Barkha Dutt’s Open Letter To Senior Women Journalists Asks About Lack Of Empathy For #MeToo

Posted: October 24, 2018

Senior women journalists like Tavleen Singh, Seema Mustafa, and Manjeet Kripalani are questioning the women who speak up in the #MeToo movement. Barkha Dutt asks them why, in an open letter.

The #metoo wave which has engulfed our country will not abate anytime soon, as more and more women are coming forward with their own stories. Some allegations are against the most influential names, who were in powerful positions but were forced to step down due to public outcry.

However, just like any movement where there is a strong support for all women who have decided to speak up about what they went through, there are those who question its authenticity. Surprisingly enough, respected women journalists such as Tavleen Singh, Seema Mustafa and Manjeet Kripalani are among them. Tavleen and Manjeet have in fact, stood in favour of MJ Akbar on their social media platforms.




Why aren’t they supportive to other women?

Journalist Barkha Dutt decided to send an open letter to these ladies, asking them, why they have such a misogynistic reaction to this situation.

She asks in a polite tone that they had once fought for the rights of women, but today they are not backing the biggest battle against harassment and subjugation. How can they refuse to make men accountable for their actions, and instead are once again putting the blame on women? These ladies have asked – why did she not speak up earlier?

The answer to the question is – it is not always as simple as that. In a lot of these cases, the women were in a vulnerable state. They were juniors, interns, applicants, struggling actresses or simply scared to raise their voice. They feared for their jobs, reputations, careers, and in some cases even their personal safety. If you read the stories, most women even then had stood up against harassment and voiced their opinion, but no one believed them or heard them out. It was labeled as a publicity stunt and dismissed. For eg. Tanushree Dutta.

However, as one woman spoke up against what she had endured, the others who had also suffered at the hands of the same predator decided to raise their voice as well, and hence the movement started.

Calling it a smear campaign?

A lot of men have claimed that this movement is being misused as a smear campaign to malign their name. The question is why women who have not known each other before, have no connection whatsoever, suddenly decide to get together and tear down the reputation of a random man.

Tavleen has responded to this letter by saying that her generations of women were fighters and not victims, as those in the #metoo movement are claiming to be. Another comment by her was that the movement right now is only powered by urban and elite women. Those who are truly vulnerable and in the lowest strata of the society are still not speaking up.

Missing the wood for the trees

It does not matter who is speaking up as long as someone is.

The movement is trying to bring about a change in the mindset of the society. It has already toppled some empires and shaken the power dynamics across industries. Let us not allow the momentum to die down, the fire to burn out, and the anger to simmer down. Let us ensure that the movement once and for all ensures that women can start to leave their house and go in the outside world without fear and with their head held high.

Image source: YouTube

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