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Almost every woman has faced some kind of sexual harassment or abuse in her life. Doesn't that make #NotAllMen kind of pointless?
Almost every woman has faced some kind of sexual harassment or abuse in her life. Doesn’t that make #NotAllMen kind of pointless?
Aren’t we all familiar with this hashtag? Every time a crime against women gains a slot on a news channel or trends on social media, the first reaction we see in the comments is men putting up #notallmen.
As a feminist and a woman, I find this extremely annoying. This is an open letter to all those men who are constantly pushing this propaganda forward.
First things first, yes, we KNOW #notallmen. We have all had the privilege of knowing a few good men. And we know good men exist, you don’t really have to shout it every time there’s a discussion about women’s safety.
Every time you shout #notallmen, you seem to be saying, ‘Not all men are bad. Don’t drag us, good men, into this discussion because the men who are to be blamed are a bunch of uneducated perverts. And don’t judge all the men by the work of a few sexually deviant and vile men.’
Is that what you’re trying to say?
If so, let’s do a social experiment. Go to any woman you’re close to – your mother, sister, daughter, colleague, friend, girlfriend, wife, or cousin. Ask her if she has been sexually harassed at some point of time in life. From catcalling to being slut-shamed to being groped in public places to hearing sexual language or jokes at work. Ask them about any major or minor event they remember.
I bet every single one of them will have a story to tell, most probably more than one story each. So according to your #notallmen theory all these women, all across the country, are harassed by that small bunch of sexually deviant men that you aren’t a part of?
Well then, they are doing a pretty good job of covering so many places in very little time. They’re like a weird version of Santa Claus.
Doesn’t this scenario seem (at least) a little improbable to you? Isn’t it probably time to admit that we need to educate men with things like consent, individuality and gender equality?
Maybe the hashtag could be #NotAFewMen? Or rather than putting up these hashtags, we could have proper sex education for everyone.
Then, maybe, one day in the future, our daughters will be able to step out of their houses without worrying about what they’re wearing. Maybe, then, they would be able to enjoy a night out with their friends, their purses light, without the pepper spray.
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Ranjhanaa
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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).