I guess in the greater scheme of things, this is not a huge deal. Just sit sideways, right? But, excuse me?: “When you see a woman straddle, she looks like a man. But if she sits side-saddle, she looks like a woman,” Suaidi said.
Firstly, I do not want to touch on religion because I believe that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and practices (which can vary greatly even within the same religion). However, I don’t agree with imposing personal beliefs on an entire group of people, especially in a legalized and gendered way. It is just a tiny change, to ask women to sit side-saddle instead of straddling, but a message like that can easily be expanded to other situations; for example asking women to dress more ‘appropriately’ or to be educated in a different way for the sake of morality or what have you. I’m not saying that these changes in behaviour are necessarily bad, I’m just saying don’t make it a gendered thing. If all the women in this city agree that they should sit side-saddle, then fine, at least they had a voice in the policy’s creation. However, A statement like the one above by the mayor himself only belittles whatever argument they have for considering such a regulation. It shows how baseless and sexist the intentions actually are. Ideas like this can easily fester and promote different forms of inequality elsewhere.
The bottom line is this: actions supporting gender inequality, no matter how insignificant affects an entire society; it is not just the woman’s problem. It is proven in studies that societies which share higher levels of gender equality are more secure and at peace than societies with lower levels of gender equality. Gender equality is good for everyone peeps. Get wid it.