Posts Tagged ‘modesty’

I’m leery of generalizations chiefly because I’ve found so many exceptions. Still, it’s hard to look at certain kinds of behavior as reported in the news and not think, “Not again!” or even”WTF?”

20090914LADIES-BIn India, it’s become so difficult for women to commute to work without getting groped, hassled, or hit on; the government has added women-only commuter trains in the country’s four largest cities. Two-thirds of Egyptian menadmit to harassing women. And in democratic Israel, ultra-Orthodox “modesty patrols” have attacked, beaten and stoned women they deemed unchaste. Note these are all democracies.

The very concept of women as prey drives me crazy, and so does the idea that women are at fault for being, well, women. Either we end up with epidemic sexual harassment and/or violence agtemptressainst women, or we end up with social, religious, or civil laws dictating  what women may or may not do, in order to protect not only the women but also the men, who cannot help but respond to the temptations offered by the presence of a female. 

On my less charitable days, I find myself asking: have men no self-control?

When I posted this question on another site, I was bombarded with explanations about gender and nmantisature and normal impulses and where guys locate their brains as contrasted with women. I was reminded of the female praying mantis, who allows the male to impregnate her and then kills him), or the black widow spider. Someone mentioned female stalkers.

Forget nature for a minute; I’m not talking about survival instincts, which in the animal kingdom don’t involve either malice or intent. And leave aside individuals who are likely sociopaths. Let’s talk about culture and upbringing and how we value women. Most of you reading this, male and female, will (I hope) know that attraction does not have to equal action and that men can be – and have been -brought up to understand the difference between mutual consent and unwanted advances. We might even take it for granted that if a woman gets pinched by a man in the New York subway, he’ll be pummeled to the floor.

Yet, as male elected officials continue to publicly humiliate  their wives while lying about how they spend their supporters’ time and money, I have to think again about gender and power and the choices men and women make, and who they blame for their choices.20edwards1a_190

We’ve come away but we’ve away to go.


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