Monday, October 19, 2009

Too much

Sometimes I'm told that women "have" "too much" gender equality these days. This is confusing. My bird-brained instinct is to think that either there is gender equality in society, or there isn't. If there isn't, then nobody "has" it; and if there is, then - it being, you know, "equality" and all - women and men "have" it to the same degree.

But things became clear when I considered a shocking example: the oppressive power of the family-busting feminist state is so immense, I hear, that you can't even hit your wife anymore.

Unless, that is, she comes back home late, cares about her job, wears a short skirt, or doesn't wait until the third (or fourth, or fifth) incident to complain about being beaten. In those cases, one member of the police told Associate Professor Narayanan Ganapathy of NUS, we might cut you a little slack. Confronted with a woman who says, "My husband hit me", officers might take into consideration:
whether she was wearing a short skirt, trying to flirt or look ‘‘bitchy’’, like want to fuck around, comes back home late, cannot be bothered about the house or her family, just want to make money, too career-minded – I tell you this is the cause of much violence in the house. . . this type of women will even sleep around or fuck around with their male colleagues to get to places. . . Then there is another type of woman, one who takes care of the family, comes back home early after work to look after her children and husband, cooks for the family, keeps the family and house in order, devoted to her husband, honest, very careful about her behaviour, doesn’t want to make a mountain out of a mole even when the husband sometimes whack her a bit. . . First type of women call the police, I tell my men, just show your face, second type, I will be a bit more interested. . . sometimes, there have been cases where I personally talk to the husband to take care of his wife and family because the wife is so good to him already. . .

- Ganapathy, Narayanan (2002) 'Rethinking the Problem of Policing Marital Violence: A Singapore Perspective', Policing and Society, 12:3, 173 — 190
So the meaning of "too much" gender equality is that authorities have to make any effort to respond to wife-beating at all. That's how extreme things have become: officers might have to "show [their] face" and some radical feminist zealots in the police force even nobly take it upon themselves to tell a violent man, "Hey, that's not very nice."

Who knows how far it will go in the future? In some perverted world, maybe they'll have to treat punching your wife (or raping her) like an actual crime which you investigate and prosecute and everything - even if she's a career-minded slut who didn't vacuum the flat that morning. Maybe all police officers will be told, as part of compulsory training, that protecting people from violence is their job, which they have to do regardless of any asinine gender stereotypes they hold.

What a frightening prospect.

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