To widespread international condemnation, the military in Myanmar, also known as Burma, crushed mass anti-regime demonstrations recently and continues to hunt down and imprison those who took part.
So the International Herald Tribune has reported Friday that women in several countries have begun sending their panties to Myanmar embassies in a culturally insulting gesture of protest against the recent brutal crackdown there, a campaign supporter said Friday.
“It’s an extremely strong message in Burmese and in all Southeast Asian culture,” said Liz Hilton, who supports an activist group that launched the “Panties for Peace” drive earlier this week.
A comment on the Lanna Action For Burma web site goes like this:
The protest is innovative, but ironically it depends upon the willingness of women to reinforce a belief of the innate superiority of men over women that is held not only by Burma’s generals but also by most men in the country. Men are potent; women are weak. Thus women’s genitalia–especially if menstruating–are dangerous to men’s potency.
Day-to-day this means, among other things, that men in Burma actively avoid having contact with women’s lower garments, and that special restrictions are placed on the hanging of women’s washing that do not apply to men’s articles. Perhaps the organisers of the protest should have considered these features of the “culturally insulting gesture” before going ahead with it. Who is really being insulted?
The group, Lanna Action for Burma, says the country’s superstitious generals, especially junta leader Gen. Than Shwe, also believe that contact with women’s underwear saps them of power.
What do you think?
Tags: Burma, Burma (Myanmar), Myanmar