MORAL POLICING, WOMEN, MEDIA AND PERSONAL FREEDOMMoral policing is a controversial term. Its supporters say it is an important function to be performed to safeguard our culture against western influence and save our youth from corruption. Those who oppose it see it as a threat to individual freedom and democratic dissent. I would not have been interested in these debates till I saw them affecting my life as an individual and more so as a woman.
What is morality? How moral policing is gender biased? These are not questions you would want to spend your evening on but somehow they have been bothering me for a while. It all started when grandma told me not to booze because it is immoral for a girl. I was aghast not because I was desperate to get drunk but her telling me its 'immoral for girls'. What hit me was not it is immoral but for girls and I started on with my need for breaking gender stereotypes lecture. Later when I thought about it the reference to morality struck me.
I started noticing how conveniently the moral argument was used to dissuade a woman from exercising her will. How moral standards shifted across gender lines slowly became apparent.
If a woman is promiscuous she is labelled a slut but a man is called a stud for the same. The moral connotations apply only to the woman. Modesty and chastity are two virtues a woman's morality is judged on. Both of them aim at controlling a woman's sexuality. The same test of morality is not applied to a man.
Why such a discrepancy? Morals are principles expected to guide the conduct of whole humanity then why this discrimination between the sexes? It alarmed me.
I was not surprised when Tamil actress Khusboo was accused of dishonouring Tamil women when she said, "educated men should not expect their wives to be virgins." Her effigies were burnt and she was forced to make a public apology. Her crime being she dared to speak her mind on a subject that touches up on a woman's sexual morality. It was to...
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