What's Maneka Gandhi thinking?
Union minister of women and child development has been making one outrageous comment after another, and the latest in the series of her faux pas is the #HormoneGate.
Speaking to a TV channel just days before the International Women's Day, Gandhi said: "When you are 16 or 17, you are also hormonally very challenged. So to protect you from your hormonal outbursts, perhaps a lakshman rekha is drawn. It really is for your safety."
To think that Maneka Gandhi has gone from trying to get marital rape acknowledged as rape, to now spewing patriarchal bunkum like this comment, and advocating nightly curfew for women hostel dwellers in university campuses, is seriously mind-boggling. Is this the minister who is in charge of legislating laws to promote gender equality? Or, is she the new feminine face of Sangh brand of Bharat-chhaap sexism?
Maneka Gandhi seems to be having a "hormonal outburst" herself!!!Did she realky say that? Curfew for girls?Happy International Women’s Day!— Shobhaa De (@DeShobhaa) March 7, 2017
Oh but she is also an equal-opportunity offender. She's not content incarcerating women in dank hostel rooms, she also wants boys inside. That's some relief, minister, as if no "insecurity" can occur inside the hostel premises.
|Women and child development minister has been making one nonsensical comment after other. [Photo: Agencies]|
Not only did Gandhi make a dumb and sweeping statement in favour of locking up women and men in their hostel rooms to prevent the hormones going rogue - interestingly no mention of sensitising men to stop sexually abusing, violating women in public spaces - she also resorted to another stereotype.
Gandhi said the security at women's colleges cannot be ensured by making "two Bihari gentlemen stand at gate with dandas". She added, "It has to be solved literally by giving time limits for everything. Give them (boys) two nights to go to the library and two nights for girls - if you want to go to library, that is."
In other words, Gandhi doesn't only stop short at advocating a highly dubious sexual apartheid as a panacea for women's security, she even brands men from a particular community as the designated (and, by inference, ineffectual) watchmen, who unsuccessfully stand at the gates of women's hostels. Does she have data to prove that women's colleges employ gentlemen from just one Indian state?
"Hostel curfew to save girls from hormonal outbursts: Maneka Gandhi"Says a modern girl who had love affair at 17 & married at 18yrs 27days!— Arun Shourie fαи (@FeignShourie) March 6, 2017
Maneka Gandhi surges to huge lead in contest among Indian politicians to say something shockingly stupid about women. #HormonalOutbursts— Bobby Ghosh (@ghoshworld) March 6, 2017
The spate of idiocies that Gandhi has uttered has come in quick succession. In November last year, Gandhi raised eyebrows as she pointed towards rape statistics of other nations, as if doing that would miraculously erase the tag of "rape capital" that India and its urbane centres have earned in the recent years.
Controversially, Gandhi made a volte-face on marital rape, and went from trying to bring about a sea change in the Indian outlook on this vicious crime that is not legally recognised still, to saying India isn't ready for such a change of opinion and law. Also, her anti-choice stance on Caesarean sections, surrogacy, adoption by single persons, those in civil partnership, etc, has really raised the hackles among liberal and progressive advocates of women's and civil rights.
Lovely. International recognition for Indian brilliance. https://t.co/W7u9JWSJry— Smita Prakash (@smitaprakash) March 7, 2017
You know what would be safest? Lock hormonal men in, instead of denying women the right to lead a full life. https://t.co/ysCYc08bhB— Rituparna Chatterjee (@MasalaBai) March 6, 2017
Though her efforts to help women who become victims of online trolling and other forms of virtual abuse have been commendable. Her frank response to Gurmehar Kaur when the latter was sent rape threats online was laudable.
But this remark, that collegegoers must be protected from hormonal outbursts instead of being conditioned to not rape, not violate women, not abuse and harass, is perhaps losing one truly capable and able-minded minister to the Sangh camp of regressive nonsense.