Even you are very beautiful: Nikitha Suryadevara
Guest post by NIKITHA SURYADEVARA
Bhopal: Janata Dal (United) President Sharad Yadav today stunned many at a press conference in Bhopal when he called a woman reporter “beautiful.”
The journalist asked him whether he prefers Madhya Pradesh or Bihar – he has represented both in Parliament.
The chief of the Janata Dal (United) dodged a bullet by saying, “The whole country is beautiful.”
Then came the unexpected remark – “Even you are very beautiful,” he said.
So I figuratively raised an eyebrow when I first read this (raising just one eyebrow is much harder than it looks, trust me I’ve tried). The reporter asked him a question designed to make the man fumble, but Mr Sharad Yadav is just too suave. When asked to pick between one of his two constituencies, he swiftly pointed to the reporters beauty instead. Well that seems like a logical conclusion.
Why, for an old guy he’s quite a smooth operator. I wonder what other potential gems he has hidden away in his vast repertoire. In most of the comments that follow the original article, all claims of sexism are pooh-poohed away as an ‘over reaction’ or as being ‘overly sensitive’. Since when is giving a woman a compliment a crime you ask? Well let me put it to you this way. If a male reporter had asked him the same question, would he have said “Oh, you are also handsome.” I’m thinking the answer to that would be a no. Okay, I get it. Relatively, this is no great misdeed of massive proportions. But such comments and such trains of thought continue to propagate the treatment of women as pretty playthings.
One guy even commented, and this is a direct quote “How is this a sexist remark? So males cannot even appreciate beauty by complementing them? Aren’t we going a bit too carried away after the rape protests?” Go ahead, complement away, boss. But unfortunately for the vast majority of the male population, the term ‘complement’ can only be imbued as a compliment in some situations. In a professional setting like a press conference, definitely inappropriate. Yelling “you’re beautiful, you’re sexy!” at passing women on the street can never be construed as a compliment. My apologies to legions of what I’m sure are well meaning men with only pure good intentions.
On a different note, as I was driving to work the other day dressed as stunningly and modestly as always, I felt six pairs of staring eyes boring a hole into me. This was on the road, mind you. A car filled with men, all of them facing backwards in their seats, to look at me driving the car behind them. This went on for about fifteen long minutes of my commute, and it was incredibly uncomfortable. I had to keep my eye on the road, and somehow not make eye contact with these depraved beings in my direct line of sight. On the larger scale of things, was it any kind of violation? No, I’d guess not. But did it make me curse and wish I could just give them the finger so they would leave me alone? Definitely.
I want to be more than a piece of meat. I want to be more than something pretty to look at. I want to inspire respect not lust. And until the day it happens, I will continue to be over sensitive and I will continue to regard all such ‘compliments’ with the skepticism they deserve.