Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bodies of women.

There's a girl who studies in one of the other departments, at work. She's familiar to Medusa, mostly through the praises of her teachers, but also because she is always around whenever Medusa visits that department. She seems sorted, pleasant, is clearly intelligent and studious. All irrelevant. And she has also been threatened with an acid bulb.

For the past couple of years, one of the leaders of the erstwhile ruling students' union (again irrelevant) has been interested in her: an interest that she has politely yet firmly declined, repeatedly. This year, therefore, the young man has renewed his attentions, with the accompanying threat of disfigurement. Her classmates now walk her to the bus stop, she has sought help from her teachers, has spoken to the boy's friends, and is contemplating staying at home, for a long time to come.

Medusa can not even begin to imagine what prompts this young man to act the way he is promising to act, but she can try to comprehend the sense of despair that this girl must be experiencing- a despair shared. Because whether or not one has been at the receiving end of such sensational, headline-grabbing violence, one has gotten used to having one's body brought to the forefront of one's existence. Grabbed and mauled on the roads, in buses, trains; brushed against in the metro and in homes, parties, colleges, workplaces. If she gets ahead in life, she's probably also sleeping with her boss, and if she doesn't, then her cleavage-display has sadly been in vain. Her demands in meetings are expressed too loudly, shrilly, She provokes and is not careful enough- the way to teach her a lesson is to teach her body a lesson.

So, while the girl at work will probably go to the police and complain, and maybe, just maybe, be rid of this young man for good- her experience of her body is unlikely to be any diiferent.

Stopping here seemed too depressing, and so Medusa tried to imagine a situation when she and her friends could talk about the bodies of "masculine" men in a similar manner. They could say, "ooooh, look at his arse, no wonder it got slapped yesterday when he was getting on the bus". Or maybe, "its only natural that all his students would hang on to his words, have you noticed the size of his adam's apple?" And again, "If he did not want me to stare at his belly, why did he wear such a tight shirt?".

Pretty taxing, this imagining.