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How Not To Pass Judgement On The Dignity Of A Woman: A Very Short Guide

Posted: March 8, 2017

The dignity of a woman is not a function of her relationships, virginity, or ‘lack of morals’! After all, do we consider these things for men?

My diverse interests in art, culture, and social cause lead me to meet many interesting people from different walks of life. Authors, performers, artists, filmmakers, musicians, singers, reformists, activists. The list is endless. But considering that there is still a probable gender imbalance or the fact that I have more male friends than females, I end up interacting relatively more with males.

I hold healthy discussions about interests and initiatives with my talking circle and most often, these progress into shared endeavours. In one such case, I was asked by an upcoming but promising filmmaker to help him in the research of his short film about prostitutes. I was ebullient and narrated the event to a close male friend, when he cautioned me.

Beware of these people, most of them are sexual predators or hawks. They look for physical pleasure in the guile of help, and the discussion is just a pretext of fulfilling their wicked needs.

Recounting another incident – I was accompanying a friend to a female therapist who was devastated at the breakup of her live-in relationship. The therapist told her, the boy was bound to dump you. After all, he got what was supposed to be given after marriage.

A third one, where an ex-faculty confessed of having extra marital affairs to gratify his physical needs as he is constantly travelling and cannot be with his wife.

These are not one-off cases, but something I grew up listening to and advised against to. That women must protect their bodies from being touched by ‘evil’ men. As a child and young girl I believed this. As a grown up woman, I find this amusing.

Except rape, which is a crime, any consensual relationship doesn’t mean that barricades to a woman’s dignity are broken. A woman is as dignified and self-loved before any relationship (emotional or physical) as in the aftermath of it.

The practice of gaining access to her body and then abandoning her after getting its fulfilment is equivalent to burglary or larceny. But, there is a difference out there. Unlike burglary, where a thing or an item is forcefully possessed and can be owned and destroyed, a woman’s body is not an object or material, external to her, which can be owned, and possessed. At best, there can be shared moments, where both partners come together for their common needs, love, and/ or desires. A sexual relationship is an event and not a barometer to determine if the woman has lost her sheen and no longer remains a mystery.

This realization is all the more important, considering the fact that we have made significant progress over last two decades with more and more women getting educated and stepping out of their households to earn and work. This one thing has remained unchanged.

  • The practice of viewing a woman’s body or virginity as an external object to her being, which must be protected from being scavenged and pounced upon.
  • The practice of measuring her self-respect, dignity, and pride by the no. of relationships she had.

Surprisingly, the same standards are unheard of men. The word Izzat is most commonly used and denoted in the female context. Why should it be so? God created us alike. Should any consensual relationship happen and fail, the burden (or not) of promiscuity and guilt belongs to both genders unlike one.

The case of some men feeding their sexual hunger and then abandoning the women, to me is at best a sign of lunacy and neurotic disorder, rather than being fundamentally immoral or evil. A woman is as desirable, self-loved, and alluring as before a relationship than after it.

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Published here earlier.

Image source: pixabay

Pallavi Barnwal is a proud single mother and a product of a small town upbringing

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1 Comment

  1. Loved your article Pallavi! I was researching for some work and found your work to be close to what I was looking for. I am also guilty of thinking that way as an initial thought, but quickly denounce it as a product of the collectively wrong mentality of the society I live in. Hopefully more people like you equals a better future for women. Thank you 🙂

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