ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday March 23, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 43

Where have all the women gone?

By Plato's girl

A few random incidents over the past few weeks, concerning my fellow kind, has made me wonder (and not for the first time) what future awaits us women. I ain't a feminist, nor do I hold any sort of grudge against men, for I believe they are just as important as women and a whole lot of them treat us well, but these are some points worth mentioning.

Firstly, International Women's Day came and went, not unknown to us for it was widely publicized with even the President making a special statement to mark the day, with events been held far and wide. And while the distinguished ladies spoke of independence and empowerment, the less fortunate reminded us of the fact that independence is but a far cry.

On attending one such event at the BMICH (as part of my work) I was rather alarmed to find myself the only female journalist among a throng of men from various other media organisations (a point the men were only too quick to realize). Where have all the women gone? True, the hall was packed with thousands of women of different fields and class, so I settled down to believe here are the women that mattered, hoping the handful of men present understood the bigger picture.

Then, there was this other incident which caused some panic in our street. It was nothing new really. A man, (a drug-addict as it was later discovered) had snatched a gold chain off a young girl in broad daylight. Thanks to some vigilant passer-bys, the man was hunted down and is now locked away in some cell.

Yet what amazed me were the responses to the incident. The older (and wiser) generation branded it as a consequence of walking on the streets with such expensive jewellery, while some others took pity on the girl and bashed the uncouth man.
Yet I wondered, did the woman who dressed in a manner pleasing to her, lure the man into committing such an unruly act, which could have very well been turned into something more horrendous?

So, how exactly should a woman be dressed when she walks on the road? Obviously in a manner, decent enough to escape the whistles and sssss' of a group of rude and vulgar men who have nothing better to do than simply stare and pass remarks at young women. (Please note: this applies to a specific group of men only. Not all men). Jeans and t-shirts are fine (at least for me), but are we free? And finally, there's the case that caused somewhat of a 'stir' among certain Sri Lankans – a beautiful Lankan girl appearing in Playboy, a leading US magazine for men.

As several people pointed out to me, there is nothing wrong with it, because it's her life and if she sees nothing wrong posing for the pleasure of certain men, why should we bother. While I do not disagree with this view, it makes me think - what has become of the woman? Who is she, who dresses thus with dazzling jewellery and perfectly made up face? A free being, an illusion or a mere object, exploited even unknown to her?

So where do we stand? Some are trapped in a world of lust and glamour, while others, driven by poverty and tradition have little choice in this world. But, as always, the lucky few enjoy a certain degree of freedom and to them I say, let's march forth, spreading the word.

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