Over the past week, there has been such an outcry on Twitter against the banning of mannequins in lingerie stores, and the requirement for women to wear opaque dupattas while getting photographed for their Aadhaar cards, that you'd think the government had done something wrong.
I mean, come on. India is a liberal country. Women are allowed to drive cars. We're allowed to vote. We're allowed to travel unaccompanied by men. We're even allowed to be out with men we aren't related to. We, unlike Saudi Arabia, don't have writers encouraging men to molest women who work. Even if they do, they don't back their requests up with evidence from the Manusmriti.
Every now and then, we may have a rape victim who is sentenced to imprisonment and a fine for perjury, but you know, women are allowed their freedom here. We don't cover our heads. We aren't required to "dress modestly”, except in places of worship. We're allowed to wear shorts and miniskirts in public. Of course, the odd policeman may say we're begging for rape. But we're allowed to beg for rape. In fact, we're allowed so much freedom that it is the poor, innocent Indian man who is endangered.
According to the authorities, Indian men are constantly exposed to – no, assaulted with – temptation. Such as the easy availability of porn. And mannequins. Why blame migrants and small-town attitudes for the increasing instances of rape, when we women don't know how to protect our men from their hormones? And isn't it entirely plausible for a government employee processing the licence or PF, or whatever else the Aadhaar card is supposed to be used for, to be rendered less efficient by the passport photograph of the buxom woman who needs the documentation?
I think the government is finally stepping in where we women have failed. In fact, there are several more directives that should be issued in the interest of preserving the morality of Indian men, such as:
a. Ban item numbers
Filmmakers are required to put in a sign saying cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption are dangerous to health. They are required to put in a disclaimer saying stunts such as jumping off buildings and driving cars at insane speeds have been carried out by trained professionals, and should not be tried at home. However, no such warning is issued when cinema screens fill up with item numbers. Now, think about all the hapless men who may be tempted by the rubbery waists and heaving chests of Malaika Arora Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Chitrangada Singh, Katrina Kaif, Madhuri Dixit...hold on, is there any actress who hasn't done an item number in the last year? My point is that it's simply impractical to flash all of this before men, and expect them to behave themselves with women.
b. Ban lingerie ads
Why stop with the mannequins? Advertisements and posters have real women sporting the lingerie that is considered seductive on mannequins. This means men don't even have to use their imagination before their hormones get ahead of them. Let's get some perspective here. If plastic women promote rape, don't photographed women make things worse? Why blame sexual deviants for their fantasies, when we're giving it to them?
c. Ban salons
Now, while it isn't always beautiful women who are victims of sexual crimes, perhaps they would be less tempting if they had facial hair, body hair, overgrown eyebrows and terrible hairstyles. Those women who want to look pretty for their husbands and boyfriends should either find beauticians who will come home to do their job, or find men with lower standards. The fact that most metros in this country have a salon on every other road makes it too easy for women to look their best. And this, naturally, is unhealthy for male gazers.
d. Ban sanitary pad ads
Have you seen how happy women look in these ads? Hell, 6-year-olds on coke couldn't be that full of life. They jump, dance, and grin like the entire purpose of their existence is to look thrilled with it. Not only do they misguide men into thinking women are not grumpy at that time of the month, they actively suggest otherwise. Besides, they remind men of organs that they should not believe exist. Oh, on that subject, that vaginal tightening gel ad should be banned too.
e. Ban all references to genitalia
Victorian England had it right. Some words should simply not be used. Because words create images. How can we possibly expect men to not be rapists when they're constantly accosted by references to female body parts? Of course, this will also mean we have to alter medical terminology, but that should give our politicians some more pointless paperwork to deal with, and we all know how good they are at that.
Finally, I appeal to the better sense of all Indian citizens. Let us do our duty by this government, which has proven itself so efficient, incorruptible and concerned for the safety of women. Let us stop criticising their wise legislation in promoting the safety of women, and help them save Indian men from temptation.