I read this little post about SlutWalk and how much of an impact it actually has. I guess as the protests gain momentum across the world, there are also women who question its impact and actual meaning.
Coming from a country like India, I really do wonder about how much of an impact it will have here. Mostly, the cynic in me says, people will just enjoy the sight of women in short skirts and going home without really caring that the march was all about fighting such objectification.
The problem is much more complex than just name calling in India. One needs to break the ‘sati savitri’ vs ‘vamp’ mold, where the vamp is the one who wears the short skirt and is always ready to take it off, while the former seems to create a family without ever indulging in the act.
Sex is taboo in India, even talking about it. So there is a desperate curiosity, which sometimes translates to aggression. Is it the male ego or just frustration of many other things not happening?
I do blame the media for the lot of the damage. We portrayed those women in skimpy clothes, made a big fuss every time an actress wears a bikini on screen, despite this happening for more than 3 decades now.
Women are portrayed as sexy but non-sexual creatures. Cat calls come regardless of if you are dressed in a salwar, sari or jeans.
Anyone who says that jeans are sexier than a sari needs to take another look at the woman draped in a sari again. Just because there is 9 yards of cloth does not mean it ceases to be sexy. But we have seen women in saris for centuries but the jeans is something new, hence more tantalizing.
Maybe it started in movies and TV programs… but it was that the new woman, wearing those ‘different’ clothes was bad. She was modern… she had those ‘Western’ ideas and would smoke and drink and who knows what else!
Indians are quite resistance to change or anything that is different… there is that idea that change is bad and we peruse every new thing carefully before grudgingly giving it a trial run. We are suspicious of foreigners, we are suspicious of new things, we are definitely suspicious of anything that is ‘Western’.
I’ll leave to anthropologists and cultural theorists to figure out why this is. But I would want to know this – do those images enforced by the media have such a strong impact or are there other factors?
So there are cops in India too who advise women to dress more conservatively, stay at home after dark, not drink etc because a woman shouldn’t be seen doing any of that. We have auto drivers who leer at women simply because she is out late at night and that means something naughty.
I’d reallllllly like to know what goes in the minds of those men who just stop by your car and say ‘hey sexy baby, what’s up’. I’d really like to know what they are thinking when they follow your car through the traffic. Seriously!
With people like these around, a SlutWalk March doesn’t make much of a difference. The women who use that word… they need something much more of a self-image.
The men who are sensitive enough to not use such a word will already be a part of the march or well, not use such a word. The ones who follow cars like that will not give a shit.