Respecting Womanhood

While social media is abuzz with rave reviews about the film ‘Pink’, here is a post which startled me. In a very weird sense. While Pink advocates that a woman’s choices are her own and she should not be judged based on them, this post seems to be pointing in the opposite direction.

On the face of it, the post looks correct. No human being is perfect. So is the fairer sex. A woman is also liable to make mistakes. Based on that assumption, this post looks like it makes perfect sense. But does it?
Especially when we are fighting a vigorous battle for ensuring the dignity of women, this seems like a step backwards. I don’t have a problem in saying ‘teach your child’ instead of ‘teach your son’. But the second line kind of put me off.
Stating that you have to respect women doesn’t mean that you have to disrespect men. It just means that you have to give equal respect to women also and not denigrate them based on their gender.

This post makes a statement implying that it is not wrong to disrespect women if their character/behavior is not right. But the question here is –Who and What determines if a woman is respectable or not? 

And what do you mean by not showing respect to the person (in this case a woman) whom you think is not respectable enough. Unless these two questions are answered satisfactorily there is no point in stating that you will not respect a woman because she is not worthy of it. 

Even the Nirbhaya case, the accused stated precisely something like what this post states. That she was out with a male friend at night-something which made her disrespectable. Without any remorse, the accused stated he wanted to teach her a lesson for her shameful act. This post makes me wonder what is the difference between the Nirbhaya accused and the people who support this post. The accused in the Nirbhaya case justified himself by stating that Nirbhaya was not worthy of respect. So he chose to do what he wanted. 

A woman is labelled character-less if she chooses to marry a man of her choice, against the wishes of her family. Does choosing her own life-partner make a lady not worthy of respect? That is what most of Indian society thinks. Honour killings happen in our country precisely for this reason. Even the girl’s own parents and family do not seem to respect her in this situation. So are you going to teach your child that is how it should be-that your child has to disrespect a woman in your own family because she has made a marital choice which you don’t like. 

Then comes the question of what society perceives as deplorable behavior. A woman’s choice of dress, drinking habits, even the way she speaks or walks, everything is subject to scrutiny. A woman’s respectability is determined based on her actions and words and she is considered acceptable for respected category only if her behavior conforms to an accepted set of rules laid out by the patriarchal society.

Single mothers, widows, spinsters –all these categories of women have to be doubly alert to make sure the society accepts them as respectable and their actions are not misunderstood by the male-dominated society. This puts a tremendous pressure on them and robs them of whatever little joy is remaining their life.

When so many things still need to be improved for the status of women in our society, a thoughtless post like this, however good the intentions be, is not a step in the right direction. Hope this post doesn’t give out a wrong message to women-baiters to assert their point.

This is written for Day 17 of  Ultimate Blogging Challenge