Many of you may not be knowing that popular Bollywood actress Vidya Balan recently spoke on the viral #MeToo campaign, regarding her experience of being stared at by a soldier during her college days https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mglQoWeKlc . When asked about sexual harassment under the #MeToo Campaign, she said that sexual abuse has always been happening. Vidya said, referring to an incident that when she was in college; she was once a victim of staring. Vidya said ‘When I was in college, an army jawan stood at VT station and was being seen on my side. He was constantly staring at my breasts and then he looked at me and I glared. There was a fire in my body with anger; I was tortured and said to him, “What are you staring at me like? Why did you see me seeing the eye? You are the youngest of our country. Your responsibility for the security of the country is yours and you are eyeing me. What is this slipperiness?”‘
While this behaviour on the part of the Army Jawan is perverted and despicable, what is worse is the reaction on social media; especially coming from men in a Facebook group called “The Indian Liberals” (of which I am a part of) , which is supposed to be a group of liberal free-thinkers.
Asit Misra, whom I used to respect for his politically liberal views; is a married man with 2 daughters – and yet openly admits to staring at women’s breasts and shamelessly justifies it saying “Breasts are meant for admiration. Why can’t I admire Vidya Balan’s”. What is worse is he mansplains by saying “But that doesn’t mean I’m not a feminist” . What the fuck – first of all you are a senior married man with daughters who look up to you, and you openly admit to ogling at random women’s breasts and justifying your heinous act; and then you have the gall to call yourself a feminist on top of your atrocious behaviour! I am really sorry for your daughters – I really fear for their future with a father like you who is a perfect example of rape culture.
Kamran Siddiqui shamelessly defends the rape culture by saying “It’s natural and proven that men can’t help it. Now some men do it gracefully” Just because males are attracted to females, that does not mean they can’t control themselves and respect the dignity of women! Hassan S Ali brazenly appreciates Asit for “being frank”. While Shivam Malhotra rightly calls Hassan out for such a callous statement, his own statement “Stare at them as much you want but why post it here like creeps” is equally problematic – he doesn’t say staring is wrong per se; only that publicly admitting it is wrong! Meanwhile, Pradipto Moitra diverts us all with an irrelevant video. Way to go for sensitivity!
Yogesh Kaushal acts as an apologist for the perverted misogynist OP Asit Misra. According to him, criticism of Asit’s casual perversion amounts to “insult”! Calling out Asit’s shameless and derogatory comments on women is like “jumping on him like a mob” ! He has the gall to ask people to apologize for asking Asit to behave decently towards women – for just basic decency!
The OP Asit Misra continues with his gems, calling her “a sissy whining crybaby” for merely speaking out about her body being violated, that too by an Army Jawan who is held in high respect by the whole country! Right. You are a sissy whining crybaby for complaining against sexual harassment, and then you get criticized for “not doing enough”, “not reacting on the spot” and all other cliches thrown about casually by the savarna liberal elite. You wonder then why rape culture will always prevail?
According to Asit, only Vidya Balan’s acting in ‘The Dirty Picture’ is equivalent to feminism. Complaining about sexual harassment is just hypocrisy! Wow, such garbage our men are! Saichand Nalnati calls ogling at women as a scientific and psychological issue, and thus justifies staring due to physical attraction as something that cannot be controlled! Wow, and many pseudo-studies show men to be more intelligent than women! Is this the intelligence? Also extremely noteworthy is the lack of women in this discussion. Payal Ghosh finally speaks up and I have to say she is being extremely kind. If I were in her place, I would have probably said “Men can eat shit” or something like that. Instead, she explains the nuances of behaviour with respect to men and women; especially how women also stare at men – but never make them uncomfortable; and the tunnel vision of men which causes them to be fixated on certain parts of the body.
Yogesh and Asit’s bullshitting continues unabated. Yogesh expects Vidya to “understand what was going through the mind of the soldier when he stared at her” Oh really? Women are supposed to understand that men cannot control their orgasms and are supposed to tolerate sexual harassment? This is seriously like justifying rape! He also calls it a “publicity stunt” Right. What women do is NOT called a publicity stunt? If a man does it, he must be right. If a woman does it, she is a whore looking for a publicity stunt. This is the mentality that has prevailed in India for thousands of years!
Saichand Nalnati agrees with Payal but still refuses to blame the Army Jawan for his abhorrent behaviour! Typical neutral, taking no sides and thus furthering the cause of the oppressor. Hassan S Ali stands by Asit like a true sycophant rape apologist. Asit is feeling the heat on being called out for his reprehensible comments, yet still shamelessly refuses to apologize; and what’s more – continues mansplaining defensively! “She should have fixed him right there with a sharp glance and a bit of tongue lashing” After first saying the soldier was not wrong in staring at Vidya, Asit then conveniently changes his narrative to that of the woman not reacting on the spot! Well Asit, FYI women in India are brought up to be submissive and are not expected to react aggressively when someone violates them – they just end up freezing!
Moreover, does Asit have any idea of what a woman is up against when it comes to sexual harassment? In case of dealing with any man, not just a fucking Army Jawan! The society is on the side of the men. They always believe women are “asking for it” by “wearing a loose dress”, “walking alone” etc. If a woman manages to react on the spot, who knows what it could lead to? If she is lucky not to be raped, she would then face stigma in the society for “going against norms” and “attacking the man”. She could lose her career. She could lose the support of her family. Anyway, coming back to Vidya Balan; it is clearly mentioned that she severely reprimanded the soldier, questioning him on his slipperiness. She questions him on the responsibility for the country which he is neglecting by instead staring at her.
Either Asit has not bothered to read and research the entire issue or he conveniently cherry picks facts to suit his agenda of bashing feminism. And boringly predictable victim blaming. Anyway, that is not the major issue. The issue is the appallingly casual support for the rape culture, and the condescending attitude towards women; by the savarna liberal elite. This discussion is becoming a bit long. I will continue further in Part 2. PLEASE READ AND SHARE!!