When the woman principal of a Mumbai college goes to the extent of saying that western clothing is responsible for a lack of natural urge to reproduce in women, we need to reconsider whether we are really living in the 21st century.
Recent rules enacted in the Government Polytechnic College in Bandra have yet again brought to the forefront the inherent orthodoxism that resides beneath the deceiving mask of modernity that we are shown to be wearing. The principal, Swati Deshpande, has taken the step of segregating the canteen by gender, with a rope, to stop men and women from interacting with each other, as a measure to curb sexual harassment on campus. She has also decided to replace the uniform for women from trousers and white shirts to salvar-kameez.
But that’s not it. According to her, these measures are justified because “I have heard theories on why girls suffer from PCOD (Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease) at an early age. When they dress like men, they start thinking or behaving like them. There is a gender role reversal in their head. Due to this, the natural urge to reproduce diminishes right from a young age and therefore they suffer from problems like PCODs.”
What caused the head of an eminent higher education institute to make such a preposterous statement is unfathomable. However, with greater power comes greater responsibility. When one is in such an influential position, one cannot speak whatever they think, without thorough research.
Moreover, disallowing men and women from interacting with each other in college premises is no solution to the problem of sexual harassment. What needs to be brought about is not a change in seating arrangements, but a change in mindset of people who stoop to such low levels. Such measures only go on toassert implicitly, the lack of any fault on the part of men in such incidents.
Changing the uniform to salvar-kameez will not only cause problems in working in labs, increasing the probability of accidents, but also reinforce the age-old stereotypes of clothing for men and women, meanwhile not really bringing about much change in the “natural urge to reproduce”.
Such objectification of women, by making them mere tools for reproduction, is a step backward in the struggle for progressive development, and surely not the right direction to move in.
Sorry Mumbai, we expected better things out of you. 🙁 we are really tired of reporting all these non-sense rules by people in power but again, we need to create Awareness.
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