Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pink Saris

When I walked into the documentary film, The Pink Saris, I really had no idea what to expect.  I had talked it over with my step-father that morning because he had asked me where I was going, and being brought up in a strict Muslim home in South Africa, he suggested that was going to be the premise of the movie.  He was correct.  While watching the movie I wasn’t surprised at anything that I saw, because I had seen it all before in other courses.  In my core 3 course, I took a Anthropology course that focused on men and women’s roles the Middle East and North Africa and for my core 4, a Sociology course on Where in the World in gender inequality.  But I was still really excited to see this film because it reminds me of how lucky I am that we live in a country that doesn't have to deal with this on a regular basis.  Women don't have to live in fear of things like:

Pink Saris is about:
“Documentarian Kim Longinotto relates the powerful story of Sampat Pal Devi, the tough-minded leader of the Gulabi Gang, a group devoted to obtaining equal rights for women in India and ending the violent discrimination that still plagues them. The Gulabi Gang, whose members wear bright pink saris, protest dowry deaths, the marrying off of very young girls, and India's strict caste system, even though their own violent methods raise questions.”

Video: Pink Saris Defy Traditions

Sampat Pal Devi, is defying traditions.  Living in India, where women are not equal to men on many levels, she has been able to fight against the odds.  She formed the Gulabi Gang in 2006, in response to overwhelming amounts of domestic abuse and other violence against women.  The group stands behind Sampat, as she goes to visit the abusive husbands and beats them with bamboo sticks or lathis, until they promise to stop abusing their wives.  The group has also worked very hard to stop child marriages (families marrying their daughters before the age of 18), protest dowry (the money or goods a woman brings to the marriage) and has taught women how to read and write.  The video had both positive and negative supporters.  Those who believe in tradition were obviously against Sampat and what she was trying to do; while others like the Indian Media were very much in agreement with Sampat.  The group was reported to have 20,000 members as of 2008, as well as a chapter in France.

One of the quotes that the movie opens with and that stuck out to me the most was:

A girl’s life is cruel...A woman’s life is very cruel,”

It's a week after I posted this and I came across this picture that relates to the link I posted above of Malala Yousafzai