These recent shameful comments of Malayali Actor Mamta Mohandas illustrate how deeply we women have bought into patriarchal norms of women ‘provoking’ men into assaulting them.
Ladies, it is so important to stand up for ourselves and support each other in today’s world. I cannot emphasise this enough.
It’s bad enough we have to defend ourselves against society’s misogyny, the last thing we need is to put each other down when we need help.
Which is why Mamta Mohandas’s comments in a recent interview, are a shame, especially set against the case of the female actor who was sexually assaulted, allegedly at the behest of Actor Dileep.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Times, Mohandas says, “(…) but if a woman gets into trouble, I feel somewhere she is responsible for it. Because if I have gotten into any sort of trouble where I have felt someone has spoken to me with disrespect or in this situation, a sexual assault or a sexual abuse or anything indicative towards that manner, I feel I would have entertained some part of it.”
Now, this little nugget right here is a classic example of what is known as ‘victim blaming’.
When you do this, you are ridding the accused/assaulter of the blame they deserve. You are telling them that, “Hey, it’s okay. You were so clearly provoked. She’s at fault too.”
This coming from a woman – an opinion leader, nonetheless – is problematic because no one would understand our trials and tribulations better than ourselves. Why are women standing up against men staring? Why are women standing up against the wage gap? Why are women standing up against rapes/assaults/domestic violence? Because no one else is going to fight for us. And when we ride the bandwagon of victim blaming, we are making it okay for others to do the same.
Mohandas also went on to say, “I don’t understand the need for a body comprising just women.” when she was asked about the WCC. The WCC stands for the Women in Cinema Collective and has been a strong voice in the case mentioned above.
Here’s why it is important to have a body comprising just women. Most of the authorities and groups controlling the various industries of the world (here: entertainment) consist of men. You cannot expect a group of men to understand the problems of women and neither will they give women a chance to rise to their level. This again boils down to women protecting women. In fact, they will close ranks to protect their own, as the AMMA or main association of Malayalam cinema has already done.
Women cannot fight the venomous patriarchy that infringes our lives while putting down other women. We must stand up for our fellow women and ourselves. We’ve waited long enough for the rest of the society to set things right for us, it’s about time we fight against them. Together.
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