India’s Daughter

She was sitting at a bar, squelching her sorrows with a bottle of bourbon. She wore a pretty dress with a plunging neckline, daring guys to approach her. Because if a girl wore something “revealing” it was invitation enough. She had her mascara streaming down her cheeks mingling with her tears. She was hurting but she was beautiful. It had been a rough night and she felt vulnerable, emotionally exposed. She had trusted and failed, again. Her heart was broken, she was nursing raw wounds. She looked up from her therapy and was stunned. Every guy was looking her way, ogling at her. She should’ve been flattered instead, she was nauseated. Clamping a hand to her mouth she fled. She kept running, pushing away drunk hands roaming her body. She ran as if her life depended on it, and it did.

In the clear air of the night, her foggy mind somewhat cleared. She thought of calling it a night and started walking homewards, thinking about right and wrong, occasionally humming a Bon Jovi song. It was like she had been doused in ice water when a man passing by sneered saying what a sexy body she had. She quickened her pace, a knot forming in her stomach. She was scared and just wanted to be home. She thought she was safe when she fled the bar and the hungry eyes of those wasted men; the eyes that were fixed on her cleavage.

Even then nobody noticed her smeared makeup, her tear strained face. Even then all they saw was her plunging neckline. So even when she got home safe she kept wondering was she really safe? Maybe she was, for now but the others? What about them? What about the countless other girls out by themselves in a bar somewhere? They weren’t safe. We aren’t safe. GIRLS aren’t safe.

ARE GIRLS SAFE?

So what should we do? The self proclaimed wise men say do not wear skimpy clothes, do not show skin that doing so we provoke men. They say do not go outside alone or be too friendly with guys that doing so we are giving them the right to molest us. The men in the bar gawked at her, judged her by her clothes, by the lack of company, and by her tenacious fingers on the whiskey bottle.

They assumed she was theirs to do as they pleased. But they failed to see her tears; didn’t think that maybe she just needed company. We never judge when a potbellied, middle-aged man wears clingy shorts while running. We never judge if a guy is sitting alone at a bar having drinks. Why then, do they judge if it’s their female counterparts doing the same stuff? They do not have any right to.

UNDERSTAND NOT OBJECTIFY

We do not dress to provoke. We do not dress to be marked as objects for people to judge. We dress for ourselves. We dress for our own pleasure. But this is something which is completely alien to the massive crowd of disparaging creatures prowling the earth and lurking around dark alleys, waiting for their next prey.

Because the concept of female sexuality and women’s right to do things for their own happiness is still far-fetched for many; because for men, women are still the weaker gender ruled by their domineering equivalent. That we remain vulnerable to them is pragmatic. So this New Year, get a new mentality, a new perspective:

                  Stop judging women by their clothes

            Stop objectifying women for your chauvinism.

                         Stop this gender-terrorism!

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