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Serious about ending rape in India? Don't feel smug that you are not a rapist. Rape culture arises from how society views the role of women
Blogger Arundhati Venkatesh describes herself as a kid-lit enthusiast, an observer of life and people, a feminist, a minimalist and a compulsive maker of lists! An engineer by degree, and an IT professional in her previous life, she is now an aspiring writer. Arundhati works for an NGO.
We’ve heard politicians tell us a woman who has been raped is better off dead. As if that wasn’t enough, we had a woman scientist say she shouldn’t have resisted rape. So effectively, women are being told what to do when being raped – ‘submit, don’t protest’ – and that life is not worth living after. And of course, we’ve always been told how to dress, talk, laugh (or not).
That’s not all. The reaction from the common man is telling. He condemns rape and expresses solidarity with women. He asks us to look at this as an isolated incident – “it is not ‘some men’, just these six rapists, no one else”. He tells us not to get “irrational”, to control our anger – “men are holding candles and protesting, men are angry too. So women, don’t get any angrier.” So now we have men getting defensive and telling us how angry we can get.
Yes, we are angry. We are angry because we see ourselves in her. It is not just one woman’s story. Or that of six men. We see how the politicians, the police, the judiciary, the media, the movie industry, the man on the street, the woman… all contribute to the drama that leads to this. Rape does not occur in a vacuum. To believe that would be fooling ourselves and absolving ourselves of all responsibility.
Separating rape from all other injustice against women really angers me – people occupying moral high ground because they wouldn’t rape anyone. Get off that pedestal you’ve put yourself on.
It’s not just those six criminals who are responsible. It is also those who walked away. And the police personnel. And the politicians who wait for the noise to die down. And it is not just this one rape, but every single rape.
And it is not just rape. It is every act of abuse. It is every disrespectful and stereotypical statement uttered. It is every opinion and judgment – even those left unsaid.
We are all aiders and abettors, or have been at some point. Let’s accept it and do something about it at least now.
People, please stop telling women what to do. Think about what you (men and women) need to do.
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
Darlings makes some excellent points about domestic violence . For such a movie to not follow through with a resolution that won't be problematic, is disappointing.
I watched Darlings last weekend, staying on top of its release on Netflix. It was a long-awaited respite from the recent flicks. I wanted badly to jump into its praise and will praise it, for something has to be said for the powerhouse performances it is packed with. But I will not be able to in a way that I really had wanted to.
I wanted to say that this is a must-watch on domestic violence that I stand behind and a needed and nuanced social portrayal. But unfortunately, I can’t. For I found Darlings to be deeply problematic when it comes to the portrayal of domestic violence and how that should be dealt with.
Before we rush to the ‘you must be having a problem because a man was hit’ or ‘much worse happens to women’ conclusions, that is not what my issue is. I have seen the praises and criticisms, and the criticisms of criticisms. I know, from having had close associations with non-profits and activists who fight domestic violence not just in India but globally, that much worse happens to women. I have written a book with case studies and statistics on that. Neither do I have any moral qualms around violence getting tackled with violence (that will be another post some day).