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.
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This is written for Day 17 of  Ultimate Blogging Challenge

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