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I just unfriended (I continue to wince when I use that word, but I guess there really is no other word, given that is exactly what I did) a guy on Facebook yesterday.
He wasn’t exactly a bosom buddy. More the kind that you exchange the odd ‘Hello’ and ‘What a hot/rainy/cold day’ with sort of person. He worked on one of the editorial desks of the TV channel I used to work for. Long after I quit as a TV reporter, the age of Facebook dawned and he squirmed into my peripheral mind space by sending me a ‘friend’ request.
While I accepted the invite to be one of the faces in his friends list, I never really paid a lot of attention to his occasional updates that ranged from status updates flicked from Paulo Coelho’s books to his photographs with him and sometimes his friends standing in front of cars, random monuments or even just blank walls.
And then yesterday as I idly scrawled down my news feed littered with people sharing this, that and the other, I happened to read his status.
‘How do you confuse a woman? You don’t. They are born that way.’
Now I’ve seen worse status messages before – downright degrading and insulting ones. I could have chosen to ignore this one, maybe even hidden it from my news feed and gone on with my day. But I don’t know what it was that possessed me, that I clicked on and unfriended him.
I did feel better after that. But then would that simple act even make a difference? I mean, it wasn’t like he was going to get a notification stating that he was no longer on my list of friends. And we were never close enough to have commented on or even ‘liked’ each others posts, so it wasn’t like he would miss seeing me on his wall.
Now in the clear light of day, I wonder whether I should have sent him a message first. Or maybe commented on the post, pointing out why he was being a sexist (insert expletive here). Would it have made a difference? Or would he have just told me to take a ‘chill pill’ and gone on and posted his next sexist status?
I’ve written before about sweating the small stuff and about how we shouldn’t let even the slightest sexist remark slide. So was unfriending him taking the easy way out?
Yes, I wouldn’t have to suffer through his random flow of posts anymore, but had I just missed out on an opportunity to stand up and say ‘STOP’?
The internal debate continues.
So do you think that I should go ahead and send him a mail or just move on and wait for that next sexist post by someone else? For surely, there will be a next one.
What would you do?
Shweta Ganesh Kumar is a Novelist, Award-winning Blogger and Founder-Editor of The Times
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