A while ago I read two articles in the New York Times which struck me. One was about girls in Afghanistan who go to school in spite of the danger of being attacked by crazy radicals – apparantly close to the Taliban – who spray their faces with acid. All the girls, including the ones who have been sprayed, insist in going to school. Of course they have to dress from head to toe, but they insist on being educated. Their mothers, who often can read nor write, support them. And it seems that their fathers agree as well. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to go, I guess.
The other article was about women in Iran, who are sick and tired of being oppressed by their fathers and husbands. There are women who have the courage to ask a divorce. And there are women who have the courage to come out and protest. They run the risk to be put in jail.
I admire these women and I count my blessings because I was born in the west. But these articles made me think as well about women in the country where I live, Colombia. It is quite the opposite here as far as the way of dressing is concerned and many women show as much of their body as they think is appropiate and they go quite far. There is a big pression on the Colombian woman to be sexy and to have a perfect body: 90-60-90 are the measures.
Sometimes I wonder what is worse: to have to walk in a lot of clothes, cloths and scarves or to be the lovely scarcely dressed beauty queen all the time. The idea behind it is very much the same, I think: women are sexual objects.
Colombian women are lucky that their society is not as oppressive as the Afghan or the Iranian, although machismo is still strong. They go to school, they go to university and many of them have splendid careers. But there are also many girls who dream of having a rich husband who can buy them a couple of nice tits or a good bum. And there are many girls who get pregnant at a very young age and whose future is very difficult from then on. In the end their possibilities to make something of their lives are almost just as restrained as those of the girls in Afghanistan or Iran. But in the beginning they have a choice. They don’t seem to realize though. Perhaps they would, if they were forbidden to go to school.