Last Sunday was International Women's Day, and while there was a flurry of posts on women-related issues on my newsfeeds, I didn't take particular not of anything. I did however, get the time to watch the BBC documentary India's Daughter on Tuesday. It's on BBC iPlayer till Sunday 11pm (GMT I presume), but one can apparently find it on YouTube as well. And there have been some criticisms of the documentary, that it might not be accurate, or that it showed a rather narrow perspective, but nonetheless I think anyone who watched it can't say they didn't get angry and upset while watching it (assuming you have the same sense of justice/equality as most people in contemporary society I guess). I really can't believe that the rapists and their lawyers thought that she deserved to be raped, and that what they did was perfectly justifiable. Normalised perhaps, and so desensitised to the horrors, but surely not right.
And I think that's what women's rights is about. I find that often times here, I would not want to count myself as feminist, cos feminists seem to demand things from society that I don't necessarily agree with. A shit storm was stirred on Facebook when CUMSA (the Malaysian & Singaporean Association) specified that the annual ball's dress code was black tie and "For ladies, while black tie does not mean floor-length dresses, please do bear in mind the nature of this event, so please don't arrive in overly tight, revealing or short dresses." and some one asked to clarify why this specification was necessary. I agree that being that specific was rather bizarre and seemingly unnecessary, but it somehow boiled into a sexist rage because ladies don't necessarily have to come in dresses, they could very well come in suits. And I'm just like yeah I guess they don't, they can come in whatever they want, but statistically speaking ladies are most likely to come in dresses so talking about dresses when referring to ladies seem rather sensible right. I'm not particularly cogent when it comes to these issues, and I tend to prefer to let the more eloquent speak for me, but I really just feel that we sometimes take things a little too far. Women should be respected equally as men, and not be treated any less, or objectified, but if you're going to be talking about 'just cos I'm a girl doesn't mean I have to wear a dress' then I really don't identify. Though on the topic of dresses, it is disappointing that women are judged intellectually based on what they wear.
Anyway, I had my last official undergraduate lecture yesterday, though to be honest I didn't feel too emo about it at that time. I had a really good last day of term yesterday, with the usual lectures, practical demonstration, and supervision, but also a really awesome tour of the Peterhouse Perne library. I never realised how interested I was in heritage till during my gap year, and one of the things I'm really glad about having come here, was its rich history and the abundance of people who knew such things and cared a lot about it. I still don't know much, nor am I that interested that I would look it up online, but I know much more than I did, about the Catholic church history, history of Europe, bits of the UK etc. And belonging to Peterhouse, the oldest college of Cambridge, and being able to tour the library of old books, and listen to a knowledgeable person share stories was just amazing. Just random facts like lots of books used to be bequeathed to the college at a Fellow's death and that's how libraries start out, and the library being a workspace and where you borrow books for studying is a very modern concept (last 30 years). And seeing really old books, like the 3rd oldest printed bible (1482?) in the world, with their hand-made leather-bound covers, elaborately hand-drawn illustrations and everything, was just awe-inspiring.
[have got photos on my phone but I'm too lazy right now to upload them so they'll just have to wait]
|Borrowed a photo off the web; read about Andrew Perne from a former Petrean here.|
The weather's been really good recently, and one definitely feels like Spring is in the air. The freedom from lectures and the good weather however kinda heralds the impending exams. And it's a rather bittersweet feeling actually, cos the exam term last year had some of my best and worst times in Cambridge.