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30th August 1998

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SumithNineteen year old Sumith Perera appears on our Mirror Cover this week. Standing 6 4, Sumith a past pupil of the British School in Colombo is a keen basketball player, enjoying many other sports as well
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Kenny's WorldDo you PC?

Every man ... no, can't say that - too patriarchal. Every woman ... no, shouldn't say that - too patronising. Every person ... no, too impersonal. Every individual ... no, sounds too much like a grand statement of some sort not the look I'm going for. I must admit that even though I'm very proud of being more PC (Politically Correct) than most people, there are those times when I wish things like starting a column with the words Every man... wouldn't have me going on a guilt trip.

Actually the first signs that I was maybe taking being PC a bit far, came during a conversation I had with Sushi. Are you saying that there's nothing wrong with there being gender roles in society? How can you say that? I was outraged. Are you saying that women shouldn't be given the opportunity to decide what they want to do with their lives, and that they should let society tell them what they can or cannot do just because they're women? The irony of what I was saying to her didn't strike me at the time. But there I was trying to convince a woman that she should be a feminist.

I've always had a problem balancing what I knew to be morally right with what was practical. But being sort of a dreamer, I guess I let the immorally right thing win most of the time. As a result, I'd do things that other people thought were rather strange things in order to be, open minded or politically correct. Although most people accept open-mindedness in theory, they've found that it doesn't always work for them in practice. I've spent a lot of time debating whether being PC is workable in real life, and I've decided that it is. I am now more determined than ever to be politically correct. As my first step, I've decided to actively support feminism. I've even drawn up a list of resolutions that should help me to show solidarity with my sistas.

# I will never open doors for girls anymore.

Opening a door for a girl is a way of saying that I do not feel that she is capable of performing this simple action without my help. So I am never going to open doors for girls again. Of course, I could be subtle about it and just let her get to the door first. But I've been a chauvinist in the past and have been opening doors for women on a regular basis. So I think that it might be better for me to make an issue of it so that they can see how much I've changed.

As usual I will get to the door first and wait until she walks up to the door. Now she will as customary, probably stop and wait for me to open the door for her. But I won't. We will probably just stand there and stare at each other. There might be an awkward silence but I won't chicken out. Sooner or later she'll get tired of waiting and open the door herself. This way she'll definitely get the message that I'm a sensitive and open-minded guy who respects her.

# I will never call a woman a girl

The word girl suggests immaturity, someone who needs to be guided and protected. I feel that it is an insult to call a grown woman a girl.

# I will never offer to pay the bill.

The next time I go out anywhere with a woman, I won't offer to pay the bill. I will never insult a woman like that ever again. I now realise that offering to pay for her is a way of saying that I feel that she needs to save her money for the future as she lacks the ability and skill to make any of her own.

Society has embedded gender roles so strongly in our minds that, if I give her a choice she would feel compelled to let me pay. So I've decided that it would be in her best interest if I gave her no choice. So when the time to pay the bill comes along, I will have to come up with some sort of a plan to make sure that I don't embarrass her. Right now my plan is rather hazy, but I think it should include a sudden telephone call to a Cell-phone (which I will need to borrow) calling me away in a hurry.

# I will not bathe any more.

Bathing and other forms of personal hygiene I practise are primarily in order not to appear repulsive to females. I now realise that this is a shameless and underhand practice. It is an insult to women to even think that they make decisions based on something as superficial as personal appearances. So in the future I will not bathe, brush my teeth, cut my hair or shave. I am confident that at least my female friends will see through it all and find the real me.


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