AIDS, Feminism and Politics.


I goof up often, I end up making really wrong statements, This might totally put a wrong idea to people who think I make some sense. The damage I am capable of doing is a very restricted bunch of people who are literate, educated and capable people, who have enough brain power to chose the right and ignore the rest I dish out.

Add common public to the equation, you got a total new situation. When you have a mixed audience of illiterate, confused, and blind followers, The amount of damage you can do is really huge and irreparable. When noted personalities goof up, it really hurts the people in wrong areas. Add a dash of political agenda, and feminism, and gender bias into the plate, you can create a real big drift and a debate.

Some days back our honorable Minister of State for Women and Child Development made a statement, which was criticized/appreciated widely by large number of people, before I get to the statement and what I think about it, just a look at what could be the intent. Was she trying to gain political mileage, more like a publicity stunt?, was she trying to be a feminist over here, or was it a genuine mistake, probably only she can answer.

Coming back to the statement she made. Here it is.

You cannot trust men or your husbands. If you believe that men will be careful, then you can forget about protecting yourself.
You cannot trust men or your husbands. Men may bring the virus home after sleeping with other women.
Sometimes, women face difficulties for showing power to negotiate safe sex with their husbands.

You can read the rest of the statement here.

I would like to look at this in two parts, firstly what it means to the educated class of people, but not just women, people in general. Does she mean to say the relationships you are in are not trustworthy?, what does this mean “men or your husbands”, is this the new look of Indian women? Does she bring infidelity and casual sex in into Indian marriage?, I guess I am looking to read too much in between the lines.
I would definitely advocate protection, but its not just for yourself, its both for you and your husband, this statement mainly talks about one form in which AIDS can spread, thats unsafe sex. What about spread by unsafe needles, or blades and so on. Even if we assume only men stray, in all other ways it can spread, both the genders are in equal treat. So shouldn’t this be more about protection then lack of trust in men?, shouldn’t this be more about awareness of methods to prevent AIDS rather than feminism?

Lets move onto the next set of people, the ignorant, illiterate and the follower category. Here is where the minister made more sense. Even though India is a developing country the amount of people who fall into this category is very high. The biggest problem in this sect is lack of awareness. They may not even be aware of the disease or ways it can spread, just asking them to use condoms, may not really help. I really don’t know how much is being done on this front. All I Can see are huge concerts being arranged for fund raising towards it. Is our minister planning anything on that front?. If thats is done, her strategy might really work. I mean advertising the advantages of condom might be really helpful, but I don’t see why just women.

In retrospect, I feel her strategy is really good, but needs some more insight where she can really drive it. More than all this, I think she needs proper choice of words when she has a noble intent in mind. If she really has one. If she is doing for her own personal or political mileage, actually I don’t mind, as long as it is helping more people and misleading them.

I started posting this planning to criticize this step of hers, but I guess she deserves the benefit of doubt, Even though I don’t agree with the words I definitely support the intent.


4 responses »

  1. I guess her intentions were in the right place but her mode of getting to the illiterate needs to be refined. But then again, in our country, there can be a hue and cry for anything 🙂

  2. I think the thing with statements like this is that they need to be seen and read in context – and they are dependent on audience. I don’t think the statement is particularly well-phrased but I “get” what she’s trying to achieve and her intentions seem to be in the right place.

  3. @Saumya & absolute vanilla
    actually this one was strange, I was so sure when I started the post, that this women was talking nonsense, but then somehow at the end I kind of agreed with her.
    We do need canvazing for condoms.

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