Empower ourselves and our sisters

When the news hit of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s passing, it was a tragedy for women all over, everywhere.

Popularly know as RBG, the woman made a lasting impact in empowering women, making them believe anything was possible and being a woman didn’t mean staying in the shadow of men. She spent her life and career advocating for women’s rights. She was one of the last people in SC who was fighting for women’s rights. Even during her final days, Ginsberg was worried for the fate of the country, fate of women’s rights. But the woman, at the age of 87, after a lifetime of service, after fighting off cancer, shouldn’t have had to worry so hard about the fate of a nation. The fate of a democracy should not have rested on her shoulders. And yet, despite the obviously empowering, powerful role the woman held, in the highest court of justice, women all over are still being diminished, still being sidelined and marginalized.

In India, the past week has seen two brutal rapes of young Dalit women. For these women, being a woman was bad enough but being a Dalit woman, a caste discriminator will mean they can completely forget about justice. When there is violence against women, most people end up talking about how “woman was raped”, “woman beaten to death”. With no active agent present in these passive statements, the onus somehow lands on women; on the way they dress, the way they talk, on the way the carry themselves.

A couple of weeks back, Kori Sidaway of the CHEK News was shamed by a viewer signed as “The Vancouver Island Cleavage Patrol”, for showing a little cleavage while on air. Sidaway, who along with several of her colleagues has been harassed by viewers several times before, decided to not “sit in the shame” and made the sender’s email public. Yes, she did receive support (and of course criticism) but the fact her cleavage had to be discussed and defended so extensively, is a failure for everyone in the society.

It is 2020 and people are still talking about women’s cleavage rather than their knowledge. And when I talk about society, I talk about women too. There are other women who actively diminish other women by passing snarky comments on the way they dress, on how much they weigh and how their success means they must be sleeping their way to the top. This has to stop. The entire society, men and women both, need to start checking themselves for ugly biases against women and start recognizing that women are more than the sum total of how they look. Empower ourselves, empower our sisters and make a woman like RBG proud to have fought for us.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist


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