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Kerala’s ‘Men’ Problem

August 30, 2011

Kerala’s men are turning moral policemen. Couples are interrogated by random strangers, even beaten up and arrested.

In this article, Shahina KK discusses the morality-centered vigilante culture that is growing at an alarming rate in Kerala. She gives several anecdotal examples of incredulous levels of violence (from overwhelmingly male perpetrators) in both private and public spaces (including Thesni Bhanu’s, an infotech professional, now-famous story).

I generally disagree with ‘sexual repression’ being offered as a reason for any act of violence. I am not even sure what ‘sexual repression’ means. The concept of a man who has not had sex for a while suddenly exploding into violence is both misogynist and usually racist. What I do think is going on though, is an increased visibility of women displaying both social and sexual independence. In a culture with multiple socially and culturally constructed ‘rules’ that dictate and police women’s every step (both literally and otherwise) to ensure an eventual passage into marriage and reproduction; such rash displays of ‘non-traditional’ is intolerable. These women are not ashamed enough. They, in fact, believe they have rights protected by the law.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2011 1:33 pm

    Women in purda get abused. Are they showing sexual independence?

    The whole quote from Shahina’s article:

    “Simply put, the Malayalee male is sexually repressed. Schools are segregated as nowhere else. This segregation prevents natural friendships between boys and girls. During the period of sexual awakening and beyond, they see each other only as sex objects.”

    I wholeheartedly agree.


  2. August 30, 2011 5:22 pm

    I think you are misunderstanding what I wrote. I definitely do NOT mean that women’s sexual coding through dress are inviting these attacks. (I am not sure how you came to that understanding). When I say ‘sexual (and social) independence, I mean the ability to go to public spaces with a man who you may not be related to. Or even to live with one’s boyfriend who you may not be married to. I am simply pointing out that these acts that show off an independence that is not sitting well with Kerala’s men culture.

    Secondly, I think while Shahina’s article is an important piece about a trend that no-one really is talking about, I disagree with her conclusion. And I have given my reasons. Just because someone never has had sex or feels like they cannot express their sexuality freely — does not automatically make them a misogynist abuser of women.

  3. August 31, 2011 10:52 am

    I kind of agree with your point and sorry for the misunderstanding. I meant, I think the cause is explained in the rest of the quote: “This segregation prevents natural friendships between boys and girls.”

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