Chocolate and Gold Coins

Friday, February 17, 2006

A Modest Suggestion Toward Gender Equality

How do you feel about gender inequality? Do you think that if that is a part of some other culture we should respect it make no comments about it? Or do you think that gender inequality anywhere is reprehensible and cultures that practice it are fundamentally flawed?

In the previous post, some commenters suggested that I was insensitive to other cultures by joking about it. I suppose that is a valid criticism. But I really wish that women in all cultures could enjoy freedom and it bothers me when I see women discriminated against. I sometimes use subtle humor to make my points instead of direct arguments.

My feeling is that gender inequality is unjust. I would want women everywhere to have the same rights as men. But I understand that various cultures have their taboos that make it difficult for gender equality to be a reality.

In some cultures, the men apparently have too much testosterone running in their veins. They see a woman’s uncovered face and they cannot help ravaging her. This is a serious problem for gender equality. One potential remedy for this situation is to place a sheet over the women so no man can see her. But this is absurd. A much more practical solution is just to put blindfolds on the men.

This is my modest suggestion for these testosterone-challenged societies: on even numbered years, the men wear blindfolds and women wear whatever. On odd number years, women where burqas and men wear whatever. It is fair – there is no gender discrimination over time.

But you might say this is an asinine suggestion. Possibly, but is it any more asinine than forcing half of the population to wear something like this:


  • This is most wonderful and humorous suggestion about this topic I have read! But of course, we know that that in not the reason for gender inequality. It is a just a convenient arrangement which works to interests of men, and who would want to challange a advantageous status-quo out of compassion to fellow human beings. People are not that nice!

    World is a f**ked-up place, and that's why my greatest desire is the end of the world NOW! That makes me a pessimist, isn't it?

    By Blogger Ashish Gupta, at 10:51 AM  

  • I like the suggestion very much. If you live in a muslim culture you know exactly what you're talking about.

    The great book "Kite Runner" about growing up in Afghanistan, and the later Taliban ruled Afghanistan (burkhaville), gives a pretty good description of what life would be under the Sharia-heads of either the Wahabi or Khomeini camps.

    Why does one particular religion--at this point in time--produce such fanaticism and violence? Such bloody borders, perpetual war?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:45 PM  

  • Yeah, but can you stop with attire and not proceed further?

    I am not exactly excited about the prospect of becoming pregnant on years that are prime numbers.

    By Blogger Nilu, at 4:41 PM  

  • Hi Ashish Anon and Nilu
    Ashish: The world isn't that bad. Some places could use a bit of a fix up though

    Anon: I know what you mean - but the phrase "why does one particular religion..." could have been said about many different religions at various time. I guess it is the time for Islam to be that religion.

    Nilu: You might have to abstain during those years :-)

    By Blogger Michael Higgins, at 9:36 PM  

  • On mine I already met this news on the Internet and not time!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:40 AM  

  • What about the suggestion that both men and women wear a burqa-like dress in public? I think the tAlibAn Afghanistan wasn't very far from that :-))

    Now the Indian constitution gives Irfan's mother and sister complete freedom to not wear the purdah. Either they are choosing to wear it, or feel some social pressure to wear it. Even in the latter case, is it any worse than the American society expecting men not to wear pink or certain flashy dress? Certainly there are social pressures that prevent an American man from expressing his emotions as freely as a woman does; a daughter can jump and cling onto her father, a ( grown up ) son "can't". He can't "go all girly" as someone said in a comment here before.

    A question : do you approve of the French government banning wearing religious symbols in public schools, in particular muslim girls couldn't wear a veil to school even if permitted?

    By Blogger froginthewell, at 9:26 PM  

  • Hi Mihn-Duc and Froggy
    Minh-Duc: I am not against multiculturalism per se but I put more weight on individual rights and basic human equality.

    Froggy: I do not support France there. I do not think it is the state's right to force individuals to obey a social norm whether it be to wear the burqa in Afganistan or to not wear it in France.

    Like I said in the previous post, if Irfan's mother truly wants to wear that thing - fine. But it doesn't look to confortable and women naturally dont want to look dowdy so I assume that this was someone else's idea.

    I really wish that the young women who grow up wearing these things would have all the rights that the men have in society.

    By Blogger Michael Higgins, at 8:50 PM  

  • Hi Michael,
    I liked your suggestion. Perhaps the men would then know what it is to be under bondage!

    But you know what it's easier said than done. I recently read a book "Princes" which is about the Saudi women. It sent shivers down my spine.
    I can't thank enough for being given all the freedom I have had so far and wonder what is it that we women can do to change the plight of women in the world who still continue to suffer!

    Trust me, gender equality to be achieved completely will take aeons and aeons world over!

    By Blogger Minal, at 2:20 AM  

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