“A humble word, to all my fellow men…”

It does seem that more of us are acknowledging that India needs to stop telling Indian women how to mould their lives to prevent rapes by ensuring they stay as invisible as possible. (For example, by not doing anything every other woman is not doing.)

We are also being more honest about how putting the responsibility of prevention of sexual crimes on the victims emboldens criminals, and prevents a real understanding of sexual crimes.

Unlike in the past, misogynists are finding it less easy to get away with Rape Culture promoting comments. We are hearing more voices that are trying to understand that It was not just the driver who raped her.

Sharing an email. I see this as a positive.

Hi IHM,

I got this link which resonates my thoughts and if everyone is with this same attitude violence against women will drastically come down. The script is in Tamil but there is english translation below so everyone could understand.
I feel this is the timely audio so only thought of sharing with you so that you could share with all others following you.
Regards,
Manasa

(English Translation by KM Ramki)

A humble word, to all my fellow men.

… I don’t know what’s there (to feel pride). You say we can grow a moustache… is that a superior quality?

… 

I want to speak as an ordinary man, about what we usually do, how it can create a better environment. That’s what this podcast is about.

We, men, say we are modern thinking, we are youth, etc. Though we praise ourselves so much, but it is deeply rooted belief even among us, that a woman has to cook for me, press my clothes, etc. Even if both of them work, go to sleep after 11.30 in the night, the woman is expected to wake up at 5 in the morning, make coffee, cook and then go to work…

We have impressed on them that it’s their way of living.

Do guys boldly say “I work at home, I cook at home, and I see no shame in it. She and I both work”?

If we go to a corporate space, and see four women smoking, what comments do we pass about those smoking women? If we see a girl in a pub at night, we know what comments we make about her. Isn’t it all quite shameful?

What’s so ‘manly’  or ‘womanly’ about these things?

We claim to be very modern. If a girl comes to the pub with us, she is good, but if she goes with others, she is bad?

Smoking or drinking is going to affect everyone’s body and health. If you take a stand, that smoking or drinking is wrong, whoever does it, there is some fairness to it. But you claim guys can do it, but women should not. If I point [the hypocrisy] out, you challenge me, that I don’t know Indian culture and mores.

It’s in this country with these vaunted culture and mores, that we are having all these rapes.

The most important thing is for us to reflect on what thoughts we hold about women. To this day, husbands tease their wives if they skip cooking one day.

There is this claim that all these are happening because women dress the way they do. What a shameful thought! A minister or some politician has said that we should ban skirts that schoolgirls wear. This is crazy. A three year old girl and a sixty year old grandmother have also been raped. Were they also dressed for rape?

This is not about the few rapists. This is about you and me. When we were young adults, how many times have we made jokes or passed comments based on the clothes women are wearing, or their physical parts?

We always say women are elegant, graceful and beautiful. I don’t know when these tags and adjectives are going to change. Are women nothing beyond these?

 

Who are we to be moral police, to decide how they can dress, and what their dress says about the sort of a character they are? You and I have no right to to blame them, or tag them…

 

People ask why that girl was in a bus at 10 pm. Why shouldn’t she be in a bus at that time? Who are we to ask that question?

They say things happened because that girl went to a pub at midnight. No, it did not happen because she went to a pub at midnight. It happened because your thoughts are perverted.

every woman is expected to fear and be submissive to a guy. It’s become the norm. If a guy does the chores at home, fears his wife, we make fun of him, and make him a comedy piece in our movies. What is wrong with that? What is shameful in that?

The other day, when I said this on Twitter, some guy replied, “Men should be men, women should be women. That will solve all the problems.” What does it mean, “women should be women”? Why should we define what women should be, how they should be? Who are we to do that?

When my son grows up, he will not have the thought that women are beneath him, that they should serve him, that only his mother should get him ready for school. I wash my son’s butt. I get him ready for school. I feed him. So, my son, when he grows up, won’t have such [discriminatory] thoughts, and I am responsible for that, as his father.

This is not preaching or advising. I cannot watch my TRP for everything. …

I wanted to talk to more people. Lots more men. Change is something that has to start with the individual, in every household.

Using the Internet, Twitter and Facebook alone does not make me a modern man. I become a real modern man …When I don’t define what their (women’s) role is …. And I have no shame in doing the chores, beginning with cleaning the toilet. After all, I am cleaning the toilet in MY house.

This is just what I think. It has not been scripted.

I wish you a happy new year.

This post is also available in: தமிழ் (Tamil)

19 thoughts on ““A humble word, to all my fellow men…”

  1. Awesome :-) Something positive after all the news articles blaming the girl for being out late, for not calling the rapists “brother”, blah blah blah
    I hope more men and women hear this voice and more and more people start think and speaking so.

    Like

  2. Balaji is my favourite RJ! My respect for him grew immensely on hearing this. His effort has been shared so many times on FB. A lot of men on my timeline shared it and tagged their guy friends who usually “ridicule” women!

    I am thinking aloud – If radio entertainment can create such awareness, the reach of visual media ( TV and movies) is much higher. I wish someone takes a lead to create specific efforts on this issue too! At least, stop showing extended camera shots of her navel, please!

    Like

    • Do watch the latest episode of We The People where Barkha Dutt asks if TV and films objectify women or “liberate” them.

      Yeah right. Bollywood’s version of “liberation” is having “Sheela” claim loudly that now that she is “jawaan”, come one, come all.

      Bollywood has an equally pernicuous effect on men’s thinking as does hard core XXX porn, in my opinion. Those item numbers are disgusting. They are the worst form of objectification, because they subtly claim that women LIKE any kind of male attention, no questions asked.

      Like

  3. Hats off to the letter writer. I am so moved by his words. He is absolutely right. Change begins at an individual level, in each household. And it needs to be practiced not just by men, but by women too. Too often I see women pulling down other women or trying to judging them based on preconceived notions of how a woman should be, and it’s just as shameful as men doing it.
    We absolutely need to discard outdated concepts that pass off as ‘Indian tradition’ – they do not have any place in today’s world.
    It is a father’s responsibility as much as a mother’s to ensure that they raise kids in a environment where both genders are treated fairly, respected, cared for and treated like human beings.

    Like

  4. I have been trying this ever since I was a teenager and was asked to “shun” down and live in fear and tolerating abusing and taking senseless orders and carry on unlogical rules of the society

    When we act as a human being with feelings, emotions, sensitiveness, responsibilities, accountablity, empathy we will behave like a woman and IF anybody tells us to behave otherwise – with fear and to put our head down and tolerate abusiveness should be confronted head on – I did and I was labeled as ” danger “.

    Over time I became subtle in my actors and it was more well received.

    I sport a very short hair – I was told to grow my hair so that I will look less intimidated for men

    We as women should project ourselves as human beings – that is all we are supposed to. Culture is about Do’s or Don’t – basically rules created by the powerful to keep others in place.

    Take care and wish you all the very best to behave like human beings – we were created to live like one – just another form – infact more beautiful and prettier.

    chow

    Like

  5. Pingback: Disgusted and Tired! « Sanjana says

  6. I’ve just been sitting crying reading another aricle in TOI today and wondering how I can carry on living here and then I read this. Thank you. I hope everyone reads this.

    Like

  7. Thanks Sir! I really respect you! I know of so many men who think they have broad outlook in life but unfortunately they are remotely close to that !

    Like

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