the column on sexy men ran at a time women in our country were being
variously shot in the head, raped and shoved into a car; raped, killed and
flung down a cliff; being bashed into a concussion and eventual death,
while seven months pregnant, having a slit throat, by men.
with several women led me to this conclusion:
men (generally speaking) base their entire sense of self as a human being,
not on intellect, responsibility, integrity, loyalty, compassion or hard
work, but on their masculinity - how many women they can attract, on how
many they sleep with, how many they control.
felt as if a light had suddenly been turned on. That’s why they kill
when they can no longer control the women in their lives - because they
see women leaving them, or horning them as a threat to their very identity
which is based solely on their ability to attract and control through
if men began defining their manhood in a broader way - and if our society
lauded men who were faithful, rather than faithless, family men rather
than philanderers, intellectual creators, rather than solely sexual
beings, humane rather than powerful - then they wouldn’t feel so
insecure, so emasculated over a horn.
would be big enough to walk away rather than hit a woman. I felt a little
ashamed of one of our criteria for sexy men - power - because it is so
often used to control and debase other human beings; its more hateful
attributes of guns and violence, control and terror actually serve as a
glorified extension of manhood.
dinner, on the night a self-appointed panel (four women, five men) made
the ten sexiest men list, we also made the ten sexiest women. The exercise
degenerated into a male thing and it was, as I pointed out to the men,
even if done in jest, a broad indication of how men treat women in
they eased the women out of the discussion entirely by saying their
choices were, in their words, “determined by an objective and
disciplined methodology,” which essentially meant if they had a nice
“ass” they were in and if not, they were out. Not only had they
systematically deprived the women of a voice, but they also
by reducing women to “asses”, men didn’t have to think of them as
as I joined in the fun, initially, there was unease, discomfort beneath my
laughter. I not only felt like a traitor to women, but also I was
contributing in some small way to a meat market where girls and women were
treated not unlike slaves as if they were, in the chain of life, beneath
human beings, sub-human bodies. Mere objects of pleasure - no wonder their
lives are not valued.
your eyes, and if you believe women and men are equal but complementary,
then justify child brides, and dowries, and the way women are led like
cattle to their husbands’ families, their negative worth a liability so
their parents have to bribe men with dowries to take them - they are not
even worth selling. You have to pay to give them away.
under the circumstances, I had no choice but to rip up the male sexiest
women list (we are more than that) and do my own.
I decided to change it to “most admired women” because I have come to
understand that when men call a woman sexy they often also rip out her
mind and leave her standing limply like some lifeless doll.
women are all uniquely admirable and I left out too many so I did not rate
them. This is a random sample of women in this country. Just a tiny,
name some because they are role models, reasonably well-known and,
together with all our women, have collectively and bravely borne the torch
(as women have since the beginning of the world) of the very soul and
conscience of our country, making up the backbone of our civilisation.
are clever, and curious, natural managers who routinely juggle
high-powered jobs with pampers. They are caretakers of the weak: children
and the elderly, the poor, the battered, the downtrodden, because they
combine compassion with responsibility.
have a passionate sense of justice and empathy but are also formidable
achievers because they are fearless and strong.
all have a timeless glamour, a crackling spirit; some are included for
simply being beautiful, but by putting them in my most admired list I want
to say there are so much more to them than just that.
all, they have the ability to bounce back from adversity, and even when
they hit rock bottom, emerge radiating hope and the immense possibilities