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March 2016 Featured Photographer of the Month

Eve Was Framed

Arka Dutta | India

The teachings of total dependency on Gods are incorporated from the very early stages of childhood. But they are more prone to make someone God-fearing rather than God-loving.

In my country, India, I have seen religious notions that have often ingrained a sense of powerlessness in the psyche of many women, especially to those without proper literacy and sometimes with conservative family backgrounds. In such cases women's cultural and social subordination is allegedly rooted to cultural myths and stories. This age old allegation and practice have almost resulted in the belief of women's inferiority to men and women’s acceptance of their own oppression. Even in the times of modernization, many women receive conflicting messages of newly forged opportunities restricted by religious law and economic insecurity. Because of this, women often feel failed by modernization and find a return to traditional religious shelters and keep following useless rituals. Though this scenario is mainly prevelant in rural areas, urban cities also have such pockets of incidents too.

In this series, based on the content, I have tried to depict such a journey of woman throughout her life from childhood till the time she is left at a widow shelter.

It is ironic that women are now welcomed into all major professions and other positions of authority, but are often branded as inferior and are deprived of the equal right in the name of God. The plight of abused women is made more acceptable by the mandated subservience of women by religion.

The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women. This is in clear violation not just of the universal declaration of human rights but also the teachings of founders of all great religions – all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. 

At their most repugnant, the belief that women are inferior human beings in the eyes of God gives excuses to the brutal husband who beats his wife, the soldier who rapes a woman, the employer who has a lower pay scale for women employees, or parents who decide to abort a female embryo. It also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair and equal access to education, health care, employment, and influence within their own communities.

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