complaining about how their simple conversations misunderstood and taken as uncalled-for sexual advancements.
Often I have read women travelers complaining about how their simple conversations misunderstood and taken as uncalled-for sexual advancements. How many times have I not read, seen or experienced men trying to grope women in crowded public transport systems? I personally would find it convenient not to put myself in such a scenario if given a choice. It is not so convenient as it is a constant conflict in making choices between really trading your freedom for safety and living up to being ‘respectful’ (the very definition of which is imposed by the society on us). A brave woman is conscious of the power she has been provided by nature to do achieve possibly anything but has to fight on very primitive issues such as freedom. Those who have adjusted to the limited definition of freedom (which today is very gender specific in practice) don’t seem to experience the inner conflict.
I believe the conflict must be engraved in every woman to bring about a revolution in the society. I am glad to watch how the scenario has changed over the past few years, as women have really come up to fight against the conservative norms and contributed in empowering the “by no means weaker” sex. I hope that someday, we are able to create a world that respects women and accept their attributes as phenomena of nature and not exploit the disparity but appreciate it, so that no author like me, is prompted to write an article on such a topic.
Image via Shutterstock.
Bhavya could be defined as a bold yet shy woman, whom her friends like to call by the nickname "bsqaure". She isn't as immersed in the geeky world as her nickname sounds but is read more...
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Trigger Warning: This deals with various kinds of violence against women including rape, and may be triggering for survivors.
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