Our right to pleasure is always ignored: Kavita Krishnan
Women's right to seek pleasure, whether in public or private, has always been ignored. Women are not even free to go out and hang out in public places without feeling threatened. Mass media, by perpetrating certain stereotypes of women also places constraints on a woman's freedom.Updated: Mar 08, 2015, 12:47 IST
I wouldn't differentiate between sexual and social freedom for women. Because sexual freedom is also about choosing your partner.
It is one of the most basic freedoms, but the Indian government, by hanging on to Section 377 of the India Penal Code, denies that freedom to everyone.
And why just sex? Women's right to seek pleasure, whether in public or private, has always been ignored. Women are not even free to go out and hang out in public places without feeling threatened. Mass media, by perpetrating certain stereotypes of women also places constraints on a woman's freedom. I am as against the stereotype of the sati savitri as I am of the 'sexy' woman.
Internationally, there is a tendency to look at women voyeuristically. We are under constant surveillance.The film (India's Daughter) shows victim-blaming as located only in the rapist and his lawyers, i.e in those who are 'on the side of the rapist'.
The problem with rape culture and victim-blaming, of course, is that it rests just as much in those on the side of the 'law' and 'morality'. That is, police officers, politicians, parents, principals, all regularly say things very very similar to what Mukesh or his lawyers say. This is what the film fails to show.
By focusing on that clip alone, channels also are whipping up outrage against the perpetrator in the December 16 case alone, rather than inviting a larger discussion on rape culture, which we had done during the movement with our 'women want freedom' slogan.
Then there are advertisements for soaps or jewellery or any other consumer goods that present women in all kinds of sensuous postures. So are we then talking of sensual freedom only for women who are beautiful and have flawless skins and perfect bodies? What about the sexual freedom of women who aren't?
(Kavita Krishnan is the secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association)