The Dalai Lama has been hit by a maelstrom of offense. Over the weekend The Dalai Lama told The Sunday Times, a UK newspaper, that he may be reincarnated as “a mischievous blonde woman with a very attractive face, or nobody may pay much attention.”
As is typical, media outlets have taken it upon themselves to intentionally misinterpret this quote. Numerous websites, magazines and papers have taken it upon themselves to label the Dalai Lama as a sexist man who has an ignorant view of women. They’re taking the Dalai Lama’s words and twisting them, saying that “The Dalai Lama believes no one should pay attention to a woman unless she’s attractive”.
But is that really what the Dalai Lama said? Is he truly sexist? Or (just perhaps…) are media outlets simply not able to interpret a very simple sentence? Let’s take a look.
So here is what the Dalai Lama said, broken down.
I may be reincarnated as a blonde woman…
Uh-huh, nothing sexist here. In fact he’s so far saying that he wouldn’t mind if he were a woman. That’s not really something a sexist would say, is it? Buddhists believe that the honour of Dalai Lama is past down by reincarnation. So here the Dalai Lama is actually saying that the next Dalai Lama, the next eminence in the Buddhist faith, could be a woman. Clearly that, at least, is pro-women.
A mischievous blonde woman with a very attractive face…
This is the part that those media outlets are focusing on. It is a little strange, granted. But he still hasn’t actually said anything against women. So far he’s simply said that he could potentially be reincarnated as a mischievous blonde woman with a pretty face. That’s not making a statement about women in general, and thereby cannot be considered sexist.
Or no one will pay much attention…
This is the real crux of the matter.
Anyone with an objective mind will rightly interpret this. It’s linguistically and logically apparent that the Dalai Lama is commenting on how wrong it is that “no one pays much attention to a woman unless she’s good looking”. That’s a comment on society. He’s saying precisely the same thing as those feminists who say “Society doesn’t pay attention to women unless they’re good looking”.
So according to the press…
If a woman says “Society ignores women unless they’re good looking” then she’s a feminist.
But if the Dalai Lama says “Society ignores women unless they’re good looking” then he’s sexist.
The press has intentionally decided to misinterpret the Dalai Lama in order to attack him.
So let’s just put this to rest. The Dalai Lama himself very famously said…
The Dalai Lama calls himself a feminist. He has been fighting for women’s rights for years.
There’s a quote that even the press cannot muddy. The Dalai Lama is a feminist.