Jun 2, 2011

Damned if you wear, damned if you don't!

It is bad enough when people in India’s cow belt still talk of bahu, beti, cow and land - all in the same breath. What makes it worse is when people echoing the voice of a modern & emerging India exhibit the same feudal attitude, albeit in the guise of arguing in favour of women. It makes me see red. I’d rather live with the knowledge that I have to fight a posse of chauvinists than be let down by those who have always sworn by gender equality. Anil Dharker seems to be one of the latter.

While I wouldn’t care two hoots what our female badminton players wore on court as long as they returned home with a few medals, I find the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) dictat that its female athletes ‘must wear skirts in all tournaments from June 1, 2011’ to ‘increase the spectator appeal of the game’ odious and personally offensive! As usual our Badminton Association of India (BAI) has gone about objecting this issue in a completely irrelevant manner, dragging in everything from our ancient kala, sanskriti to heritage and perhaps Hazare (who knows?). It has also aligned itself with those (Pakistan/Indonesia) who have equally loathsome ideas about what constitutes womanhood and how a woman ought to dress.

My problem is that irrespective of which side you’re on, no woman can emerge a winner from this argument. If wearing skirts and flashing panties won’t work, the BWF will probably insist next that its female athletes start posing topless on court to grab a few eye(balls). After all, it’s all in the spirit of the game.

The thing I find galling about Dharker’s views is that he seems completely oblivious to the fact that he seems to be endorsing a view where appearances make up for lack of talent; where commercialization needs to be promoted at the risk of sacrificing personal freedom; where our “athletes (should) at least look the part, even if they aren't quite the part.”

This is a defeat after fighting for over a century for equal rights, a defeat for the suffragettes, a defeat for those who were burnt at the stake at Salem, a defeat for those African girls who still bleed to death due to genital mutiliation, a defeat for those girl infants who are drowned upon birth in the remote villages of Rajasthan, as well as a defeat for all of us who struggle daily to instill in our daughters the wisdom that what matters is who you are inside, not the layers of pancake you can smear across your face.

1 comment:

stonetemplepilot said...

for some players its a relief and for some it's a pain in the ass(pun unintended) depending on which country they are from.

but for armchair sports afficionado it's good news. and lets face it women tennis players look good in skirts .They just need to get their panties right.:)

and kindly remove the photo of the tennis player from your entry. It hurts my sensibilities! really