By Chitra Bopage –
That is the approach Australian authorities use in their health and safety messages to women.
There are some similarities in the way alcohol affects humans, both men and women; there are differences too. Drink the same amount of alcohol, yet the woman’s blood alcohol level will be almost always higher than that of a man. Yet, many women are in denial with regard to how alcohol affects their bodies. Nonetheless, this is not a concern limited to women only.
The above logic shows a much better approach for convincing women to stay away from alcohol, by their own choice as it is based on scientific evidence, rather than due to religious, moral or cultural reasons or by compulsions. In that light I confess to being almost a teetotaller. I am one by choice, not due to someone else’s compulsion or discrimination.
The argument of protecting Buddhist culture and the morality as raised by conservatives like the President of Sri Lanka and the argument that women drinking contributes to disintegration of family cohesion and social morality as raised by some ‘left leaders’ are not only dishonest but also hypocritical.
In a country where some politicians and bureaucrats appear to turn a blind eye, help and abet the sexual harassment of women and gang rapes; and where women candidates are attacked because they are afforded a quota system at the elections, could one expect from them anything other than protecting such archaic laws?
Is family and social cohesion only affected by women drinking? What about thousands of women suffering from being abused at the hands of drunken men? Does not that drunken behaviour of the men folk affect family and social cohesion? So why does the alcohol ban not also be relevant to men?
If women are prohibited from drinking on Buddhist moral grounds, then how can these so-called progressive leaders protest against any other nasty practices that other faiths are asking women to adhere by due to their social, cultural and moral norms, for example, from genital mutilation of women in Africa to many malpractices against women in the certain Islamic traditions? Or condemn the disturbing judicial fact that even in some ‘civilised’ countries, a man can rape his spouse?
Humanity is created in and born from the womb of a woman. She deserves equality, respect and dignity to the same extent or even more than what men enjoy, not disrespect, discrimination and indignity.
How can some leaders including those of the left support such misogyny?