#MeToo…Wait, no. Let me check.
I check my phone to see a slew of Facebook posts with the hashtag #MeToo. While speaking to a friend about this, she casually remarks, “I want to share an experience too, but I don’t know which one to write about. I don’t want to describe something too graphic. It’ll make my male friends uncomfortable, and I know my family won’t like it.”
My friend faces two alternatives-
- Write an honest, uninhibited account of her worst experience, and risk causing some discomfort to friends and family.
- Choose a less severe instance and describe it in a non-accusatory tone, thereby keeping things on an even keel.
Naturally, I find myself evaluating my experiences, too.
Do instances of catcalling make the cut? No, those are too frequent; hence, trivial.
What about the men who follow me or try to stop my car while I’m driving? This is India. You shouldn’t be driving around at 2:00 AM. And these men were probably uneducated gundas; nothing like the men you know.
Uneducated gundas, right.
How about my ex-boss repeatedly asking me to flirt with clients to make them pay bills? Geez, are you seriously insinuating that your educated boss’s intentions could be so sinister? You’re being paranoid. Let that go already.
Alright, I shall.
Can I talk about the guys who get handsy at parties? They’re just being guys! And in their defense, we all do dumb things when we’re drunk. It’s not like you were groped, right?
I don’t know.
Does sliding a hand up my dress count? Umm…I guess. But, that stuff happens, especially when people have been drinking. It’s not like you were physically restrained or anything.
Physical restraint, got it!
How about that time my ex forced himself on me? It was because you were being a prude! Why did you have to be such a prude?
Sexual harassment is often a manifestation of gender discrimination, and in social settings, becomes a convoluted byproduct of gender, power, social acceptance, and fear. Normalising instances of sexual misconduct fuels predatory behaviour. Being dismissive about it can lead to graver results.
To every person out there who thinks women sharing the hashtag are simply vying for attention, I plead you to reconsider.