Sunday, May 6, 2007
Say 'Nice Chicks'
In the course of our seminar series women's rights and gender relations were eagerly discussed (A big thanks to Bruce for his blog posting in this regard!). These discussions came into sharp focus this afternoon as I went shopping at my local mall. As I walked across the parking lot two young women, dressed elegantly in skirts and high heels, went into the opposite direction. At the same time, three young men crossed our path, one holding a two year-old boy in his arms. All three men looked eagerly at the young women and the one holding the child belted out with a loud voice towards his child: "Say nice chicks", while indulging in an oily grin. I had to pause for a minute to verify if I really saw what my eyes seemed to have registered - I found the entire episode quite odd. Why? Perhaps its a good thing to live in a country where the attraction of women is appreciated, but I also find the public and even confrontational display of gender related excitement disturbing, especially if transmitted to a two year-old boy. Where does welcome consideration end and harassment start? How is this related to men punishing women at taxi ranks for wearing trousers or skirts that are deemed too short? How does the young boy's education about how to relate to women look like?