Monday, November 21, 2005

Sunlight and Sex

James Watson, the man who co-discovered DNA, whipped up a storm two years ago when he said, at a guest lecture, that dark-skinned people had a stronger sex drive. “That’s why you have Latin lovers. You’ve never heard of an English lover. Only English Patient,” the Nobel Laureate said, expounding on his theory that exposure to sunlight enhanced sex drive.

Now, sunlight is abundant in India. Does that mean Indians... tut-tut, let’s not talk about that. We Indians discuss such things only when nobody is around. But there’s one question which we cannot escape, and one wonders whether it has anything to do with Watson’s theory: why is India so unsafe for women?

According to WHO, every 54 minutes one woman is raped in our country. The Centre for Development of Women’s Studies hikes the figure to 42 rapes a day. And in most cases — 85 percent, according to a study — the rapist is known to the victims. What’s wrong with our men?

Ours is one of the few countries where women — if they are alone — don’t like to venture out after dark, because that’s when evil creatures creep out of their dens. Where else is it commonplace for a woman to be dragged into a car and raped by a bunch of men and then thrown out?

Forget darkness, daytime is no better. You will find them outside girls’ schools, women’s colleges, at bus-stops, inside the buses. They ‘pass comments’, they heckle, they whistle, they pinch bottoms, they nudge. And who are they? Ah, there are so many ways of describing them — loafers, rowdies, roadside Romeos, eve-teasers... Where else in the world do you hear these words more often, or hear them at all? ‘Roadside Romeo’ and ‘eve-teasing’ seem to be purely indigenous expressions. You don’t find them in the dictionary. You don’t find any of the Western papers using them. And ‘eve-teasing’ is so common that we don’t even capitalise the ‘E’, even though Eve is a proper noun.

Eve-teasing is such a menace that worried police commissioners set up women cops in plain clothes to nab offenders. And then there are offenders who are above the law — the VIPs and the semi-VIPs — whose misdeeds occasionally creep out of the closet into the newspaper columns and create sensation. But there are millions of other deeds that go unnoticed — deeds of men who would like to keep their wives and daughters under lock but who, the moment they step out of their homes, eye the women on the street, their secretaries or the seat next to that woman. Women, for them, are purely sex objects.

Does this have anything to do with Watson’s theory? The sunlight is abundant, but the societies are closed, so is the extra drive being channelised into activities like rape and eve-teasing? Worth researching. Should we hire Dr Watson?

February 2003


Anonymous Anonymous said...

good one...and about safety...its a pipe dream...

3:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:11 AM  

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