27 July 2008

Of airports, nudity and an insult to men

Changi is a good airport, at least as compared with 2 other major air hubs I know. Changi's Terminal 3, officially opened last week, has the first of the millimetre-wave scanners which creates anatomically faithful images of passengers. Full essay.


Anonymous said...

Gender bias policies that paint men as sexually dangerous are also out there in the west. Qantas was recently chided for having a policy of seating unaccompanied young children only next to women passengers. Implicit was the belief that men were far more likely to prey upon children than women.

Anonymous said...

about singapore's alimony laws: i don't think it is so much gender bias when it was first conceived. in the early era of singapore's founding, women tend to be less educated, more subservient towards the men. i would think that it is more of an outdated law.

Anonymous said...

I think it's also an insult to women to imply that we have no/less sexual desire.

Anonymous said...

that's not really the point; women would object to male security officers seeing their nude x-way shots; men are less likely to mind female security officers seeing their shots


Anonymous said...

there are so many types of biasness these days, that it has become quiet normal to promote it socially. Biasness against gays, biasness against anonymous bloggers, biasness against smokers, biasness against singles, biasness against dog owners.

This is just one of them

Anonymous said...

"Gender bias policies that paint men as sexually dangerous are also out there in the west"

I don't know if the anonymous commenter above is Singaporean or not, but I realize now that Singaporeans really like to compare things to the West. This happens in two ways.

1. "We are better than the West." Upon hearing of any criticism about human rights from a Westerner, Singaporeans often dismiss the criticism by saying that Singapore is safer than some Western countries, has no guns, etc., sidestepping the issue. Sometimes, comments to the effect that "ang mohs" shouldn't criticise anyone because their countries have a colonial past show up.

2. "We are no worse than the West."
Upon hearing of some bad policy, Singaporeans will try to find an equivalent bad policy in the West to justify it or explain it.

I doubt that many Singaporeans would ever say that Singapore is inferior (in any way) to some Western countries. Why are we, as a people, so defensive? Has so many years of nation-building schooling and national education made us too "patriotic"?

Glass Castle said...

Hi Alex, another interesting article, thanks.

I agree with you that both women and men can be predatory and assumptions to the contrary are false (although, for reasons that probably have to do with sexist socialisation - e.g. women are more likely to be "slut-shamed" whereas men are encouraged to express their sexuality more aggressively - most reports of sexual predation do show a preponderance of male perpetrators).

However, I don't think it's fair to say that people should "just get over it" with respect to others seeing their nude body (although I think these particular images look very far from being nude representations). It's one thing to say we shouldn't judge others for going nude: it's another to say we should not ourselves feel uncomfortable about how we are sometimes viewed. Isn't coming to understand and maintain our individual boundaries a part of sexual freedom? Moreover, the number of people who have been sexually abused in childhood or adulthood is not insignificant in most societies (in the UK for instance, it is estimated to be around 10-20%). People who have had negative sexual experiences are going to set and maintain different personal boundaries from (for example) someone who has only known positive sexual experiences. We should respect that.

Finally, I also agree that the maintenance laws are outdated. In the past, women were expected to service their husbands without any control over their own sexuality (hence marital rape immunity), and provide free labour in terms of childbirth, housework, childrearing, and probably tending to the husband's aged relatives as well, with no expectation that these burdens would be shared. The gender-specific maintenance laws attempted to humanely address part of the result of this situation (that never-employed and largely unemployable women would be exploited without any independence or recompense).

This is thankfully now somewhat outdated. It makes more sense for family law courts to take into account the contributions of each spouse in each marriage rather than applying a blanket gender-specific rule. I expect, though, that especially among the older generations, given that differences in gender norms with respect to the division of labour have not been entirely eradicated, as a practical matter this is likely to still lead to more men paying maintenance and alimony than women.

- Jolene (www.glass-castle.org)