Little girls at the beach. Gili Air, WNT, Indonesia. 2010

As I walked past these little girls who were having such an unselfconscious blast in the water, I felt uplifted and glad to see people so blithely happy.


Then, I couldn’t help but feel a bit sad for them, knowing that when they get older, going to the beach won’t be such a simple and carefree affair because they live in a Moslem community. Before anyone thinks that I’m trying to start some kind of anti-Moslem rant, consider a strange man taking a photograph of little boys at play at the beach in the West and what kind of suspicions that would raise.

All around the world in so many societies, men are often seen as predators.

What I think that what so many people forget, is how many men have an instinctive need to protect. Years ago I remember being brought to tears whilst reading the paper about the “Port Arthur massacre”. The article recounted how some of the men who died that day, did so because they stepped in front of their loved ones to protect them from the gunman and took the bullets themselves.

So heroically selfless.

Yet this same heroic protective instinct causes some men to oppress others for what they think is for “their own good”.

9 thoughts on “Little girls at the beach. Gili Air, WNT, Indonesia. 2010”

  1. I just read about the Port Arthur massacre on your link. How did I miss that horror story? Probably, just too many massacres happening in the US of A.

    I was bit confused about your post….you are the last person to do an anti-Moslem rant btw so it is not that which confuses me.

    Since I only know one religion’s rules..Catholic…I’ll reference that…their “official” views on women rights, reproductive as well as their inability to be ordained does not come across as “protective” to me, but as pure old fashioned power politics: men get to make choices, not women. Biology is a woman’s destiny and though inferior to man’s destiny is sorta necessary so men want to control it.. and I think always will.

    I think the selfless protective instinct you speak about which women and men have encoded in their DNA is not the derivation of the changes those female swimmers in your picture shall know when they get older.

  2. It’s a strange link between male chivalry and oppression. And a complex subject I won’t wade into!

    However, even more universal across nearly all cultures is the loss of childlike joy shown by these two as children reach puberty and must deal with the mores of their culture. Looking at your picture, one can feel that happiness and shudder at the impending loss.

  3. Tasneem

    Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.
    Bye the way, I removed the link to the site about sporting heroes because I didn’t think it was relevant to this post.


    Once Moslem girls reach puberty their whole social life changes because the men in their families, who only want to protect them, become very controlling and start to limit what they can do. For instance, it would be an extremely rare occurrence for a local woman in the community where the photo was taken to go for a swim in what we would consider a “normal” swimming wear. Such attire would be perceived as immodest and would be interpreted as a sexual provocation. The men in the woman’s family, in an effort to “protect” her, wouldn’t allow her go to the beach and swim in such dangerous clothing.


    Sometimes I can’t help but think that the use of force as an option, only leads to harm in the long run. So many guys use force before they think about other options, because they can.

    The clouds were what gave me the thoughts of an impending storm of cultural kind.

  4. An interesting point you bring up, Razz. I don’t know if I would have considered the massive life switch that these girls will have to go through in a few years. On one level, I initially wanted to say something like, “Yah, but we all have a major life change when we hit puberty.” But on the other, I have to honestly admit here, I have a real issue with the repression that is exerted on women from the Moslem religion, or ANY culture for that matter. I’m an unabashed absolutist when it comes to that. To my mind, a person is a person regardless of gender, color or geography, and they deserve the right of self determination. Anything else is a form of violence. There. Got that out of the way…

    As for the male thing, I know what you mean about being automatically suspect, and it’s always pained me. Personally, I love kids. Always have. I love playing with them, showing them cool stuff and listening to them. It’s why I decided to become a teacher. I eventually left teaching however because of the ever present mistrust that clings to male teachers. I decided that it wasn’t worth it, and that is very, very sad. Thank God I have kids now. I can finally get to play again!


  5. Turkish

    The position of men in society is such a dichotomy. Protector and predator.

    I hear what you’re saying about an absolutionist attitude to culture etc, and I’d say that some of the oppression that is in some cultures comes from a need to protect. The whole protection thing is such a double edged sword. I’d also say that most people intend to do what they think is the right thing. Trouble is, that such needs to protect can also restrict and smother even if they are meant with the best of intentions.

  6. Ahh! The Gili Islands! I spent about 2 months on the backpacker paradise of Gili Trawangan in 1997. I went back in 1999 and they’d built a nice hotel there! … and filled it with non-backpackers with actual luggage … who wanted more upscale restaurants and other amenities!

    The Gili Islands were one of my favourite places in Indonesia.

  7. Tony

    It’s one of the things that I notice the more that I travel, the more people are the same. We’re not that much different to everyone else.


    Where haven’t you been?

    Trawangan has turned into a party island of non stop rave parties fueled by magic mushrooms. Talking about “actual luggage”, I had an experience with “those kind of people” on the way back, that I will write about soon. As you probably know, as soon as something is written about in the travel guides, the lemmings (including me) turn up and wreck it.

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