Why Do Men Need A ‘She Can Be Your Mother/Sister Too’ Reference To Be Gender Sensitive?

Posted on July 10, 2014 in Gender-Based Violence, Masculinity, Society, Taboos

By Unnati Singh:

There are people who explain the occurrence of rape as the result of consumption of “chowmein”, many more who blame it on the length of my skirt, and some more by saying that a female’s body is desirable to men and they shouldn’t provoke men to insanity. The first two I’m not even taking into consideration because they are ridiculous.


Some men have extremely low self-esteem to believe that women are not attracted to their body in any way and they are the only licensed breed to feel the feels. The only difference here is that we generally don’t start howling like drunk orangutans on seeing men ans we don’t jump on their bones.

Then there are people who explain to men that rape is wrong (it is sad that people have to be explained this) in terms which basically make them relate the situation to a female in their life. But has anyone realized that whenever a guy needs to be ‘explained’ that stalking/leering/rape is wrong, he needs to be explained in terms of “what if she was your mother/sister/any other”. Why does no one explain in the simple terms that she is her own person and she doesn’t want your attention? She doesn’t have to be your female relative to be treated with respect. She can make her own choices, she has a right to not like a guy, she has the right to refuse him even when she likes him. She maybe standing naked on a beach and saying no and that is reason enough for him to back off. He can be her husband, but if he forces intercourse, its rape and not sex.

These issues are talked about a lot and people often brush women aside, uttering the label ‘feminist’ in a snide manner. But can we really let this go when every hour two girls are raped; when my parents tell my brother to have fun at night parties but I am told to be safe indoors; when dowry is just a way things are supposed to be; when a driven female is called bossy and unmanageable; when serials still portray an ideal daughter-in-law as a woman who manages work and home efficiently? How can I let this go when these issues are considered to be too advanced for a ‘backward’ India, and whenever I raise these issues there are people who still say ‘Itni forward mat bano.’

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