Avoiding Scandal: The Case for Gender Segregation in Society

There is a wave of incrimination in the United States against powerful men in politics and the entertainment industry and who are being publicly accused in very large numbers of being raped and molested.

But then something that no one could have predicted happened. It was a pre-Twitter, pre-internet, highly analog version of #MeToo. To the surprise of millions of men, the nation turned out to be full of women—of all political stripes and socioeconomic backgrounds—who’d had to put up with Hell at work. Mothers, sisters, aunts, girlfriends, wives—millions of women shared the experience of having to wait tables, draw blood, argue cases, make sales, all while fending off the groping, the joking, the sexual pressuring, and the threatening of male bosses. They were liberal and conservative; white collar and pink collar; black and white and Hispanic and Asian. Their common experience was not political, economic, or racial. Their common experience was female.

Caitlin Flanagan, “Bill Clinton: A Reckoning”, 13 Nov. 2017, The Atlantic, 14 Nov. 2017 <https://www.theatlantic.com/. . .>

The question here is that if a nation full of women have to “put up with Hell at work”–“millions of women”, no less, with “the groping, the joking, the sexual pressuring, and the threatening of male bosses”–then why not accept that this is what men tend to do with women when they are around them and restructure society accordingly? Why not take women out of the work force, like they once were in the Western countries?

If you ask such people why not keep women out of the work force, the immediate answer they will give is that a just society must allow for all, including women, to achieve for themselves their ambitions in the form of career, economic development, scholarship, artistic merit, and political success.

However, none of these are the ultimate goals of human life, but to suppose they are is cheating. Therefore the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.2) says, dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo ’tra, that cheating religion is concerned primarily with dharma, artha, kāmā and mokṣa, or religiosity, economic development, sense-gratification, and liberation from the previous engagements. But all this is considered cheating because, fundamentally, those who make these the goal of their lives, whether they are Hindu or Christian, are doing so for their own sake rather than for the sake of God.

Such endeavors are necessarily selfish by nature because such people put themselves, not God, as the ultimate objective of their religiosity. Why according to this idea is someone religious? So he can prosper, gain wealth or fame, and then have enough of the “good things in life” to keep himself happy. And then when he sees that this is frustrating, he tries to give it up, or “renounce” it all. He wants to be “saved” by God or a son of God like Jesus. The same is true of Hindus, Mohammedans, and Buddhists, who try to solve their problems by the final dissolution of the self.

The fact is that almost everyone thinks like this. They pray to God when they or their family members are in trouble. They pray to God for prosperity or to do well in school. They even pray for world peace. But because gratifying the self, whether personally or extensions of ones self (family, nation, race, species), not God, is the ultimate objective, religion is used not for the sake of satisfying God but for the sake of fulfilling one’s own purposes.

Hence, this type of religion is a cheating religion. It purports to be for God when the objective is self-evidently something else–MY self, MY family, MY country, MY species. None of these are God, yet people are anxious to be known as religious people despite being wholly dedicated to something other than the official objective of their veneration.

Such people do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. And Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His Bhagavad-gītā, describes them thusly:

pravṛttiṁ ca nivṛttiṁ ca janā na vidur āsurāḥ |
na śaucaṁ nāpi cācāro na satyaṁ teṣu vidyate ||16.7||

Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper behavior nor truth is found in them.

In his purport to this verse, Śrīla Prabhupāda comments specifically about the condition of women in the Western countries, where he says,

As for behavior, there are many rules and regulations guiding human behavior, such as the Manu-saṁhitā, which is the law of the human race. Even up to today, those who are Hindu follow the Manu-saṁhitā. Laws of inheritance and other legalities are derived from this book. Now, in the Manu-saṁhitā it is clearly stated that a woman should not be given freedom. That does not mean that women are to be kept as slaves, but they are like children. Children are not given freedom, but that does not mean that they are kept as slaves. The demons have now neglected such injunctions, and they think that women should be given as much freedom as men. However, this has not improved the social condition of the world. Actually, a woman should be given protection at every stage of life. She should be given protection by the father in her younger days, by the husband in her youth, and by the grownup sons in her old age. This is proper social behavior according to the Manu-saṁhitā. But modern education has artificially devised a puffed-up concept of womanly life, and therefore marriage is practically now an imagination in human society. The social condition of women is thus not very good now, although those who are married are in a better condition than those who are proclaiming their so-called freedom. The demons, therefore, do not accept any instruction which is good for society, and because they do not follow the experience of great sages and the rules and regulations laid down by the sages, the social condition of the demoniac people is very miserable.

The men and women who are decrying the molestation of women in workplace on a large scale are suffering because they neglect the orders of the Lord. At one time, even the Western countries used to observe this separation of the sexes and also kept their women very carefully out of harms way and from corruption in society at large. They followed these rules when they were still a Christian people. But because they have discarded such rules as old fashioned and have acted against the orders of the Lord, they must now suffer.

Thus, the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has been started in the Western countries in order to remind people of what they have forgotten and to preserve that which is truly good in the eyes of the Lord.

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