Happy Women’s day
to women, vulnerable
and tough ones, worldwide
Life is still a challenge for many women out there in various countries and in various ways – whether it be crazy laws barring them from very basic rights (education for example), having female genital mutilation forced on them as children (but not just as children), being forced as children to marry older (sometimes much older) men, discrimination based on their gender preference, domestic abuse, discrimination in the workplace (glass ceilings, even getting into work in the first place or back into work) or sexual harassment – セクハラ – in both the workplace and the street when they’re just going around minding their own business.
Regarding the last example above, I’ve had verbal comments of a certain nature thrown at me by total strangers (but not just strangers sadly). This is tough but do you respond to strangers or not? Responding is only giving them the attention they want, not responding encourages them to go on and on and but in any case you’re not responsible for what they think of you (at first I struggled with that phrase ‘it’s none of your business what others think of you’ but it does make sense).
You’d love to ask them what their mother/sister/aunt/daughter would think of what they just said and what they would say if their own mother/sister/aunt/daughter had such a comment made to them. They’d probably come up with some half-witted response because they’re half-wits. No actually. Total dimwits. They’d then go on and say it to some other woman no doubt. Or shocker they might not say it to anyone ever again but you wouldn’t know that at the time and you may feel that you gave them a little bit too much attention even while trying to make a valid point to them. Keep walking or walk away if you’re able to. Being verbally abused like this is the verbal version of what I imagine chikans are about. They are trying to defile you in some way. Thank god most countries have not had to introduce separate train carriages for women, as in Japan to give one example (I think either India or Mexico or both were planning to bring them in too) and I hope it never becomes necessary either. It would be sad if it became second nature for city councils worldwide to build these carriages. Dare I say it also drags good men (of which there are plenty) down with the bad?
However, if you’re in Japan (or anywhere else but this is a Japan blog obviously) and you are groped either in a train carriage or anywhere else, a couple of sentences in Japanese, which might help if you have the strength in you at that paralysing moment to speak at all are: ‘私から手をはなせ!’ is ‘Let go of me’ (lit: get your hands away from me or off me – it can be shortened to ‘はなせ!’) or another I’ve heard which I’m unsure of but would use if I had to is you could grab the person’s hand (I know, you wouldn’t even want to touch the person but bear with me), hold it up high and say 誰の手ですか？’whose hand is this?’ I don’t really know any effective swear words in Japanese sorry.
I was in an East European city a while ago (first time – great city!) and as I had no idea of the language and like to learn a bit of the lingo in advance I made a point of learning ‘let go of me!’ at least. I had no hassle there in the end – verbal or physical and I have to say I didn’t expect to even though I perceive the men from the country in question to be quite macho – and I would have used a lot stronger language than that to be honest (and in English so there was no mistaking my dislike of any unwelcome attention!), but I didn’t have to use any in the end. They wouldn’t deserve my effort to try to remember it on the spot in their own language anyway and well most people know what F*** **f means anyway! Pardon the language but it is our choice what language we use and some people (women and men alike) don’t like to hear women using such strong language which is sexism as well*. Saying you’re not interested or trying to think of other diplomatic rejections is polite but not enough unfortunately for some men. Bad language also creates adrenaline, I read recently, which is of course handy in threatening situations.
* That said there is one word that makes me baulk and it is the c word that ends in t. I’ve had it used against me (by a family member) and thought about uttering it to others (and I’ve actually used it against inanimate objects). But I hate it and try not to use it. I’ve revised this paragraph but it’s the same thing as before only shorter.
Anyway girls (and some boys) remember it’s not about you it’s very much their issue (that includes girls slagging off other girls by the way) just in case you don’t hear/read it enough.