This article was originally posted in Wabi Sabi of Life
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear of unrelated man and woman travelling together for an overnight trip. Without thinking twice, most people will slut-shame the woman. Even the man is not spared, but would still be treated leniently.
What do people think
Even in 21st century, there are societies where this is considered a taboo. Its interesting to observe people’s reactions. The first concern of parents is the society. The extended family will start looking at you differently and discussing you discreetly. But the most interesting specie is the friends and their reactions. Their first question is, ‘so how was it… did you have fun’? They go straight to the physicality aspect of the trip. However much you try telling them that it was platonic, they continue probing in different ways. And if you tell them that you told at home about the trip, they look at you with a renewed respect. Even though different people react differently, the central thought in their minds for the girl still is that she is a slut. And whatever you say, the thought doesn’t go away in most cases.
For the uninitiated, slut is a derogatory term. It is used for women and means that a woman has many casual sexual partners and is of loose character. Another meaning, which is not much relevant today is a woman with low standards of cleanliness. Whatever the definition one takes, the word is derogatory all the way.
Travelers at crossroads
In the process of slut-shaming, an important point is missed. In this day and age of extensive travels, the lines between travel partners are diluting. The age and gender are of least concern. What matters is the compatibility, similar travel interests and how comfortable the two people are in each other’s company. Its not always about the physical aspect.
Life sometimes brings us to such crossroads where we have to weigh options of experience and reputation, read character. And the good thing is that despite people’s reaction, more and more people are tilting towards experience. The youth of today is more aware of themselves, their surroundings, their limitations as well as what they want from life. And as thinking adults, they are taking control of their lives. And travel is an integral part of today’s youth’s life. The exposure and awareness of the global village they are living in today is important for their career growth as well.
Therefore, the biggest question for them today is whether to stay at home or look for company of people of same gender for travel, travel solo or take up the opportunity of experiencing something new irrespective of the gender. Some people continue to stay at home waiting for right opportunity. But most people are taking up travel in whichever way possible. They believe in travelling solo or with like-minded people and be comfortable rather than same-gender but not enjoying.
Diluting gender lines between travel companions
Also, with co-ed schooling becoming more popular, boys and girls learn to be comfortable in each other’s company from childhood. They are sensitised to the needs of other gender from early on. They also learn to be friends at a platonic level.
Also, with more and more women becoming independent, emotionally and financially, and travelling solo, they no longer need a guy to protect them. And so, it’s not unusual for them to travel with their male friends as co-travellers.
In fact, people travelling in mixed groups or two people of different genders travelling together tend to enjoy more as they get to experience the best of both worlds. And exploring the new places and learning about new cultures is more important for them than travel so far to have sex with their travel partner. After all it’s a lot of financial investment if two people are travelling primarily for physical proximity and lots at stake too. The youth of today is smarter than that. They know their priorities well and keep to that.
While this article is primarily talks about travel and road trip, the same rules can be applied to every aspect of life. The perceptions are changing. In the competitive world of today, its only fair to keep up with times or else one can become extinct soon.
So happy co-existing rather than becoming extinct!