This morning I watched a mob on my TV screen chase and corner a leopard and then attack the big cat. At the same time, I read about the mass molestation in Bangalore. I was sick to my stomach. I can't begin to imagine what the women who were harassed are going through. This is the third time I'm hearing about a mass molestation in India.
Earlier, it happened twice in Mumbai - on the occasion of New Year's Eve. The horrifying practice of Taharrush Jamai, an Arabic "game" involving mass sexual assault of women, comes to mind. To me, all such incidents seem similar.
And yet, for some, the response to what happened in Bangalore has been to bring back the #NotAllMen chatter on Twitter! This hashtag has been used many times internationally to kill the dialogue on feminism. Someone say something about men cheating? Well, not all men. Someone say something about gender violence? Well, not all men. And in between, an army of those who just start or end their tweet with the hashtag because it's trending - they want to slip in their two-pence worth, which is actually not even worth that much. That is how you sound "cool".
|It is ingrained in your psyche - such that you do not even notice it.|
It is shameful. Why are people responding to such a serious, dangerous incident with frivolity and making a silly hashtag trend by using it in the most absurd way?
#NotAllMen were involved in Bengaluru molestation— Navinkumar (@anavinkumar) January 3, 2017
NotAllMen Cheat other girls #NotAllMen— Navinkumar (@anavinkumar) January 3, 2017
#NotAllMen have problem with women displaying cleavages in public, only guys with poor imagination does.— वि वेक™ (@vivoutHARD) January 3, 2017
So basically guys in #bangalore were so drunk on #NYE that they mistook #bangalore for #bangkok. #NotAllMen— Prateek Mukherjee (@PrateekTweets_U) January 3, 2017
After the Bengaluru new year incident, its definite that #NotAllMen are same. Many are monstrous and gruesome.— Anuja. (@anuja80979929) January 3, 2017
And if you are one of those men who really think it's important to clarify that not all men are molesters, please walk up to your sister or mother or friend who got molested that night in Bangalore and tell them, #NotAllMen. You either don't care at all because you are not affected by the incident or feel complicit. Hence the need to justify that all men are bad/ molesters/ sexist, et al.
The dog that barks the loudest is often the smallest, it is said. If you are certain you are right, then why the need to defend yourself with such (childish) fervour? Let's make it clear: this applies to both the men and women using this hashtag.
I can't help but wonder, as many other women have rightly pointed out, why one doesn't stop and ask oneself why nearly every woman has been sexually offended or molested in one way or another irrespective of her age, outfit or behaviour, et al.
We've got used to being too careful and too afraid - to living a lesser life than men and yes, men should be ashamed of it because somewhere, some day nearly each one of you has thought of and exhibited misogyny - by discussing a woman's legs, her breasts, her hips or other aspects of her body.
It is ingrained in your psyche - such that you do not even notice it. Despite this, if you want to #notallmen this, be my guest. The hashtag has become pointless now. There is just white noise.
What is even more sad is how less men think of themselves. This self-congratulatory moral high ground will do nothing to change the lives of the women who associate with you. You didn't grope someone at the Metro station or whistle at a woman at the bus stand. Why, that's just great contribution to real change!
Are you doing anything to push yourself out of your comfort zone? Anything that's causing an existential crisis in you? Are you changing the very manner in which you think, behave and live? If not, then nothing is what you've done and there is nothing to boast about. Please expect more from yourself. We do. We think men are worth more than this.
It would have been great to see men expressing their solidarity with the women who were harassed and making the hashtag trend. Instead, we chose to litter social media with nonsensical tweets.