If I were to borrow Galtung’s theory on structural imperialism, then man is the centre in our society while woman is the periphery. Woman has to perceive that they live in a society where norms were made by the man and through their perspectives. This has been going on for centuries. And now that human right issues were praised, and women’s rights were highlighted, the word of “emancipation” was introduced, women are still living in a dilemma.
I found this cartoon and I found it ironically true.
In Saudi, women are obliged to cover themselves from head to toe, they are not allowed to drive or to leave the house without the company of their husband or male relatives. These regulations intended to protect women, they said. Meanwhile sexual assaults are continuously happening throughout the country. It turns out that the head-to-toe cover is not enough to protect the women from being abused. The particular clothe does not prevent them from being looked down by men.
Others believe that these regulations are only extensions from patriarchy ego wanting to limit the rights of women to express and articulate themselves. So they decided to reveal. Show as much skins as possible, and trying to prove that jumping to one bed to another is not only guy-thing, and so on. These behaviors fail to lift their dignity, now woman is a sex object, for men. Even more ironic, sometimes “the revelation” is undertaken not with the spirit of self-liberation—like when the women burn their bras in the 60s—but on the contrary, they do so because they were craving for male attention.
Dammit, it becomes all about men again.
The year of 2012 is closed by an outrage. A medical student in India is passed away recently. 10 men took turns to rape her in a moving bus, beat her after they finished, then threw her out of the bus. I feel like crying everytime I think about it. But she was not the only one. Many other women experience the same thing in my country. Interestingly, both officials reacted almost in the same way. An Indian official urged miniskirts to be banned, remind me of Foke. People were in rage to hear these statements. Some argued that one of the ladies who got raped and killed in Jakarta was wearing polite clothes when the tragedy happened, she just came back from thesis defense, obviously she didn’t wear hot pants, but she still got raped. Others arranged slut walk in the city holding the sign: “You raped her because her clothes provoked you? I should break your face. Your stupidity provoked me.”
Maybe clothes do not matter, maybe we should avoid too much argument around it. It’s the guy’s problem who has no respect. But why don’t they? Maybe because they are also the victim of social construction. They grew up knowing that they have privileges, something the female doesn’t. I said we should pity them. Thank goodness there are more men who are aware with the issues of women’s rights and equality nowadays. But we can’t keep yelling to ask the rest of them to change their perspectives right away. Maybe, instead of asking them the favor, we can do ourselves the favor.
It doesn’t matter how we look. If you choose to wear veils due to religious beliefs, it is very admirable. If you choose not to because you feel comfortable that way, that too is okay. If you like to show your sex appeals then go ahead. Woman wants to look attractive. But physical appearance is not the only thing we have, we have so many other things to prove.
May 2013 gives bless and courage to all women in the world.