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Me Too Campaign in India

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Niharika Bhatia, VSPW – Batch 2019

When I first think if the #MeToo movement I am incessantly reminded of the One Billion Rising Movement that started in 2012. A movement to fight against domestic violence against women across the world. While the problems of violence be it domestic or sexual persist, what really stirs up my emotions is the unanimity of thought against physical and mental abuse more often than ever before. Women are less afraid to voice their opinions and have a common purpose to make day to day lives safer, working environments friendlier and a safe space where women can express their opinions. While many people have extended support to all these women who have voiced their opinion, in a patriarchal society as ours, resentment from some was inevitable. Can we limit this movement only to women though? I do not think so, men may be at an equal risk of being violated, however, the events of the past and the large statistical numbers of crimes against women have often gravitated our attention towards women first. With the new age technology and the discerning nature of human beings we are more aware of our surroundings, we think outside our deep-rooted stigmas (or at least try to) and make more rational decisions.

We often confuse politeness with flirting these days, or even worse sexual harassment with just harmless flirting. The problem is that people do not really know when to stop! It must be consensual, and the opposite party should willingly reciprocate to your actions. The stereotypes and the misrepresentation of No meaning Yes through cinema, through the moral policing adults who have often asked women to be less expressive to preserve their character often leaves us with a thought; Does No Mean No? Especially in a convoluted society as ours where a No is an implicitly said Yes, While the accusations against some renowned personalities were conveniently ignored and the “timing” of the women coming out was questioned by a few, it brings us to two fundamental questions, first why is it that women take so much time in opening against acts of violence against them. And Secondly, is this an elitist movement or a movement for the masses? To answer the first question,

From early childhood, girls are taught that their well-being and ultimate success are contingent upon acting in certain stereotypical ways, such as being polite, soft-spoken, compliant, and relationship oriented. Throughout their lifetimes, this is reinforced through media, family, and social messages. It’s not that women consciously act in self-sabotaging ways; they simply act in ways consistent with their learning experiences important, believe that the mistakes impeding them from reaching their career goals or potential or simply voice their opinions freely. Women are simply acting in ways consistent with their socialization or in response to cultural expectations.

Beyond girlhood, no one ever tells them that acting differently is an option-and, so they don’t. Whether it’s because they are explicitly discouraged from doing so, because social messages inform their behavior, or because they are unaware of the alternatives, they often fail to develop a repertoire of woman-appropriate behaviors. Even women who proclaim to have gotten “the right” messages ' in childhood from parents who encouraged them to achieve their full potential by becoming anything they want to be find that when they enter the real world, all bets are off. This is particularly true for many African American women who grew up with strong mothers Whether by example or encouragement, if a woman exhibits confidence and courage on a par with a man, she is often accused of being that dreaded “b-word. Attempts to act counter to social stereotypes are frequently met with ridicule, disapproval, and scorn.



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