When We Asked Feminist Men About #MeToo and Why we Needed it.
The social media hashtag #MeToo has taken over everyone’s timelines. It is a sad truth that all women have felt sexually harassed or exploited at some point of time in their lives. It is not a vague generalization to say that “you can’t be a woman and not have encountered a creep.” It is a sad fact. The time when someone might have told us to not take a rape joke seriously. The time when one almost lashed out at the sender of bawdy SMS, sexist Whatsapp messages. The time when one was groped walking down the street. The time when the boss got too touchy-feely.
We all have regretted not having had the courage to tell many off, the ones who were perpetrators, the ones who were complicit in their silence. So as #MeToo takes over our social media, we decided to ask the feminist men we know what they feel about #MeToo and why we needed it.
Harish Iyer, who is an Equal Rights Activist has a very important message, “I think it is important that we understand that the victims of patriarchy are also men and boys. #MeToo campaign is started by a woman for people of her gender. The campaign is not gender exclusive, but inclusive of all genders.
Rather than derailing the conversation we need to get on the bus and share our stories too. We could do that constructively, without making it an ‘us’ and ‘them’ campaign.”
The popular Stand-up Comic Sorabh Pant, who is well-known for talking about idiosyncratic Indian customs, says, “The campaign made me feel extremely depressed about the state of affairs. Unfortunately, I’ve known about these kind of stories for eons. You speak to every woman in India. And, I mean every woman in India – they’ve had some instance of either molestation, sexual or physical abuse and in far too many cases – rape. For people who think this campaign is hogwash: talk to women around you and let me know – let me know one woman who has not been through this. #MeToo is essentially everyone, sadly. ”
For people who think this campaign is hogwash: talk to women around you… – Sorabh Pant
“As for me, I do know that every woman I know has faced some form of harassment, including my wife, sister, nieces. I’m well aware of what they’ve gone through. Even as a teenager and later, I always sensed it if, I accidentally made a girl uncomfortable. I also remembered what it was so it would never happen again. But then I was brought up like that– very very few times, I will say though,” shares Ashwin Mushran, who is a popular stage, screen and voice-over artist.
Prasanto Roy, who is the VP & Head NASSCOM Internet, Mobile & E-com Council and a doting father of a 10-year-old girl, feels “#MeToo an important idea and campaign to articulate loud and clear the harassment all women are subjected to. One intuitively knows sexual harassment is widespread but it’s startling to see just how much. And how varied: Sources, ages of targets and perp… Many of the stories of child sexual harassment are jarring and heartbreaking. Especially for a father of a 10-year-old girl, and I’d imagine for everyone else too. So many things and people and situations to have to warn her about”.
One intuitively knows sexual harassment is widespread but it’s startling to see just how much. – Prasanto Roy
Meghnad S, the Political analyst says, “The outpouring of stories I saw in #MeToo made me realize how rampant harassment is in our society. I can say that I’m changing my views, that I will reform myself and try to get rid of the patriarchal mindset ingrained in me. But the truth is, even if I’m doing that, it won’t help any woman who was brave enough to share their stories so openly. Men like me who have consciously decided to become better people don’t deserve to be called ‘brave’ or get any ‘accolades’ for trying to be a better people. No man does because that is how decency works.
Being decent and respectful to women should be our default state of mind and behavior in society. It’s time to just shut up and listen to these women.
They are the ones who are brave, men aren’t. It’s time to feel horrified about the sexist toxic culture men are a part of. It’s time for us to actively (and quietly) change our brainless disrespectful behavior without expecting anything back.”
Nakul Shenoy, a Professional Magician and Communications Scientist, shares with us “We had always known from the ladies in our life about how they have to face one or more difficult situations, but this #MeToo campaign opens our eyes to reality and brings to bear how pathetic the situation is for all women. Shame on us as a society.”
People in the society are quite capable of raping you with their naked eyes, but I am glad the society is changing.
Anurag Chauhan, the Founder Humans for Humanity shares, “I wear Indian attire in a little different way with my own style. People on roads, clubs, at my college or any other public place for that matter check me out, ogle at me. Initially I felt uncomfortable if not embarrassed for sure, now it doesn’t bother me at all. I take pride in what I do and walk with my head held high. When things like this happen to me I share the feeling that of a woman who suffers this almost everyday for wearing a dress of her choice or even if she is completely covered for that matter. People in the society are quite capable of raping you with their naked eyes but I am glad the society is changing”.