Liberalization in India, and NOT Just in Markets

Shikha Dalmia, of Reason, has a new piece up in the Wall Street Journal on India’s harassment problem:

I’ve never met an Indian woman—rich or poor, upper or lower caste, pretty or homely, young or middle-age—who hasn’t been harassed […] Unlike rape and sex-selective abortion, which represent a genuine devaluing of women, sexual harassment in India is, I believe, an expression not of the power of Indian men but of their helplessness. It’s a pathetic attempt to have a sexual encounter, no matter how meaningless and evanescent. Its real cause is free-floating male libido with no socially acceptable outlet.

India’s sexual mores and institutions are rooted in a pastoral past, when people died before 50, so marriages between minors were the norm. Families in villages would betroth their children, at birth sometimes, and have a formal ceremony after both attained puberty, when the girl went to live with her husband’s family. This arrangement, now banned, had many horrendous downsides, but it produced an organic harmony between the sexual needs of individuals and the social expectations of monogamy and chastity […]

What would work [for easing India’s harassment problem]? Nothing short of transforming India’s puritanical culture and giving men and women more freedom to forge sexually mature relationships outside of marriage.

Read the whole thing. I don’t know how much good liberalizing India’s sexual mores would be without first more liberalization in markets. I often think of the US’s own problems when it comes to the sexual revolution of the 1960s: more STDs, more unplanned, unwanted pregnancies, and more costs associated with public health. Another downside was the attempt, by certain feminists, to destroy the very libido of men that Dalmia recommends liberalizing. The attempts by these authoritarians can still be felt today, especially in American universities (see Ken Masugi’s thoughtful piece on this problem).

4 thoughts on “Liberalization in India, and NOT Just in Markets

  1. Noting Andrew’s great piece of writing, I see that my own is often horrendous. I meant to write (rather than imply) that the problems stemming from the US’s sexual revolution can be attributed to the heavy regulation imposed on society (culturally and economically) by the government.

  2. “I don’t know how much good liberalizing India’s sexual mores would be without first more liberalization in markets.”

    India’s markets are already liberalized, but what has that to do with sexual liberation?

    In fact, “westernization” is blamed for India’s sexual harrassement problem. Indians are watching American TV shows and movies (and porn) and are getting increasingly exposed to Western Civilization’s immorality and sexual promiscuity.

    This, along with American fast food chains and the mainstreaming of Western bad habits such as drinking wine and beer, are seen as contributing factors to the degradation of traditional South Asian Hindu culture which has always been rooted in spirituality.

    Something needs to be down about the problem, but becoming Westernized and materialistic is not it.

    Afterall, Westerners such as myself have rejected the shallow and materialistic so-called “values” of the West and have taken up the spiritual traditions of India.

  3. ” I don’t know how much good liberalizing India’s sexual mores would be without first more liberalization in markets. I often think of the US’s own problems when it comes to the sexual revolution of the 1960s: more STDs, more unplanned, unwanted pregnancies, and more costs associated with public health. Another downside was the attempt, by certain feminists, to destroy the very libido of men that Dalmia recommends liberalizing. The attempts by these authoritarians can still be felt today, especially in American universities (see Ken Masugi’s thoughtful piece on this problem).”

    It seems like you have a point to make about all of this, yet you fail to make it.

    Who were these feminists who, in your words, sought “to destroy the very libido of men”? … and how did they seek to do that?

    Ken Masugi also asserted that American campuses are becoming what he calls “de-eroticised” but failed to point out how, or why that would be a bad thing.

    I mean, do we really need more Yale Sex Weeks?

    American tax payer dollars are going to subsidize Viagra for old men who should be meditating and preparing their consciousness for the time of death, and yet they are trying to get laid at 65 plus.

    So undignified and age-inappropriate.

    I think its about time American so-called “culture” de-eroticises itself, don’t you?

    • My, my. How did I miss this nugget of gold?

      India has liberalized markets? This is news to me (and to the Communist Party of India, which has worked to prevent liberalization since independence in the late 1940s).

      The harassment of women is due to “Westernization”? Of course! How had I not seen this before? Prior to the late fifteenth century, Indian women had never known cat calls before.

      And the crowning achievement of hippie ignorance for the week goes to this gem:

      Ken Masugi also asserted that American campuses are becoming what he calls “de-eroticised” but failed to point out how, or why that would be a bad thing.

      I mean, do we really need more Yale Sex Weeks?

      Can our American Hindu convert friend really not see the irony in his critique? I fear his distaste for choice hinders his criticality…

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