Feminism jumps in the bandwagon

Posted on décembre 4, 2010


Few days ago, enthusiastic Western newspapers reported how indian women punished male passengers who entered in carriages where they aren’t allowed. (You have to see this video.)

Since female tourists and indian women kept complaining about the misconduct of male passengers, pink ribbons now indicate train cars where only women are allowed to board. Even though they are not permitted to ride there, some men bypass this rule and find their way into these cars. They are obviously given bad reception. For female users, no holds barred; they hit men on the face and force them to do sit ups, with the assistance of the transit personnel1.

Questionable, you said? Though I’m against all forms of violence, I can only sympathize with these women, tired of wandering hands. These men with bad taste and no education need to be taught that women shouldn’t be handled as if they were rag dolls with impunity. Some males need to realize that cruising and flirting with women can make them feel unconfortable and even humilianted.

A women-only car in Tokyo. Picture Credit: Wikipédia.

Indian women are not the only benefiting from this short-lived peace in public transportation. The first women-only cars were  introduced ten years ago in Japan because men wouldn’t stop pinching, touching or harassing women. Other countries have now adopted this measure; Egypt, Indonesia, Taiwan, Brazil, the Philippines, Belarus2, Mexico and Dubai.

Western countries don’t seem to be in need of women-only cars. This being said, I have already been victim of groping in the metro by men pretending to touch me accidently because we were packd in the metro. You have the feeling that something wrong is happening to you but you can’t quite put your finger on it.

A women-only carriage in Jakarta (Indonesia). Picture Credit: EPA

Is gender separation really the answer? Holly Kearl, a street harassment expert, is against these trains because it only shifts the problem elsewhere and it doesn’t address the lack of civic spirit of some male citizens.  On her blog, she explains that men keep breaking the rules while in public transit but also that except for trains, other spaces lack control. I agree with her. However, before a better sollution is implemented, I think « illegal » train passengers need to be spanked. That’s it.

1. Note that this personnel has been recruited specifically to get rid of undesired passengers in women-only cars.
2. In Belarus, women have asked for a separate wagon not because of sexual
harassment but because they couldn’t stand men’s smell of socks and onions.