So first things first. Why am I writing this? The reason is simple. I just see too many opinions on this floating around and some of them are so wrong at so many levels that it was important to clarify.
Q. Tanushree Dutta can do a bold scene with Emraan Hashmi but she has a problem with Nana?
A. This is one of the silliest argument against #MeToo so let us get this one out of the way first. So this is like telling Rajnikant Saar that you can kill hundreds of villains in your movies then why do you have a security around you. This is like telling Amrish Puri that you are a rapist because you raped so many women in the movies you acted in. Please differentiate between reel life and real life. Don’t give positive or negative points to any film actor because of their reel version. Just because Amitabh Bachchan acted in Pink does not make him a champion of women causes and just because Pran acted as the bad man in too many movies does not make him a villain. Acting in a movie is a profession just like I write software for living or do marketing for living. And another point on this topic, just because a women did a so called bold scene with an actor, does that mean that she is publicly available now for molestation. The answer is a clear no. Guys, just stop sharing those stupid posts and delete it if you have already done it.
Q. Why they did not complain before?
A. This one is a good question indeed. I do understand that it becomes tougher to prosecute somebody when a lot of time has passed but that does not mean that crimes stop being crimes. It is quite possible that some of these allegations might not stand the scrutiny of law but that does not mean that crimes stop being crimes. Look, the issue is that we need a social change. A change where we build an environment where women are not afraid to speak up. As a kid, I remember seeing a lot of movies where a villain will rape a woman and the woman will commit suicide. I always used to wonder why the woman commits suicide. The crime is committed by somebody else and the victim kills herself and some of this behaviour was not just limited to reel life. If we have the right social environment a victim will not be made to feel like a criminal. What we need is to build an environment and culture where women feel more open to talking about such issues. And seeing the trend, that is happening via #MeToo. If this culture continues, we will not have the issue of late reporting in a few years.
Q. Isn’t this done by old actresses for publicity now?
A. I am not saying that actors and actresses don’t do weird things for publicity. I am not even saying that some of them might be doing that. But painting everything with the same brush, that is not fair. It is as bad as calling all men as rapists. This is the problem with any mass movements. When we fought for independence from British, I am sure we killed some innocent Britishers but that does not make the entire movement illegitimate.
Q. What about Men?
A. Good question but the topic of this article is about sexual harassment against women, not men. Please don’t indulge in whataboutism to divert the issue.
Q. But in our culture we worship women?
A. Get real buddy. Just because you have Goddess worship in your religion does not make you friendly to women. Just look around and you will realize that most of the religions are so united in making sure that they discriminate against women. And even if you claim that your religion books give equal freedom to women, just look at the implementation of those books in our day to day life. I am sure you will find enough people in your religion who have twisted around things to suit a patriarchal society.
Q. Isn’t this a conspiracy by Congress against BJP or maybe vice versa?
A. This is another stupid one by people with strong political ideologies. I have even seen even a lot of women with rightist tendencies on social media demeaning this movement assuming it is to create a wave against their favourite politician. Can you please stop getting politics into everything. Politicians anyways do that at least you can stop. This is a social issue where men do not consider making unwanted sexual advances as a crime and women do not speak up at the right moment. There was life before 2014 and there will be life beyond 2019. Even if I buy your argument that this is triggered by Congress, this is the most creative work they would have done in a long long time.
Q. But he is such a nice guy. I met him and he sounded great.
A. This duplicity is a common phenomenon in sexual predators. Actually, they might not be behaving in the same way with everyone. The person might be a genius in his field but that does not mean that he is entitled to misbehave with women.
Q. Who are you to tell us about all this?
A. Actually nobody. I am neither a preacher nor a politician. Just a concerned ordinary citizen. But just stop shooting the messenger. let us discuss the message. And talking about women issues is not just a women’s job. These things will change only if men also speak up and realize this as an issue.
So dear men, just look around, talk to women around you and you will realize how big this problem is. I have a lot of women friends and I have seen these issues up close and personal. There are sexual predators in our homes, schools, colleges and our workplaces. There are men of high offices who repeat crimes again and again. These are not occasional offenders who could not control their hormones at some point. These are folks who think that they can get away with those crimes. And the reason they think that way is because our women don’t speak up when they should. We have a cultural process of bringing up subdued and domesticated women.
It is perfectly fine to be romantic, woo somebody and express love. But it is not fine to touch a woman in inappropriate places in inappropriate ways without her consent. Just imagine if somebody grabbed you by the balls in a public place without consent. Trust me that will be painful. Don’t push this under the carpet. Talk to the women close to you and find out if they have ever been harassed by anybody and I can assure you that you might be in for a surprise. Not talking about this problem is not going to solve it. If you think you have harassed a woman in some ways in the past, you at least owe a sorry. It might not heal the wounds completely but certainly, create a more understanding society.
Your elbow which protruded in a bus to hit a girl in an inappropriate place might have killed her desire to become an engineer or an artist. the comment you passed about a girl in a public place might have stopped her to step out of the house and achieve something bigger in life.
Is #MeToo going to solve all the problems, probably no. But if it creates an awareness in men to become more conscious of these issues and in women about speaking up, it will go a long way to create a better society.
Men, hope you will make the right choice for yourself, women around you and for our society.