I am vindicated! 'Pretty (Bad Ass) in Pink' video (Feminism)

So I have gotten into trouble for blaming the victim by saying that if women didn’t put up with patriarchy there would be no patriarchy.

Well these women in this video are proving me 100% correct. This is precisely what I meant, exactly.


‘If you beat one man up, others will amend their ways automatically.’

Totally. I agree completely.

Great vid. Good on the Gulabi Gang!

Yea, those ladies are awesome! Lets hope that kind of movement spreads across Central Asia!

So every woman who wants to be treated as an equal (or to have younger women not married off to old men, burned on funeral pyres, outcast from society, abused, etc.) has to join a vigilante gang?

It’s a start, Cat Fight. I think the whole point is that if they don’t then all those horrible things you mentioned will happen to them through force. So they are pushing back with force as well. Good for them. This would be overkill in this culture, but not in that one!

Who gets to decide what’s overkill? What’s tradition and normal to some people is offensive to others. I actually love the Gulabi Gang and a photographer friend of mine visited them for a story and says they are more awesome than any photos or articles could capture – but expecting every sister to do it for herself is unrealistic, especially when you’ve got religion, physical power and thousands of years of oppressive tradition in the mix.

Again, I think it’s amazing what they’re doing and hope that it can create real change in the long run, but that is a tall order considering context, and I don’t think every person’s got to be a trailblazer to create or even benefit from change. If I did, I imagine I’d have interesting views on the lack of uprisings by American slaves and Holocaust camp detainees.

Well, in this country a group of women going to beat up a man who beats up a woman, while in some ways an appealing thought, is simply not going to go over well. But here most men think beating up a woman is fairly barbaric so while it still happens far too often most people are against it.

Perhaps if these women can make a few men realize that the way they treat women is horrible, then those few can convince others, and so on and so on. The fact that they are up against centuries of traditions against them means that they have to start on the individual level, doesn’t it? If a woman says, “Hey, we should have our rights!” in that context, most people, including some women, aren’t going to listen to her and change their ways overnight. But if one woman stands up, and another, and another, I hope eventually they will win enough allies, including men, that the changes will start happening on a more widespread level.

These women are awesome. I have never felt personally oppressed because of being a woman but for them it’s all they’ve known until they stood up and said “ENOUGH!” I can’t imagine the nerve that takes.

I think the point is that these women have to grab it and make it for themselves. In my opinion feminism has focused too much on appealing to Patriarchy. Hidden in the feminist message is not only that everything is men’s faults, but that only men can fix it. Men should ALLOW women to vote. Men should ALLOW women not to get hit. If you ask me as a man to do something about the treatment of women in Central Asia, what would you have me do? Even if I were able to do something it would just be a grander patriarchy of a white colonialist imposing my beliefs on a less advanced culture.

Revolution must come from within a culture, that’s not something that anything can be done about. Mostly what I am seeing from the Gulabi Gang is not vigilantism, but they need that as an option to make them feared and respected.

It isn’t for men to provide rights for women, they have those rights and they need to not allow them to be taken away, that is the only way people can maintain rights. You can kill me you can imprison me, but you cannot make me a slave if I will not break.

I am pretty sure that in America, these women would be prosecuted under the RICO act the first time that they administered a beatdown to anyone who had even the slightest political pull.

Oh, sure, it’s fun to fantasize about beating up some guy who has beaten or raped a woman…but I’d prefer to live in a society where they are prosecuted in a court of law. And remember, I’m someone who thinks that when guys whistle and holler at women in public, it’s a form of harassment and intimidation.

I would prefer to see a change come about because people become more enlightened, and not because of physical threats, intimidation, and actual beatings. Even if I do think that some people really DO need to be beaten before they’ll change.

I have rarely seen something more ignorant posted. People have never in history anywhere simply become ‘more enlightened’.

Things should change without people having to DO anything.

Without the women in question standing up and saying, “I have rights, and I will live as a free person,” nobody is simply going to have an aha! moment one day of “Hey, we’ve been treating women badly for thousands of years, let’s not do that anymore. Okay, guys? Cool.” Never mind whether they actually beat any man up, the important part is that they are saying that they have rights and they will live as equal people.

Without that, nothing’s going to change.

Right. I didn’t get the impression that the Gulabi Gang is a bunch of thugs going around terrorizing men. It seems like most of their work is community outreach, support, and speaking up for their rights. Carrots are better for everyone but you’d better have a stick lest someone just come along and take your carrots.

I’m having a lot of trouble figuring out whether there’s sarcasm going on here or just irony.

You don’t understand, mswas. I’m not sure how else to phrase that. Your perspective is insulting, wrongheaded, and narcissistically focused to a (million) fault(s) on the idea that this is some kind of philosophical debate, rather than the state of the actual literal world. You don’t get to claim points.

The Gulabi Gang is basically a group of superheroes. I mean that literally. Sampat Pal Devi = Superman. One might, upon watching that video, conclude that finally women somewhere are doing something about their plight, and applaud it, and say “This is what needs to happen.” That’s one perspective.

Alternatively, one could look at that video and realize that ALL OVER THE WORLD, this is the decision women are forced to make on a daily basis – submit or take arms; fight or be destroyed, commit violence or have violence committed upon you. That right now, today, in the world you live in, the Gulabi Gang is noteworthy not because it is honorable or courageous or inspiring (though it is), but because it is the exception to the rule. That in practical terms, populations of poor, malnourished, undereducated, maltreated and minified individuals across the world simply cannot use violence as an effective tool against an established power structure. That this choice is no choice at all, and that the Gulabi Gang isn’t heroic because it is winning the war, but because it can not win the war.

If you are suggesting, by saying that you are “vindicated” and that if women didn’t “put up with patriarchy there would be no patriarchy,” that the problems now in Bundelkhand are simply going to go away now that women there are not allowing themselves to fall prey to it, I am going to suggest that there are two explanations for this: cowardice or ignorance. It is either the case that you simply don’t understand what a woman’s life is like prior to her deciding to join in with the Gulabi Gang, or you do have some sense of it and are afraid to acknowledge it. In either case, your attitude toward the women in that video is an insult to them and a substantial failure to accept their lesson.

You are not vindicated. Your hands are not clean. The responsibility to preserve a woman’s - any woman’s - dignity and her rights is no less yours than it is Sampat Pal Devi’s.

You have completely failed to grasp the significance of the quotation you provided and agreed with. “'If you beat one man up, others will amend their ways automatically.” That means us, bra. They’re not fighting against a team of supervillains. They’re fighting against us, because we’re fighting against them.

Holy projection.

None of that was even a valid response to anything I’ve said.

Since you clearly didn’t get it I’ll break it down for you. I live in America where a woman who gets beaten by her husband can call the cops. I do not live in India, and therefore have little impact on how men in India treat their women. And when I say little, I mean none.

There is no ‘we’ here. I have no relationship to the men of that society, no common cause, no shared tradition, and no line of communication whereby I can criticize their traditions in a productive way that they will be open to listen to.

I certainly DO get it, though I am not so certain that you do. You’re just pandering to liberal fantasy politically correct nonsense where all men are a set and all women are a set. You’re also pandering to the bullshit notion that an ‘uplift of consciousness’ can bring about social change. Nonsense. You have to fight for your rights, regardless of who you are. Do you think Black people in America would have gotten a damn thing without Malcolm, Martin and everyone else who stood up and said they wouldn’t take it anymore? Honestly, seriously? Do you think it was some sort of ‘shift in consciousness’?

I get it, you don’t. Nothing in your post was even a response to anything that I said, it was just a bunch of pandering bullshit.

As I’ve pointed out on this forum before. My first wife left me because I hit her, and you know what? I always knew it was wrong. I didn’t live in a cultural tradition that ever told me that this behavior was ok. So my consciousness was ‘uplifted’ by painstaking work on controlling my temper over the course of years, took a failed marriage for me to get my shit in check. But guess what? My situation has FUCK-ALL to do with the situation of women in central Asia. Why? Because in America where I live it’s already not ok to treat women that way.

When I hit a woman do you know what I did immediately? I went to counseling. When they hit a woman do you know what they do? Nothing, because that’s the appropriate way to act in their culture. I share no onus of responsibility for the actions of men in Central Asia, none at all.

There’s no ‘Us’ here. They aren’t fighting against me, because I don’t live in India and I already agree with everything they’re doing. I already had my shift in consciousness, I already did my re-evaluation of personal actions. So no, they aren’t fighting against us ‘bra’. There’s no us.

I have to agree with mswas although I am generally against all forms of violence. No oppressed group is ever ‘given’ their rights by the oppressor simply because the latter had a shift in consciousness. Why would they when an oppressive system works to their benefit?
Of course, the argument can be made that both the perpetuator and the victim are demeaned and degraded by injustice but let’s face it, the concept that beating a woman is really bad for your soul doesn’t seem to faze the abuser.

Men that were chauvinistic assholes didn’t suddenly treat me with respect because they saw the ‘light’, they did it because I refused to tolerate their shit anymore and called them on it.
A few understood what they had done after we discussed the issue but more simply wrote me off as a bitch.

With all that said, it is extremely difficult for uneducated third world women to buck their culture.
Last year, I spoke to a friend that participates once a year in a reproductive rights clinic in southern Guatemala.
Abused woman from the surrounding villages had nowhere to go when they left their husbands.
Even their families rejected them for not accepting their lot.
They had no way to earn a decent living for themselves and their children.
They had no support groups or shelters to seek help from.
Hell, most woman in reasonably decent marriages were afraid that their husbands would discover that they were on birth control because their culture defines a real man as one that has a large number of children.

I’m not sure what the answer is and I do agree that the end of female abuse requires a broad consciousness shift but first and foremost, the women have to say "We’re not tolerating this anymore " and come together to force a change.
Which is much easier said than done.

That first line there, I swear to god, I knew it was coming. Now let’s argue about what you’re saying you said vs. what I said you said and bla bla bla. And you can get progressively more bombastic about my reading ability, and we’ll never actually talk about anything.

You started this thread to point out that, as you’ve been saying all along, women have the responsibility and the sole capacity to throw off the patriarchal shackles. I responded, in a way that totally had nothing to do with anything you said, that no, you weren’t right all along, men have the problem and men need to fix the problem. Which, I’ll confess, was a total non sequitur because you didn’t say

at all. But if we can past the admittedly damning point that nothing in my post was, for instance, a quote directly lifted from the OP, maybe we can talk about something that matters.

But you can take a position on what the women there ought to be doing, right? The pink gang can by its actions personally vindicate you, right?

I’m mostly just quoting this so you know I read it. There’s nothing real here. I will allow myself to be righteously indignant for just one second, though, and say are you fucking seriously trying to stake out the MLK is on my side part of the argument? In the same post as you disclaim any connection to “other men?” Since you’re such a fan perhaps you’ve heard these ones:

This isn’t a conversation about Martin Luther King, and I’d prefer to just drop it, but I’m fairly certain he wouldn’t have quite your perspective here.

Pandering to?

God damn it, see, now I’ve wasted like a half hour just on the nonsense.

Nobody yet has said that these women are doing the wrong thing for themselves. The question that has been posed is: why are we patting them on the back for doing so without being critical about the conditions that required them to take those actions in the first place? Why must a woman become a comic book hero just to reverse the injustice woven into the fabric of her everyday life? Why isn’t the focus here on the people perpetuating the injustice in the first place?

I see the problem here. Where your fundamental mistake lies.

You are making the assumption by saying that women need to stand up for their rights as saying that it’s ok that they deserve what they get if they don’t. I never said any such thing.

I’d love to see the men in Central Asia or Guatemala simply wake up one day and say, “Oh my, I have been hurting my wife by treating her thus, how can I amend my wicked ways?”, I just don’t think it’s a very realistic expectation.

If I could go to India and explain things to these men about how their cultural traditions for thousands of years are completely wrong, I would. But I somehow don’t believe I’d get much of a response.

Advocating direct action != condoing violence against women.

But you can continue swinging your throbbing bulging liberal virtuous indignation around for all to see if it pleases you.

The thing that gets me into the biggest trouble around here is thinking that something goes without saying when apparently it needs to be said for some. If I think it’s awesome that people are standing for their rights, I would think it’s implicit that I don’t condone the thing that they are standing up against. You’d think I would have learned by now that on the SDMB you just can’t expect that sort of recognition.

This is just it, and I think it extends to victims of other sorts of prejudice (e.g. racism, anti-disability) as well. Not everyone is a trailblazer, not everyone is a superhero. If every single person who’s oppressed has to start a movement or become a perfect citizen in an attempt to change people’s minds, not only re they not free, they never will be.

Just as some women will continue to oppress other women because it benefits them (e.g. upper class women with maids and cooks who are, essentially, slaves) or because they have been indoctrinated since birth, some men will use their power and sway to help them. I think it’s wrong to assume that all women will show a united front or have the same motivations, even if they could all benefit from progress being made, eventually.

Change has to be made by someone and it’s even rarer that those who benefit from the status quo stand up and change it than for those who are victimized by the status quo to do the same.

But the opposite is expected of men. As Jimmy Chitwood pointed out, there is this assumption that all men are responsible for the treatment of all women, but not only that, that all men have some power over the traditions that cause these inequities. I am not saying that it’s ok, or a good thing that women are treated this way, I am just saying that the realistic view on this is that it’s not going to change until the victims rise up and stop their own oppression by force if necessary.

OK. That’s not gross or anything, and it helped your point a lot.

No, I’m not accusing you of saying they deserve it if they don’t stand up for themselves. I am accusing you of saying that if women didn’t put up with patriarchy, there would be no patriarchy. The reason I am making this accusation is because of the following post:

I am saying that you are incorrect to point to this video as evidence that there will now, because women aren’t putting up with it, be no patriarchy. I am saying that there will continue to be patriarchy as long as the patriarchs and their sympathizers foster these conditions; in fact, the conditions are in place precisely to serve that purpose.