There is a video recently released on YouTube, filmed in India, where a female reporter takes to the city streets armed with a microphone and video camera, asking the general public the following question.
“Would You Marry a Raped Girl?”
I came across this via an article on my Facebook newsfeed, and stared at the post for a while before I clicked on it. I found I wasn’t interested in the responses, but the question itself was holding my attention.
Would You Marry a Raped Girl?
I did not know that was even a thing. It immediately reminded me of many girls in our region, who having reached “marriageable age” found much to their embarrassment that they were being overlooked due to their ‘darker’ skin colouring, or because they were overweight.
“Would You Marry a Dark Skinned Girl?”
“Would You Marry a Fat Girl?”
Living in South (East) Asia I know this to be a fact. Men are believed to not want to marry a poor girl, a not so pretty girl, a not highly educated girl and so on. Matrimonial websites are overflowing with ads proclaiming young girls with fair skin, slender builds, good breeding, purity, high academic qualifications etc. Now it looks like those ads might begin to include “Not Raped” or “Raped,” depending.
We all know these ads, these labels, these “traditional ways” are upheld mainly by the female population in our lands. They are the ones who require them, enforce them, insist on them. Why else would the “tea trolley” gathering during marriage proposals be such a major event if not for the purpose of “viewing and observing” a girl?
“Son, would you marry this tea server?”
The second thing the video reminded me of were the hit television shows “Who Wants to Marry a *insert appropriate label*?” – I wondered if India’s penchant for manufacturing excessively sponsored TV game shows out of such ideas would take root with this one as well, and that heaven forbid Pakistan should follow suit.
“Who Wants to Marry The Raped Girl?” sounds about right for a title doesn’t it? Which semi-retired matronly actress would be picked to host the show?
As you can probably tell, I am disgusted. I am also beyond feeling shocked or saddened by the spectacle being made out of rape survivors in such a despicable manner. This is not about whether the answer to this question should be “Yes,” “No” or “Maybe” – This is a question that should not be asked in the first place, because it disrespects all women.
I wonder if the reporter considers her interview show a “feminist move.” It certainly reeks of that. I feel it is easy to believe you’re a feminist because you have education to your name, a job, and the all important “financial independence” which seems to have become the battle cry of many women in South East Asia these days. Sadly, the belief is that earning these tags which break the age-old and more traditional molds is to many enough to think of themselves as feminists.
It is not.
Did the reporter with all her “taking to the streets independence” pause long enough to think she could very well become a victim of rape herself? No she did not. How many young girls are being gang-raped on the streets these days? (and not just in India by the way) Did it occur to her that she might have asked one or more rapists that question during her show?
Also, and most importantly, would she even consider asking a question like that if she was ever (heaven forbid) in the shoes of a rape survivor? I’m guessing no. So, what makes her believe she is different and above them? What gives her the right to tag yet another label on women and expect them to just bear it? How is this progressive, or feminist, or right in any damned way?
It is not feminist to do that, it is not morally correct to do that either. Because it shows blatant disregard for the survivors of a terrible and brutal crime, which incidentally is still not really considered a crime in our part of the world. There are barely any laws for it, and we all know that. And, if people believe that going into public and asking questions such as this one is raising some kind of awareness, or being progressive in some way, then they are fucking idiots.
What I saw this woman do was this.
She took every woman who has been raped by men, and paraded them publicly before men, and asked those same men if they would accept these survivors as their wives.
That is the depth of ignorance, classlessness, and anti-feminism in this reporter and everyone who supports her cause by actually dignifying her question with an answer.
In one over-eager-to-prove-something move they gave control over womens bodies, minds and emotions right back to men. It reminded me of all those Star Plus shows where the new daughter-in-law is accused of some moral crime, and the whole family stands silent watching her getting lamblasted till the male hero steps in and says he accepts her. The audience of course breaks into cheers and sighs over his manly acceptance of her, and like dumb fuck sheep his family nod their approval of his wiser sense. There might be a couple of people who wonder why the heroine was questioned in the first place, but who wants to hear them, right? If they mention it, there might be a rally to have their question erased for all eternity.
Why are so many women in our region still doing this kind of shit to other women, then turning right around and blabbering about how fucking progressive they are? What is this mindless fascination with showing themselves as “liberal” on the outside while actually just being too chicken shit to actually progress where it matters? Where is the goddamned “stance” they keep claiming they’re taking in this world?
I am not interested in whether men should or should not “accept” women who are rape survivors, whether they will marry them or not, date them or not, consider them “damaged” or not. I do not want to pound on men and say “Oh you MUST” or “Wow you’re so NICE to accept her as your wife. Kudos.”
What I am interested in is not seeing yet another fucking category for women to be slotted into as if we are pieces of meat in a butcher’s shop, and I certainly don’t want to see it being done by women.
I have lost almost all patience with the women in our region who do this, and let’s not kid ourselves, a majority do it. Every wedding, every social event, every online platform… They are everywhere and in large numbers, and no they are not just “of the uneducated classses.”
Let’s call a spade a spade, shall we?
The female reporter in this video is not uneducated, neither are the women supporting her cause believing they’re doing a good deed towards “those poor raped girls” while brandishing their own freedom, social status, their academic certification, their power jobs, their ‘choice’ to be homemakers, their gleeful turn downs of a couple of arranged marriage proposals, all of which most likely makes them feel they’re badass feminists.
They are not either feminist or badass if this is the shit they’re pulling.
Feminism is a process, and it would serve us well to learn more about it before jumping on some imaginary cliquey bandwagon because it’s the cool thing to do. These women are coming across as ignorant asses and they’re too full of themselves to notice. As a woman, I am embarrassed for them.
Feminism needs to be understood before we shout about it from the rafters. We need to read more about the women of past who struggled, pushed and fought so we can enjoy what we do today. The opportunity to get an education, to work, to vote, to make our own choices, and to keep progressing towards equality in a world where it’s difficult to be that. We do not need to make it worse for ourselves.
Respect for all women. It is the very foundation of the feminist movement, not some game show where women have to conquer a series of set tasks and come out victorious with gift hamper prizes from L’Oreal at the end. Neither is it about hating on men, or setting out to prove we’re better than they are.
The goal is equality, and not just being “equal to men,” it is also about being equal among ourselves as a gender.
P.S. I did not post the link to the video, because I don’t want to link back from this blog. If you want to view it, try Google search.