Cyberbullying has become a hot topic among the members of our community off late. One spoke in the wheel of cyberbullying, especially in the Malaysian Indian context, is slut-shaming.
This is most commonly seen in people, often men, who feel the burning desire to comment and humiliate a woman based on what she wears, just because she chooses to bare some skin.
We’ve complied 9 reasons why NOBODY has a say in what women wear.
It is NONE of your business
This is the basic rationale why nobody should comment on what someone else is wearing. How someone chooses to clothe themselves does not concern you. It is none of your business, plain and simple
It is a crime
When did commenting on how sexy a lady looks become a crime, you ask? If you make her offended or uncomfortable, it is indeed sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is any form of unwelcome sexual behaviour that’s offensive, humiliating or intimidating. This includes saying things like “Wow,” or “Yemmadi!” as a stranger walks past you. That’s right, singing that Tamil song as she walks past you doesn’t make you a Dulquer Salman from OK Kanmani. You are making someone else feel very uncomfortable by your behaviour. That is a crime.
singing that Tamil song as she walks past you doesn’t make you a Dulquer Salman from OK Kanmani. You are making someone feel very uncomfortable by your behaviour. That is a crime.
You may be making your friends laugh, but you are making that stranger very uncomfortable, humiliated and offended by your actions.
Rape is not caused by clothing
Last week, many Malaysian Indian men were vocal about women’s clothing causing rape. “You dress a certain way because you like to do so. But what if a psycho sees you dressed that way, and then goes on to rape someone else?” one Malaysian Indian man questions.
This misogynist doesn’t realise that he has answered his own question. The fact that someone chooses to violate another human being – THAT is the crime. Not a crop top and shorts.
The fact that someone chooses to violate another human being – that is the crime. not a crop top and shorts.
Not the girl on TikTok who is dancing in a saree and bra. Rape is ALWAYS caused by the rapist, not clothing, not what-was-she-doing-in-that-back-alley, not alcohol, nor any other reason.
You are not a culture guardian
Many Malaysian Indian people, again, mostly men, think that they have been bestowed the title of Ultimate Tamil and Hindu Culture Guardian by the powers that rule the universe.
Commenting on someone’s outfit, making them feel small and unworthy, because you think that you’re protecting your ‘culture’ is rubbish.
Is your culture so brittle that it relies on how much of a woman’s skin shows when she dresses up?
There is so much more to culture than a woman’s dressing. The only culture you are protecting by slut shaming women who choose to dress a certain way is rape culture and misogyny.
It is their body, she can think for herself
Many men often think that a woman needs to be guided. She needs to be taught to do even the most basic things, such as dressing.
We blame Padaiyappa for this. It is probably one of the earliest evidences of mansplaining that became so popular over the years. Rajinikanth, a figure worshipped by Tamil movie viewers across the globe said this unfortunate line, “Pombalai na.. porumai venum, kovapada koodadhu, adakkam venum, avasarapada koodadhu…”
Rajinikanth goes on to talk about all the things a women should be, conveniently forgetting that he is not a woman himself. How then, would he know what being a woman is about? By the sheer quality of being a man?
Well, you’ll be slightly disappointed to hear that women are able to think for ourselves.
Well, you’ll be slightly disappointed to hear that women are able to think for ourselves. There really is no need for guidance from another gender on how we should dress, behave, talk and do our jobs. If you’re still confused, Google the term mansplaining.
Not everything women do revolves around men
Another select group of people often think that EVERYTHING a woman does revolves around a man. Like many of the points in this article, we think this is reinforced by the thousands of Tamil films that portray the women as mere plot devices in a man’s life.
99% of the time, women wear whatever we want to, for ourselves. Not for anyone else. As if a man would know the difference between Ruby Woo and Smoked Almond.
As if a man would know the difference between Ruby Woo and Smoked Almond.
Women don’t need reminders that we are living in Malaysia/Japan/Tunisia
While it is important to dress according to the weather of the country one is living in, most sane women are acutely aware of their geographical location and the corresponding weather. And hence, will dress accordingly.
Saying things like, “Don’t forget, you’re living in Malaysia,” will only make YOU look stupid for stating the obvious.
Being Tamil/Indian/Hindu doesn’t mean you cannot wear shorts
There is no rule in any ancient Indian scripture that states “Women should never wear shorts,”
However, many of the above said culture guardians seem to be under the impression that this statement exists. For them, this rule extends to off shoulder and spaghetti strap tank tops too.
Imagine their horror when they hear that Indian women didn’t even don saree blouses in the past. During the Victorian era, most women did not wear blouses under their saris – they wore it bare-breasted. What do you do now, culture guardians?
A woman doesn’t need protecting, she needs to be respected
If you understand this one point, you don’t even need to read the rest. A woman does not need your protection, unless she asks for it. If you don’t know her, there is no need to impart advice like this, no matter what any Tamil film hero says.
Of course, it is important to respect a woman. Respect a woman because she is a person, a human being. Not because she is a man’s sister or daughter.
Forget about women being someone’s mother, sister, aunty and grandma. Why does even respect for a woman have to centre around men?
Respect a woman because she is a person, a human being. Not because she is a man’s sister or daughter.
Respecting someone will eliminate the need to degrade them. Respecting someone will put consent above every other act. And it won’t even matter how they are dressed.
When you are ready to look at women as human beings, and not another species, perhaps then we can take a step forward as a community to slowly decimate cyberbullying.