Uttarakhand chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat said at a workshop on substance abuse on Tuesday that ‘Ripped jeans’ pave the way for societal breakdown and are a result of the “bad example” parents set for children, which also leads to substance abuse. Not the first time that statements by politicians have gone viral and created a stir in the country
“While the western world follows us, doing yoga … covering their body properly. And we run towards nudity”, said the minister calling the trend “Kyanchi se sanskaar (culture by scissors)”.
He added how was shocked to meet a woman who ran an NGO wearing ripped jeans. “If this kind of woman goes out in the society to meet people and solve their problems, what kind of message are we giving out to the society, to our kids? It all starts at home. What we do, our kids follow.”
How does the choice of clothing have an effect on character and moral values?
Another minister in his government, Ganesh Joshi, demanded that women should give priority to raising their children. “Women talk about all things they want to do in life, but the most important thing for them is to look after their family and children”.
While I contemplate if I should laugh or cry, I realize that a surprise reaction is now normal for us as women of this country. How is this solution, I wonder? Instead of curbing drug supply, punishing harassers, molesters, and rape accused, here the onus is again on the woman to sacrifice her basic choice of clothing, her liberty, privacy, and her fundamental rights of basic existence to protect herself.
As women continue to pave their way with struggles and difficulties in a man’s world, and while the men in authority struggle to find ways to curb crimes against women, the easiest solution they have found is to blame it on women. Not just now. Every time. How easy right?! Also, this is not the first time statements by politicians attacking basic human (read women’s) rights have hit the news.
Here are a few other times politicians have made some bizarre statements that continue to attack basic human rights:
· Boys will be boys, they commit mistakes- Samajwadi Party supremo
· Two men raping a woman cannot be termed as gang rape- Former Karnataka Home Minister
· If a woman is caught (in a rape case), then both she and the boy should be punished- SP’s State President
· Best way to curb India’s population growth is to provide electricity to Indian villages so that couples spend their time watching TV instead of procreating and increasing the population- Former Health and Family Welfare Minister
· Crimes against women won’t happen in “Bharat” or the rural areas of the country. You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gang-rape or sex crimes- RSS Chief
· Women shouldn’t participate in protests- Chief Justice
· Hindu women shouldn’t do interfaith marriage- UP CM
· Women should just be housewives- RSS Chief
· Girls can reproduce at 15, so why should their marital age be increased from 18 to 21? – MP Congress Leader
The idea of always monitoring women, snatching their liberty and privacy is an easier solution than questioning the incapacity of the police to do their jobs.
Being eve teased? Don’t wear provocative clothes.
Getting raped? Don’t go out at night.
Men will be men; they will commit crimes and rapes.
You just need to be more careful as a woman.
Because men can’t keep it in their pants or control their provocative gaze at lady parts, let’s just ask women to cover up themselves, no matter the comfort level or the weather conditions. That way we men won’t get tempted to look at them.
And when women question this we will objectify them by equating them candies and precious stones which need to be covered or protected.
This is the mentality of many. They refuse to see the problem and when they do, they try to shift blame or come up with convenient, easy solutions that benefit the perpetrator instead of the victim. And if they are people in power, the solution should be one that makes their work easier.
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