Ever the popular albeit slightly controversial book — Barbara and Allan Pease’s Why Men Don’t Listen & Women Can’t Read Maps — came out, readers were introduced to a world that was strikingly different for men and women. [Then again, ever since John Gray’s Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, this knowledge was not particularly new].
However, what was actually fascinating was that…the book that was actually intended to be a light read contained a rather profound message: Women and Men may live on the same planet, but they most certainly don’t live in the same world.
After all, consider the following cases:
In a Man’s World: His birth is celebrated!
In a Woman’s World: Her birth is a curse!
In a Man’s World: He can do no wrong!
In a Woman’s World: She can do no right!
In a Woman’s World: She learns about safety!
In a Man’s World: He forgets about consent!
In a Woman’s World: She is a Slut!
In a Man’s World: He is a Stud!
Thus, when they come from two entirely different worlds, why then should the Burkini ban have come as any surprise? In fact, it hardly even came as a surprise that right after France’s attempt to regulate women’s clothing, our very own Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma was right at the helm, attempting to maximise the size (of women’s skirts). [Note to reader: Wasn’t Draupadi draped in yards of cloth when she was humiliated in open court? Or maybe even the length of a woman’s saree need to be stipulated…Wonder what Mr. Sharma has to say to that.]
What is truly sad whether we are viewing France from afar or Mr. Sharma, up close…truth is…For all the progress we have made in the world…for all the big words we use (liberty, equality, free will), the simple truth of the matter is that we just don’t want to give up our ‘Cave Man’ mentality where men are ever ready to prescribe women’s suitable behaviour but are not even willing to shine the spotlight on their internal make-up.
There are many who say that the Burkini ban is not exactly a statement against women but rather a particular religion. To those very souls I ask: Are you going to tomorrow look at a saree as a “Hindu” fashion statement or evening gowns as “Christian” fashion statements or salwar-churidars as “Sikh” fashion statement?
Are we not facing enough problems as a society owing to all these myriad divisions that we now feel a need to go one step further and start targeting women according to their religions. And before you start waving the ‘Secular’ flag at me and start hitting me with the flagpole, simply take a moment to ponder: ‘If the Pope was visiting the French Riviera tomorrow, would you arrest him too for “ostentatiously” and “religiously” dressing up?’ [A Word of Caution: While pondering this question…do remember…the Pope is a man at the end of the day!