I was sat on the bus the other day, and I remembered a quote by an environmentalist when describing the industrialised world's attitude to traffic. He said (and I'm paraphrasing) "Building more highways to deal with the rise in number of cars on the road is like buying a bigger size of trousers to deal with your weight problem". In other words, dealing with a problem by not dealing with a problem.
This came to mind because I was on a bus and was thinking about this attitude when looking at how in some countries men and women usually sit in seperate parts of the bus. In the Caucasus (in Azerbaijan, but it also happens in the other Caucasian Republics, too), men usually sit at the back of the bus, and women at the front. The general reasoning behind this is so that women don't get harassed by men (more practically, it also makes it easier for women to get off).
Now, if that's how they want to deal with the issue, fine, but it reminded me of this environmentalist's point. By highlighting the difference between men and women, how does this educate men into dealing with this issue? As far as I see, it doesn't. Sure, it might make men more "respectful" of women when in their presence, but what about when they're not in their presence? On the contrary, this way of "not dealing" with the problem can have worrying side-effects - in other words, it can make men more sexually frustrated.
I'll use another example. A number of Muslim women wear a headscarf. Many Muslim women wear a headscarf for the reason that it gives them the power to choose how much they want others (strangers) to see of them. In other words (though this might sound a little strange), they are acting (in a way) like Muslim feminists; giving women the power over men.
Well, this is all fine, but there is the other, more commonly used, argument that women cover themselves because they don't want to attract attention from men. Like the situation on the bus, this also seems like a form of dealing with a problem by not dealing with a problem. How do you educate men into treating women better? If women hide their bodies from the attention of men, then you are emphasising rather than playing down the difference of the sexes. In a strange kind of way, men might get more attracted by this behaviour, as it makes the game of seduction all the more mysterious. And I've seen male behaviour that supports this point of view. Ask yourself this question. Which is more erotic? A naked body, or a partially clothed body? Human psychology would usually choose the latter, because clothing creates the illusion in the mind that the human body is sexual; a naked body is just a biological fact. So the more clothes a women wears, or the more she hides her body, the more it feeds a man's sexual imagination. The fewer clothes she wears, the less imagination men need to use. Of course, if you've ever been on the streets of the UK at night and viewed the number of women in practically no clothing, you'll see what I mean. But the fact is this: humans are sexual animals, and headscarf or no headscarf, men will be attracted to women somehow.All this behaviour does is make men more sexually frustrated, and seek to fulfill their desires in another way. By wearing a headscarf, you give the illusion that men shouldn't have sexual thoughts.
It's time some people got real.