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Who is indecent?

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Prema Devaraj wonders why certain quarters are so vocal about ‘indecent’ women’s attire and yet remain silent when it comes to confronting real immorality.

You see her ankles, calves and knees.
You admonish her for indecency
Yet you do not speak against the indecency of a state which places profits before people and keeps millions in poverty…

You see the shape of her thighs and the curve of her hips against her clothes
You threaten to fine or jail her for dressing indecently
Yet you are silent against the indecency of corruption, of people living in poverty in a rich country, of low wages, unaffordable housing and the commoditisation of health care…

You imagine her breasts under her T-shirt
You lust but talk of modesty and call her indecent
Yet you do not cry out at the indecency of deaths in police custody, the exploitation of migrant workers, human trafficking and the corruption of enforcement officers at our borders…

You see the hollow at the base of her throat and the nape of her neck
Cover yourself you say, be decently clad you say
Yet you remain quiet at the indecency in the rape of the rainforests, the pollution of the environment, of palatial buildings and extravagant functions…

You find her eyes alluring, her voice seductive, her hair a distraction
You seat her away from you to maintain propriety and some sense of decency
Yet you are mute against the indecency of regressive taxation, of unjust laws, of the marginalisation of indigenous people, of the plight of refugees…
Who decides the measure of decency? How can it possibly be based on the visibility of a woman’s knees or the shape of her body?

My friend,

A woman is simply as she has been created
She lives, moves, feels, loves, laughs and cries
Her body, its shape and functions are as they should be
There is no need for shame…

But what is it that you fear so… that parts of her body must be kept from your sight?

The indecency is in the objectification of women’s bodies…
The indecency is in the subjugation and control of women…
The indecency is in the ongoing violations of human rights…
The indecency is in the manipulation of faith to sanction injustices…
The indecency is in the silence kept when abuses of power take place…

My friend,

Cloak your thoughts about her body
And pray for your redemption
For it is not she who is indecent
It is you…

24 June 2015

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