“One of the so-called best professor of my department … advices his students (girls) that men can be satisfied only by two things…”

“I am totally boiling inside and many times I have raised my opinion and he always puts me down by mocking me.”

Sharing an email.

Dear IHM

Here is a drama I face in college..

I have joined PG in a private engineering college in Chennai. One of the so-called best professor of my department is such a male-chauvinist. He advices his students (girls) that men can be satisfied only by two things – ‘hot cooked food’ and sex (of course he din say this aloud, because mouthing the word ‘sex’ in a class that too by a good professor is a punishable crime!)

More astonishing is that, his stupid students (my classmates) are justifying his talk.

Few things he said in class:

1. Men should never enter kitchen. He has ‘other’ works to do!
2. Men only should take decision in his house. Wife is not allowed to suggest. Because men are created by god such that he takes only a correct decision every time.
3. Men should not take care of kids, as only women are programmed to do that ‘properly’
4. Modern girls are spoiling human species.
5. Children are a sole purpose for women to live her life
6. Woman should ‘take care’ of her husband.
7. Wife’s parents should be kept away from meeting, talking to her!
8. Women are programmed by god to cook, clean, etc properly.
9. Modern women are not respecting man.

And the list goes on..

And my class girls are telling, few points are not good like men should never enter kitchen. They can altleast help some time. Not every time but once in a while..

I am totally boiling inside and many times I have raised my opinion about it and he always puts me down by mocking me. I just want to bury my head when he or my classmates talks about gender issues. I am so irritated and frustrated..

What should I do about this?

My wisdom says, ‘just turn a deaf ear to them’

Help me please..

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102 thoughts on ““One of the so-called best professor of my department … advices his students (girls) that men can be satisfied only by two things…”

  1. Confronting such deep rooted prejudices in the so called educated is even more difficult than with the illiterate and the unlettered. I would suggest for the time being just turn a deaf ear, confrontation is not always the only solution. Begin small discussions in your own group of friends and if some day soon you are a teacher or a senior try to initiate healthy discussions and actions by your group regarding gender equality.

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    • In this case, I think turning a deaf ear may make the situation worse though. Direct confrontation may not be useful, but taking some action would be best I think, if this can be done without putting the LW’s education at stake.

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      • I agree, turning a deaf ear to them would probably make them think they ‘won’. At the same time, angry retaliation will also result in you being put down mockingly. I would suggest appearing cool, calm and collected, even vaguely amused when such things pop up in class. Talk only in acid sarcasm. Subtle sarcasm would be lost on them. That somehow manages to achieve so much more, specially among these types of people who are immune to basic logic and intelligent conversation. Be polite to the point of ridiculousness while being sarcastic. That way, no one can ever claim you’re being rude or disrespectful in class. Plus, it can be highly enjoyable😉

        I’ve seen this action by my father (who’s normally never a sarcastic person) in a very similar situations with my grandmother. He would never want to be rude to her, but still managed to get his point across very very effectively indeed. As a result, by now, no one in my family dares to say such stuff when he’s around, even though he’s the youngest among 7 siblings (you can imagine how much mocking and putting down that normally entails in a typical Indian family).

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      • Knowing how the power structure works in India, complaining/not turning a deaf ear will probably bring about little action against the prof. and more against the LW. Sad but true. If you do go ahead and complain though LW, be prepared to stand your ground and bear thru the shitstorm. If this is not hurting you any other way other than soiling your eardrums I’d say it ignore it for now.

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  2. You’ve already done the best you can by raising your voice against such issues. I would advise you to maybe take your concerns to higher members of the faculty. Explain your side of the situation, and tell them that you come to their university to learn, not to listen to your professor’s personal opinions about how students should live their lives. See if you can get some campus programs involved–surely there must be some club or something like that that champions women’s rights? Ask them for help.

    Remember that you are a student at their university. You are paying them to educate you. You are not obligated to be there and learn from that institution, but you are anyway. You have every right to step up and demand a better education from the faculty. At the very least, demand that professors keep their personal opinions personal. They are free to believe as they wish, but they are definitely not free to proselytize, especially not to people who are paying them for an actual engineering education, not a sermon from a fake babu.

    I’m not sure how things work in India, but I’m pretty sure that if any of my professors started spewing trash like this, the five girls in my class would make sure he got removed from teaching that particular course, and penalized for his actions. I don’t know how seriously your university takes such complaints, but whatever happens, you should at least raise some noise against it. Make sure that people who are coming into this course next year are made aware of this professor. Advise them to put off taking this course, or take it at a different time when he’s not teaching it. If nobody at your university is willing to take action, go public, and let as many people as possible know what kind of institution this is. Hit them where it really hurts, which is their pockets. Universities and professors need students–they are the ones who fund their research. If the university suffers from bad publicity, they will eventually be forced to take action.

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    • Also, while I’m all for well rounded discussions in class, why on Earth is your professor bringing up such issues in an engineering college? I’m going to presume that he’s teaching an engineering course here. Where, among all the discussion about circuits, free body diagrams, and chemical bonding, is there an opening to discuss these types of topics? He’s not even teaching the course right, if he’s discussing such deviations.

      That’s another thing you can bring up with your faculty–you took that particular course to learn some particular subject, which I’m quite sure is not gender studies. And I’m quite sure that this “respected prof” is definitely not teaching what he’s supposed to be teaching. So why is he even there, if he’s not going to teach right?

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      • In India the authority always sides with the teachers, professors and employees, however wrong they are. I wonder why! But this happens all the time. Even crimes are brushed under the carpet in educational institutions. Mostly the college/school’s reputation is touted as the reason. I also wonder how the reputation can be salvaged by allowing such professors to continue working there. I once had a personal experience where a school peon talked very rudely to me in front of a large crowd of parents. My daughter studied in that school. I wrote a complaint against the peon and wanted to enter the school to hand over the written complaint to the principal. The vice principal prevented me from meeting the principal and asked me to hand over the note to her instead. She said she will hand over the note herself. The peon continued with his rude behavior. There is no consequences or accountability. Anyone can get away with anything.

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        • There is an inordinate amount of power placed in people of authority in India. This power has long been abused by them for their own ends. Indians, from my own personal experience, are more scared of authority than of having their freedom taken away. Fear is power. The more you have of it, the more the person you are afraid of will use it against you.

          It’s not easy to stop being scared. I wish more people would realize that there are more of us than there are of people in authority. If all of us just stopped being scared for about ten minutes a day, en masse–think of the impact that would have. Standing up to someone just once. Refusing to pay a bribe just once. These things on their own may not do much. But imagine if a street full of people refused to pay a bribe to the police officers. Imagine if they refused to solicit the services of one corrupt person. Imagine if maybe two or three of those other girls in LW’s class stood up with her and refused to put up with that BS. Her words and authority get that much stronger. There IS strength in numbers, even if people say otherwise.

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  3. I can see how frustrating this must be for you! Particularly when the other young women seem at least somewhat accepting of his utterly ridiculous comments that clearly have no place in a classroom.

    I agree with A, you need to take this matter to the higher-ups, because you have a valid problem that needs to be addressed by the university. Professors cannot just be spouting off nonsense like this in their class – because they are in positions of authority, and as a result can definitely affect the minds of students who look up to them. I’m glad you see that his comments are misogynistic, but as you have clearly seen, other students in your class, even the young women have been unable to see this. If you just ignore this, your ‘professor’ (I don’t think he deserves the title) will continue to poison the minds of his students who don’t critically think about what he is saying.

    I would have suggested first talking to him about it, and telling him how upsetting his opinion is, but from what you’ve said, it seems unlikely that this will work. So, again, take your concerns to the Faculty Head, or the Dean, etc. And see if they are willing to take action.

    I can also see how difficult it must be to do this, because you’re putting your grade in the class at stake in case they don’t take action. Is there a way you can report him anonymously? Is there anyone else in your class (male or female) who sees through this ‘prof’? Maybe you can take a group with you to report him. Also, keeping making note of all the comments, that way you will have some evidence when you report him.

    Either way, I admire you courage for standing up to him in class. Not everyone would be able to do it.

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    • Going to higher ups (unfortunately) is a loaded decision. It depends entirely on how liberal your general environment is. If your college is anything like my college, a complaint against a respected member of staff will most likely backfire on you and your education, while leaving the sexist unscathed.

      It would be better to frame it (as A said) in the language of- I am being affected because he is turning an engineering lecture into a platform to air his views on women. That’s more likely to make him go back to teaching engineering.

      Also, you don’t have to listen to his crap. You can miss his lectures and use the time more productively🙂 You won’t be missing much anyway.

      I completely understand how frustrated and helpless you must feel, but I am being a complete realist.
      I too admire you for speaking out in class about it.

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  4. It’s a tough one…Given that these situations can get ugly in an Indian setting, my first instinct is to just ask you to just let this slide and get through your courses. But if you are really keen on getting this professor to stop, you can try doing the below things
    1. Talk to your fellow students from your class and other classes who are taught by this professor. I realize that you already mentioned that a lot of them do not disagree with him as vehemently as you do, but try to see if you can find a few more students whose thinking is the same as yours, Multiple students complaining will get more weightage than a single student complaining.
    2. Try to see if you can get a petition going with the student body that asks the professor to stop making these derogatory, sexist remarks. Couch the petition in the strongest language possible without being deliberately insulting. If you can get the student body leadership to support the petition and present it to the HoD and the Dean, it will give your petition more credibility.
    3. Most smart phones have voice recorders. See if you or one of your classmates can get his comments on audio. It’ll be helpful if the audio can also contain your objections to his comments and his response. This idea sounds tacky, yes. but it’s better to submit hard evidence and not just a word-of-mouth complaint that the college administration can safely ignore.
    4. Send the petition and evidence to the HoD and the Dean in the form of a formal complaint. Ideally, this should do the trick. The professor should get an official warning and asked to keep his personal opinions to himself.
    5. If there is still no action from the college and no change in the professor’s behavior, you can try sending an email to aictevigilance@gmail.com. This is the email ID of the All India Council for Technical Education for reporting any financial or ethical malpractices in any engineering college. Not sure how seriously this particular complaint will be taken up as it does not involve any tangible or measurable misconduct. But a professor who teaches engineering to female students has no business telling them that they are inferior to men or that they belong in the kitchen. These comments are actually counter-productive to the job he is paid to do. It makes him unfit for his job the same way a professor preaching creationism to students is unfit for teaching biology.

    These are just the ideas I could think of. I’m sure there will be lots of other ideas that you could implement as well. All the best!

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    • Or she can film him and put it up on Youtube, if nothing else works. There’s nothing like public outrage to make a man come to his senses. If she informs us, we can all post it everywhere we can.

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  5. //Because men are created by god such that he takes only a correct decision every time.//

    History is proof, isn’t it, of all the *right* decisions that men have taken? *sarcasm*

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  6. In the classroom setting, I’d say ignore him. As a professor, he has a heck of a lot of power over you and can screw you over. Once you’re done with this course, you can send in an anonymous complaint about his sexist remarks–I’d say write everything in detail, heck I’d even record him and let the dean / admin know that I’d make it public.

    I can’t believe that he’d get punished for saying sex, but not get punished for saying these profoundly sexist and unprofessional things in a lecture.

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    • I do not understand why he has power over the students. If he does, the institution itself is rotten to the core. I am disappointed by all the students, males and females, for listening to this B.S. quietly as if he is some kind of a lord and they are his serfs. We in South Asia have such slavish attitudes drilled into us when it comes to our dealing with authority.

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      • Most sensible response, Kay. The OP should totally report this professor after college is done.

        B, we have terrible distribution of power in general in India. I can’t believe police constables can hand out arbitrary punishments – My friend was punished with sit-ups in the middle of the road for not being able to pay the fine and/or bribe the cop, how is this legit, instead of a payment notice? This is totally unlike the US where a constable can just enforce the law.

        Professors in Engg. colleges in Chennai are ultimate figures of power in a similar way. They can ruin your career/education for good by messing up marks, or providing a bad conduct certificate.

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  7. Chennai, huh? Why am I not surprised? TN probably one of the most backward states after Haryana in India, which is surprising since it is both economically and educationally much superior than many other states.

    My sister too studies in one of these places and the way she solves her problems is to hand over the phone to me, and I browbeat her nasty classmates who hold regressive views, so they leave her alone and never express such stuff in front of her. As for professors, I have advised her to complain to the dean if they speak anything inappropriate.

    You can try complaining, because unless you are taking classes in sociology or gender studies, there is no need for such discussions in class. Frankly, it might be even better if it comes from your parents since I know these institutions take parents’ complains more seriously. After all, this is wasting of valuable time when you can be learning about engineering!

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    • “TN probably one of the most backward states after Haryana in India”

      Why is this statement necessary, exactly? Views like that are heavily dependent upon personal experience, from what I’ve seen. I know people who have felt much safer and freer in TN compared to where they are from. And I know people who hate TN because they meet with more sexist attitudes than where they are from. Experiences tend to vary across family, community and culture. The way I see it, the problematic aspects of sexism exist in every state. I’ve seen them take a more physical form in certain places than in others.

      What I’ve seen is that Tamil Nadu tends to carry a reputation for being “progressive”, which makes criticism difficult. People here tend to assume that an inch equals a mile, that providing education and equal opportunity for women somehow automatically equates to autonomy, that all the battles have been fought and won. But it’s a big leap from that to “one of the most backward states after Haryana”, especially considering the fact that they’ve done a pretty good job of allowing women to have a space in the public sphere (especially with regards to education, its sex ratio, etc.), which some states in India still refuse to give.

      Obviously, given the above e-mail, the personal experiences of your sister, and my own personal experiences (which haven’t been very nice), a massive shift in mindset and an attitude adjustment need to be in the works and are long overdue. But a strong statement like that is unhelpful and wrong, especially given that TN does better than most. Is that enough? No, not by a long shot. Better than most in India doesn’t tend to mean much. But from what I’ve seen, we’ve made more progress in a lot of problematic areas that many states haven’t as well.

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      • “Views like that are heavily dependent upon personal experience” How else are you supposed to have a view? I am not talking about one off experiences either, but about consistent behaviour. There would of course, be exceptions, but they only serve to prove the rule. I’ve lived in several cities in India, including the dreaded Delhi, and I consider Chennai to be one of the worst places to be a woman. I am completely basing this on my experience, since I can’t really hold a view according to other people’s experiences.

        I know TN has made a whole lot of progress in many areas and good for them! But as far as women’s autonomy is concerned, it is a bad place and something can only be done about it when one recognises it, not if people get defensive at every criticism.

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        • “But as far as women’s autonomy is concerned, it is a bad place”

          I’m sorry, but given my own personal experience, I have to disagree here. I haven’t experience the same removal of autonomy in Chennai as I have in many other places in India. Nor do I feel that the state of women’s autonomy is any worse in TN than it is anywhere else in India.

          I’m not going to deny your own personal experience and your feelings though. If you felt that way, then you felt that way for a reason, and it is a problem that should be addressed.

          “if people get defensive at every criticism.”

          Granted, I will agree that this is a problem with TN society. In fact, this was something I explicitly stated in my original comment. However, the wording of your first line was such that it was difficult to understand if you meant the whole of TN society (which in my experience is definitely not /as/ backwards as some states), or if you specifically meant the college atmosphere itself (which seems to negate pretty much any other type of progress made).

          ” but in TN, it is somehow institutionalised in the organisations, like in government offices, colleges and schools”

          Again, I have to disagree to an extent here–I haven’t felt the force of institutionalized misogyny in TN as much as I have in other places. From the experiences I’ve heard from the people around me, this type of institutionalized misogyny is not unique to TN, but rather to all of India. I will agree that this is particularly bad in colleges, a distinction that TN seems to have rightfully earned, which people should be angry about. But elsewhere, it has felt worse, or no different at all.

          And again, you are entitled to your feelings. You probably aren’t alone in feeling that way either. And I will apologize for tone policing. You were affected by something, felt a particular way, and you expressed that frustration in a particular way, which you have every right to do. My mistake for jumping to conclusions rather than asking for clarification (thanks desidaaru, for explaining).

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      • Also, what I want to point out is that in most other places ,misogyny exists in society, but in TN, it is somehow institutionalised in the organisations, like in government offices, colleges and schools. That’s probably what makes it so difficult to deal with, than let’s say, a random molester in Delhi or a groper in Mumbai.

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        • That random molester in Delhi and the groper in Mumbai are so bold and callous because they have the force of institutionalized misogyny in their own communities that work very much in their favour. That same institutionalized misogyny that calls for ladies only cars, and tells women that if they don’t want to be molested or groped, they should cover up, or better yet, not go outside at all.

          Misogyny is institutionalized everywhere, no place is exempt from that, unfortunately. There is no completely safe space for women to exist yet, not even out West, where things seem to be better. But just because it exists everywhere doesn’t mean that it’s okay, or permissible, or shouldn’t be fought. If it’s present, then it should be taken down, no questions asked.

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      • I think personal experiences have a lot to do with one’s perception of a place.

        I am not talking about TN society in general , but about the very niche topic of “social norms on engineering campuses of India”. In this particular space, colleges in TN have a bad rep.
        I’ve had friends who’ve studied at a college in TN which conducts itself like an institution in under a despot- classroom and bus dividers (!) separating male and female students, separate timings to use on-campus facilities like the ATM, and ‘punishments’ for interacting with the opposite sex.

        It is VERY rare for higher educational institutions (yes, even in India) to be SO obsessed, at a management level, with male/female interaction. It is limited to colleges in South India, and is especially de rigueur in TN.
        My guess is that Fem was not surprised for this reason.

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        • You are absolutely right. It’s also very common for hostels to close doors for women by 7 pm while the guys can roll in by 10 pm. Admittedly, I don’t know much about hostels in the rest of India, but really, what are such measures going to achieve?

          Going to college in Chennai is like living in North Korea. Or at least, that’s how I felt when I enrolled in university. I lasted about 20 days, then I decided to quit studies and took up a job, and completed my graduation through correspondence. Then I went abroad for my Masters and got a taste of real college life.

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        • A rich Mr J started a group of institutions in the Chennai area and started this rather obnoxious system of totally segregating men and women. Sadly enough, it gained a lot of popularity with parents who wanted “discipline” and just could not see how you could interact with the opposite sex without getting pregnant in the process :S More often than not, fresh graduates from TN colleges are much more socially stunted just because they are not used to interacting with people without knowing their gender first.

          This is not the place to compare cities with each other. I’ve lived in Mumbai and Chennai. Poles apart, you ask? Not really. The kind of problems I faced as a women in both the cities are different. But does one city’s women have it better than the other – not a chance.

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      • A,

        You are absolutely right.

        “TN probably one of the most backward states after Haryana in India” – Why is this statement necessary, exactly?

        It is not at all necessary. However, unfortunately people do make those comments all over while “thinking” they are talking out of “just” personal experience. When someone else states their “personal experience”, for instance say “Women are probably the most emotional people” they are the first ones to jump on their throats denigrating for their statement. They will some day hopefully develop the faculty to realize that in fact there is no difference between those two statements. All this does is highlight the personal prejudice of the person stating it and nothing more.

        Two of my closest friends, one from Bihar and another from Delhi have said this “Wow, it’s so refreshing to live in chennai without men constantly staring at women’s boobs while talking”. One of my neighbors from Jaipur does not want to move to delhi owing to the recent happenings because she feels chennai is safer.

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        • “Why is this statement necessary, exactly?” Because I feel it to be true. It’s as simple as that. I’m not denying other people may find good reasons to live in Chennai, but ‘I’ don’t think so.

          And it’s certainly not the same as saying women are emotional. That’s a character that’s forced on by perceptions and not validated by experiences, while my statement is completely validated by my experiences. You are actually telling me how to feel … that’s what is usually done to women. What you are doing basically amounts to saying “So rapes happen in India, what about USA? Women are treated much better here. Look at all those white people coming here for peace of mind.”

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        • @Sowmya,

          Is your implication about Delhi in your comment any different from Fem’s comment about TN? What makes is ok to feel that Delhi is unsafe but not ok to feel that TN is one of the most backward states? Then we should stop generalising about Delhi too and let all new women visitors be surprised when they get groped. No?

          I think cities/ states/ countries are different from individual human beings, in that they are ‘generalised’ group entities by definition. Anything you say about a city/state/country as a whole is a generalisation by default. Women and men are in fact individual human beings. For example, one could say that Saudi Arabia is one of the most backward countries when it comes to gender equality. Would you say that is similar to saying ‘women are emotional’? I personally don’t see how.

          My best friend is from Chennai and hates going back to visit. Apparently, plenty of men stare at her boobs there and plenty of people moralise to her there too. Just because her experience is in fact different to yours, I am not about to make any claims about the lack of development of faculties.

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        • Sowmya- i am from Chennai and trust me, i agree with every word of Fem. Though i love the city i am from, i hate going back there simply because i cant stand the constant staring, dirty comments and street harrassment. It is not a safe place and that is a personal opinion. Just the way you can say that Delhi is unsafe, same way, Fem is entitled to say that TN is really backward, which unfortunately, it is.

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        • “Two of my closest friends, one from Bihar and another from Delhi have said this “Wow, it’s so refreshing to live in chennai without men constantly staring at women’s boobs while talking””

          While Chennai is close to my heart and I often partake in the same type of quick defensiveness that so many other people from my city practice, again, I’m going to stick by my personal statement. Experiences are different. I have not gone to college in Chennai. And thank god I didn’t, because if desidaaru12’s comment is anything to go by, I would have quit and run as well, “city of my childhood” be damned.

          My own sentimental feelings do not negate or erase the varied other types of experiences that women have had in Chennai. And if people have had consistently bad experiences (experiences that seem to be little to no different from Bihar or Delhi or elsewhere), then they have every right to talk about those experiences and express their feelings in the language they choose.

          Fem said it best, “You are actually telling me how to feel ” Nobody has any right to negate how someone felt about something, just because they have not experienced it or because they felt something different. I love Chennai–I’m from there, and thankfully, I haven’t had bad experiences in the time I’ve lived there. Good for me. I’m lucky. Others aren’t, unfortunately, and their experiences deserve to be discussed as well.

          I will dispute the idea that TN is the most backward state out there–it really isn’t, not compared to some of the other states I’ve been to. But again, if someone has experienced something frustrating, they have a right to express themselves in the language they choose. Who is it harming, really? Not me. Not you. As for the state of Tamil Nadu, it is not a sentient being that can be harmed. It stings to hear that about a place I hold dear, but you can’t tell a person not to feel that way because it hurts your feelings. That just degrades that person’s experience.

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        • @A

          Thank you.

          The main problem I have with TN is that random people don’t just stare at your breasts, they actually come to you and tell you how to wear your clothes differently, initiate a discussion on why you aren’t wearing a bindi, etc. And this is in addition to staring at breasts. I find this kind of behaviour far more invasive than someone standing 10 feet away and staring at me.

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      • I spend a lot of time in Semmedu near Coimbatore. I’ve had largely positive experiences travelling alone on several trips to Chennai as well.

        I haven’t been harrassed or made to feel uncomfortable the way I am when traveling alone in Delhi.

        I’d say general attitudes towards women are far less toxic than they are in the northern states.

        Yet most people in southern India have an unwritten code for women. Loud make up and Western clothing are disapproved of. Interactions between men and women are usually restrained and courteous.

        No hugging your male best friend goodbye for instance🙂

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    • This post is definitely abt something else. But I would like to make a point here, as a point you’ve made is misleading. TN is defintely not the most backward state in India, but the contrary. Many from the north have this opinion because of very outwardly issues like for eg., women wearing conservative clothes, women being more of introverts in a social/public setting etc. But most of the times when I read this I shrug it off anyway. Because how do people know about the way of life, skin deep, of someplace that is not their own, or just bcos some cousin who went to college ter for 4 yrs said so.
      Though men are the same in any part of the world because of centuries of patriarchal upbringing, there are some places which are far far better in atleast certain aspects. People in TN are the least religious(this directly means less superstitious), and far more adaptive to modern thoughts, and more accepting of logical reasoning. These may be particularly so because 80% of hindus here have folk deity and related rituals (the original, less conservative, very practical)which have nothing to do with core hinduism and vedas. Women and men in TN just follow old lifestyles and ideas without even knowing why they are doing that, and are least concerned(in the right sense).
      Anyone heared of periyar. The person behind the dravidian movement. But he is known for something more. Thanks to him Tamils no longer have caste/surnames behind their names, love marriages were state sactioned(with or without a thali(could anyone belive that)-self respect marriages), before other states could even think of such a thing, rest of india took Tn’s example for class reservation, and much much more. It did not stop with that. People here took his years of social work very seriously, and his views on women education has today given women here more space and rights which no one can deny. Its really happy and astonishing to see many Tamil youngsters taking his example and being more and more open to incaste, inter religiousmarriages, and women’s rights. This definitely is a great change at a time when there are still so many evil men, in varying degrees still live right amongst us(one being the above mentioned professor).
      I know this is getting too long, but its my responsibility to correct a fact that is not entirely right.

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      • I really don’t know which TN you come from, but the one I have lived in is not the haven you describe.

        First, I am not North Indian. I am Tamil and have spent a few years living in TN, the worst years of my life.

        I have no issues with women wearing WHAT THEY WANT TO. And those women must include me, and I shall not be bullied into wearing what people tell me I must wear. Any place that forces women to dress in a certain manner is backward, no matter what the dress is.

        People in TN are deeply religious. I know many cases where women have to be isolated during menstruation, there are religious processions all over the place! How can you even call this a non religious place? That’s just ridiculous. TN people are the least adaptive to modern thought, imo.

        Periyar and all is fine, but the state of TN population today is very sad. You have to be nuts to think that TN people don’t have castes. You obviously have never heard of the Nadars, Chettiars, Iyengars or Iyers, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist and practice the caste system. I can only laugh myself crazy at your description of the abundance of love marriages in TN.

        I am really sorry to burst your bubble, but many Tamil teenagers are misogynists, casteist and deeply aware of religious divisions as my sister can easily verify, being a teenager herself in TN and facing stalking, harassment, and all kinds of other problems on a daily basis that I, as a teen brought up in another city, never had to face. PLEASE do not spout nonsense just to make the state seem like heaven when in reality, it is hell. Instead, accept facts and try to change things.

        Like

  8. Media could be your friend. Try to find a way to get this published in a local newspaper/newschannel. I dont live in India so I am not sure what the repercussions could be.

    Like

    • I dont think you can expect much from the local tamil channels atleast. They are really regressive. The serials- less said the better. In fact you have these girls Vs boys debates and they are really pathetic, even in issues like rape, victim blaming is so profound and people dont mind saying it loudly in a televised debate. This state- is totally screwed up!

      Like

    • Why? Do you mean it sounds impossible that everybody and anybody in India believes they know all that an Indian woman needs to know – and they believe it’s their right and responsibility to pass on this knowledge to any Indian woman, specially if she is unlikely to be able to protest?

      Like

    • It’s common practice, actually, especially in India. People in positions of authority everywhere seem to think that they have a right to eschew their responsibilities towards their job and start preaching like a roadside saint. You see it in doctors, lawyers, bankers, everyone. The instant someone gets some amount of power, they seem to start believing that they can influence us poor plebs into leaving behind our misguided, modern ways into a brighter future. Except this “future” isn’t a future at all, just an empty black void of despair for everyone involved.

      Like

      • Actually I think this is done quite consciously and usually it’s an unapologetic attempt to skew the power balance away from the oppressed party in favour of the status quo.

        Who are the most active supporters of patriarchal attitudes in India? Usually it’s people who have something to gainfrom it.

        That’s why so many men are so enthusiastic about ideal of the Bharatiya Nari. The burden of honour is placed on women’s shoulders while men’s behaviour is neither circumscribed nor questioned.
        It’s a better deal for men, by and large.

        Like

  9. Dear Girl, use technology. Record him making such remarks, actually set him up. Instigate him into expounding his chauvanistic theories and then upload the tape on Youtube. Expose him to the world. Tag us. I think one can create a fake id and upload the recording so that there is no backlash.

    Like

  10. That professor totally needs to meet my Tamil husband – for a wake up call!!!! Maybe he could give him a few pointers…lol…

    My husband does all the cooking (I haven’t cooked in 4 months) and is an awesome cook – (so many top chefs of the world are men) and also – any wife would be both happier and well-fed to have a husband who can/loves to cook!
    My hubby also really helps me out with our daughter, waking up early in the morning with her, reading her books, giving her a bath, putting her to bed, etc. He loves taking care of her & bonding with her. And when she’s crying, he does an excellent pat-on-the-back technique that is the only thing that calms her down.
    Last week when I was in the hospital, he took off work and was Mr.Mom for a week, and now he has taken off work again to help me recover.
    He is very close to my parents and is always helping them out whether it is changing the light bulbs or helping them with their business.
    Not only that, but he is the most romantic guy on Earth…

    So, it seems like this professor is incredibly backward, and definitely not “a real man”. Because real men help out around the house and take care of their wives – by being emotionally supportive, kind, and being an equal partner – not condescending. It seems he is using the excuse of being a misogynist to define his crappy behaviour… His poor wife!!! Not only that, but what exactly does he DO other than his job? Is that his only source of masculinity = being a provider? What happens when he has no job, then? And WHY ON EARTH is he talking about all this = no relation to engineering?? How unprofessional! He needs to zip it!!

    Like

    • “What exactly does he do other than his job? Is that his only source of masculinity=being a provider?”

      I think for men like him, constructions of gender identity are very rigid. They subscribe to a “Men Are From Mars, Women From Venus” view of the world. So any dilution of rigid gender roles threatens their sense of self and gender identity.

      This kind of person bases their sense of self solely on their gender and follows role prescriptions inflexibly. If we were to throttle individualised, human aspects of our personality to fit ill-fitting gender roles, probably we’d also struggle with suppressed feelings of anger and loss.

      Rigid gender roles dehumanise people because they cannot accommodate individualised trmprraments and personality traits.

      Like

  11. Agree with Ritu Lalit. Record and upload his misogynistic lectures on youtube and make a joke of him with lots of comments. People only understand the language of shame. Do this after completing the course. Have no expectations from the authority.

    Like

  12. Chennai- An Ex-MCCian who found the college most regressive, I can understand. If I found MCC (the supposedly most liberal college in Chennai) regressive, you can imagine the state of sffairs in other colleges/unis.
    This internal assessment, thesis & attendance marks business happily accepted by all (parents because their kids wont bunk; teachers because the power they have over the students) is the real undoing of Indian education. Not that it was perfect before.
    Earlier students were not afraid to have an opinion because they needn’t be. Today even the slightest protest can result in suspension or rustication. Sexual harassment, blackmailing, singling out – no wonder students want to somehow complete the 2/3/4 yrs, grab the degree and run.

    And I salute the LW for standing up for whats right.

    Like

    • “Today even the slightest protest can result in suspension or rustication”

      It doesn’t help that there is so much emphasis on “success” in our culture. If you’re not successful in the conventional sense, you’re a failure, and that’s it. No wonder students are afraid to speak up–their futures are completely on the line here, and the professors know it. They know that this means they get the ultimate amount of power in this equation, because the are the God of Marks, and their utterances are the law. They can make or break a student, and when this type of power is put into the wrong hands (see above), it has such nasty implications for all.

      The day we dismantle the equation that a college education = success is the day people will stop being afraid to speak up. This is why Indian society is stagnant. Nobody is willing to stand up for anything, and this type of attitude is bred into us from Day 1. “Be quiet. Don’t say anything. Just bear it and keep going.” Is it any wonder that our women stay in abusive homes and marriages? Is it any wonder that corruption is still such a massive problem in our country? If our unofficial motto is going to be, “Just shut up and bear it.” when will things get any better? I don’t want to shut up. I don’t want to bear it. I don’t want to accept the status quo that tells me I have a glass ceiling at marriage, and that after that, I will be toted around like my husband’s hand luggage, taken at his whim to cater to someone else at the sacrifice of my own career. i don’t want my fellow male colleagues to accept a status quo that tells them that unless they make a six figure salary and have three PhDs, they are unworthy of societal acceptance and marriage. I don’t want a status quo that places worth on my virginity. I don’t want a status quo that hand waves corrupt politicians, where anybody worthy of being in elected office is discouraged from doing it, because politics is a “dirty business”. I don’t want to just accept a status quo that says it is okay to have policemen in your pockets, just because you have money. I don’t want to accept a status quo that says it’s okay for women of lower castes to be physically and sexually abused, because, “that’s just how things are.” I don’t want a status quo that perpetuates a disgusting cycle of inhumanity and violence.

      I am sick of having to accept how things are. Fuck that. I have better things to do in my life. I have glass ceilings to break. I have status quos to demolish. I have attitudes to dismantle, fights to fight, fires to light, and oppressive systems to take a sledgehammer to. I am sick of people dismissing my anger and telling me that it’s all over nothing. I’m sick of hearing, “Don’t talk about things like that.” When has progress ever been made in silence? Never. It has to start with someone saying, “Nope.” And thank you, LW, for saying it.

      [/endrant]

      Like

  13. I would suggest not to take any action till you finish with the course. He does hold some power over you right now. Confronting such people is useless and you would end up getting angrier and drained out.However do keep gathering proof. Record his ‘lectures’. Note down the details somewhere. Once you finish the course approach the authorities. If they ignore it then like everybody suggested upload it on YouTube. Don’t these so called respected profs enter the classroom with some agenda on curriculum. Aren’t they given any code of conduct to follow to not use a classroom for spreading their own personal views unrelated to the course. It’s time we have a written code of conduct to be signed by educators because they are in a position to influence young minds. Anybody breaking that conduct should be suspended.

    Like

  14. I am from Chennai too. I think I know what is happening here. Well this professor is not advicing women or imparting gyaan on all these sexist views. He is just using all this as an oppurtunity to talk of sex without talking of it. When he moves to the girls section of the classroom (if this is Chennai, then I take it that there is a seperate section) he wants to do Kadalai. This means he wants to talk giggle worthy talk to excited girls. It is best not to consider taking up his bait for these things. These “Neeya Naana” topics aren’t going to get you anywhere. Certainly not with a professor. Thanks.

    Like

    • Huh?o_O Where did you get all this from? Are you saying he wants to flirt with the female students, and the way to do that is to demoralise them and humiliate them and imply that they are inferior?

      Like

      • Well yes. Misogyny only insults feminists. Quite a lot of women thrive on such talk and giggle endlessly. Many women believe that men never gossip and are ultra dignified.
        And People are hardwired to respect professors. And so many of these girls have heard these remarks from their fathers and boyfriends (even mothers, aunts and sisters and religious leaders) and don’t even find anything out of the ordinary with these remarks. Women who refuse to “permit” their husband do any kitchen work exist still. You are assuming all women consider his remarks insulting or condescending? If so the LW would have atleast said that other girls admit to be insulted by these remarks but are scared of confronting him. But No, she says “I just want to bury my head when he or my classmates talks about gender issues. I am so irritated and frustrated” and “More astonishing is that, his stupid students (my classmates) are justifying his talk”. This includes the girls. He is Mr.Fun Professor. I don’t have the time to quote examples right now but will soon make a list of the misogynistic statements made by women around me. They can really shake you. Honest.

        Like

  15. I wonder if a complaint would help. In India, complaining about a Teacher ends up the student who complained in the bad books of entire staff and Indian teachers when angry can be the worst bullies…. I have seen this happening to a few students in my college.

    Even I was once shamed in front of entire class and later in front of entire school in recess along with some other girls because I complained about a student who was the child of another teacher when I was in school. Alhtough in my case, some other teachers stood with us and so the bully teachers’ group could do anything to us….

    Perhaps, the email writer can try to have the support of other teachers, specially the female ones as they might understand what she feels. But I don’t know if this would work or not.😦

    Like

  16. College is a great place to learn about the world, and not just your subject. So, while I do wonder how your prof manages time to talk trash while teaching engineering, I’d still want you and your classmates to see this as an opportunity rather than a thing to complain about. Since this prof already seems to be generating classroom discussions about gender roles, you can use this opportunity to start a motion against it.
    Ask your professor to arrange time for a proper debate on the issue instead of proselytising. Talk with your Head of the Department (HOD) – amicably – and tell him/her that you have a few ideas to make students take an active interest in real life issues (like women’s rights) and tell him that your inspiration is this prof who talks about gender roles in class. That would be a politically correct way to escalate and involve the authorities in a constructive way without “complaining”. Trust me, no one in the world likes cry babies. In life, professionally or otherwise, people who complain do not succeed. It is people who complain and also find ways to solve whatever the problem is – that succeed. You should aim to belong to the latter group. Also, with the help of a couple of like-minded friends, you can search for funny cartoons on google, take printouts, and put them up on notice boards. Do not take names. Again, take your HOD into confidence and convince him that cartoons would be a good way to raise awareness. In our college days, we drew cartoons and posters by ourselves, but downloading would be an easier and safer option for you – because even if anyone takes offence, you can brush it aside as publicly available information and not your own handiwork. Mockery is a powerful weapon, and you can use it too – but wisely. And if the debate happens, make sure you’re prepared for it.
    Lastly, and this is very important: Learn from this experience. Observe and learn how the world functions. Don’t try to change opinions or get this prof ousted because that will not change the world. It is more worthwhile to make people stop and think rather than force people to think in your way. And do enjoy it. College should be fun, and this prof of your is a surefire entertainer😀

    Like

    • I object to a lot of things you said, but most specifically that you called the LW a cry baby for raising such issues. It’s her prerogative to be treated as a human being, and if that isn’t happening, she has every right to bring up the issue any way she deems fit. It does NOT make her a cry baby.

      I also think that ousting one such professor for such behaviour will result in many others learning to keep their mouth shut. So while I realize that it may not be a workable solution, it is a wonderful idea if it can be managed. Justice is as important as changing mindsets.

      And college in Chennai is not fun, if you are a woman and have an ounce of self respect. So you might scream as loud as you can from the rooftops that it should be, but the fact remains that if it isn’t, it isn’t.

      I actually do like some of the ideas you have outlined, but I don’t think they will be accepted at all. There are often boys vs. girls debates in TN colleges and sometimes even on TV but they end up being even more regressive and segregating than anything the management can dream up.

      Like

  17. I think you should confront him directly in the class. I hope your college is not one of those sham private institutes where exchange of ideas and differing opinions are strictly shunned.

    Like

  18. Sick person. In some countries, he would be stripped of his post for harassment of female students and discrimination. Not in India yet, sadly. I love the idea of recording it and uploading on Youtube. Do it anonymously and sneakily if you must, but it would be hilarious to see the results. Send the Youtube link to a news channel. Perhaps we could start a pink chaddi campaign and post him some lovely chaddis?😉

    I think people like either know they are bull-shitting and do it anyway or are so brainwashed that they simply can’t see other viewpoints. Debating with them gets nowhere because ‘god made it like that’ is completely irrational and cannot be debated. Name and shame.🙂

    Like

  19. I am the letter writer..

    Thank you IHM for posting it and thank you all for your comments..

    Our college is one of the most backward one! it could take so many posts.. Some of the rules there
    1. no slit in churidhar because it shows legs that attract men. everyday about five staffs stand in the entrance to check this.
    2. no boy-girl talking. actually, there is no tree in our college to ensure this rule is followed. our college trees are genetically engineered that it grows only to the height of a plant.
    3. no mobile phones even for hostelites. etc etc

    we are only nine students in class and it is sided with see through glasses which makes it highly difficult to record it.. But will definitely try it out.

    only because i was one of the toppers my voice was atleast allowed in class! otherwise it would have ended up in a bad scene..

    i did try telling it to one of the senior staffs (not as a complain though) he replied stating, ” it is just two years for you, just close your ears and move on..”

    ….but it is a good college for biotech i heard and hence landed up there..

    i am much worried about the girls who listen to this, turns out, they have boyfriends of the same character as that professor., I am just hoping they see light..

    Like

    • dont worry about your friends, they will see light or if not see it they will experience it with their boyfriends and then dump them. or failing that will get married and maybe suffer and then dump them or not.
      you have raised the issue in class and therby made known that there is an alternate view and world out there. but you cannot make people with blinders on see light.
      protest his words for your sake, argue it , maybe tape him and post it🙂 ( and let him deal with the fallout) .
      Dont do anything to jeopardise your education, unfortunately you passing out in decent grades is ties to your future financial independence.. yes that shouldn’t be the way but that’s how it works in India, once you are on your feet then you take him to task or take it upon yourself to educate the women and the world.
      just my 2 bit advise , unfortunately this is how education and jobs in india works and if you live here you have to work the system .

      Like

    • “there is no tree in our college to ensure this rule is followed. our college trees are genetically engineered that it grows only to the height of a plant.”

      You have got to be kidding me. No, please tell me you are. You’re joking right? Nobody is that stupid. No one can be…just…no…what…WHAT.

      I’m going to put my head down and think about this for a minute.

      Just.

      WHAT.

      Like

      • Actually A – this is pretty common, not only in colleges, but in schools as well. Do you know that all commerce colleges in Chennai are either boys only or girls only? And parents are really proud to send them to such colleges. Engineering colleges are supposedly co-ed, but men and women are not supposed to talk to each other at all. In many schools too, this is strictly enforced. Seating is arranged in such a way that, girls and boys dont sit next to each other. So, where is there a possibility of healthy interaction? Teachers address them and tell them to form separate queues. The parents of the children are called if a girl and boy speak to each other.

        I am not exaggerating – this is the reality in a so called modern Metro city.

        Like

  20. I know this may sound sneaky, but I believe you first have to take care of yourself and then worry about the professor and your classmates. SO focus on the class and do your best. Don’t even think about the professor right now. But…record his statements and then release it to a sympathetic media outlet or well known blogger after you are done with the class and the school. These people need to be shamed in the most public way possible.

    Like

  21. The Indian education system is not conducive to questioning, no matter how obnoxious the professor is. More to worry if the prof is the one correcting your end of semester papers. You are very brave to speak up, especially in a class where the kids support what the prof has to say. I took a liberal arts course in college, and once in a while the prof used to make sexist remarks. My few fellow classmates were gender sensitive future academics, and one lady was already making a career in feminism. I was the only one who spoke up when he made stupid cracks at women. Of course, the professor would make a joke about it, snubbing me in the process. Once a guest speaker came and said all women belonging to the career feminist’s class are sluts. I looked at her open mouthed, she just looked down and did not say a word. She went on to do really well in academics, spouting everyone from Beauvoir to Adrienne Rich in esteemed platforms across the nation. I digress, but this incident showed my idealistic self how the system usually works. Finally a white girl who had joined the course halfway leveled with prof and told him privately that she does not like the way he talks. He was clean afterwards.

    Coming back to your case, see if you can get some classmates to support you and reason with him. If that doesn’t work, and if you manage to get some support from peers, raise it with the head of the department. Will you be able to record him in action? There is a good chance your friends might become tongue tied when it’s time to give evidence. Challenging a prof in India is never a good idea. Some of them, this includes both genders, are tenured jerks who unfortunately have the power to make a student pay for whatever they perceive as disrespect. Some even expect you to humor them, respect is not enough! Speaking from experience here.

    Like

  22. This is exactly like one of my professors in mech engineering. He would say something utterly ridiculous and then look at us 4-5 girls with a gross sneer. Once in the practical lab i was phased out during his usual ‘women suck’ session cuz standing up had had no effect on him. And he proceeded to say that women r so dumb that they dont react anymore. I told him why should i waste my reaction on someone who has no iota of improvement. He was a middle aged unmarried guy. Thank god for saving a woman’s life by keeping him unmarried! Frustrated old turd…. Gave me really low marks for pracs.

    Like

  23. Though I am angered, I am not surprised. Gender prejudices are so deeply rooted that the Professor’s ‘gyan’ probably sounds like fact to most of the students.

    Do you have any respected female professor who is at a professional position at the same level or above the MCP professor’s position? Maybe you can approach her, sound her out and she what her take on this is.

    The MCP professor is entitled to his opinion but there is absolutely no necessity to voice it out in an academic setting. And maybe you can request that his tirades be kept out of the classroom.

    I feel sorry for the girls in your college who have been brainwashed to think that the MCP is right. As much as possible, do continue to bring up your point of view with them. It might not have a major effect on their mental makeup but it will at least force them to see that there is a different way to look at the issue.

    Like

  24. IHM, I don’t know if I really mean this or I’m just seething after reading this post. But at this point all I would say is that I really really think those girls who agree with his every word as being gospel truth really really deserve such men, deserve to be ill-treated by them, deserve to be treated as sub-humans or worse, and then, maybe then, they’ll realize how woefully wrong they were.

    Like

    • @surbhi….I agree, but I also think the girls may not know any better…could be the girls are used to being oppressed (in their familial homes / in society?) or just too afraid to speak up = thinking agreeing with it and being compliant is better (even though it’s definitely not…)

      Like

      • However much I wish you were wrong (and I could tell you so), you are not. Sigh! It is unbelievable how people come to think the way this sorry excuse for a man does. Well, you, I, IHM, the LW, and every other like-minded thinking person is still the hope for a better world.

        Like

        • In many Indian families, girls learn early that men wield incredible power that is ruthlessly exercised to keep women in their place.

          Such girls learn that the only way to deal with men is by either being abjectly passive or by subtle manipulation and devious flattery.

          In traditional Indian families, there’s very little honest, straight-forward communication between the sexes. Women are seen as objects that exist to serve men.

          A girl from such a family will never think to question or challenge a man, even if she privately disagrees with him.

          Her focus is always survival just as the girls in the LW’s class are focused on not jeopardising their grades, whatever it takes

          Like

  25. My Dear Friend,

    Don’t bother yourself with what other thinks. I am male and I prefer to cook and it would not be wrong to say that I enjoy it. And as far as other things are concerned, that’s just his point of view. And I would really like to visit him at his house and see in what state does his family live in. Remember there are two type of men in this world.
    1. Men who just like speaking out,
    2. Men who are Hippocrates,
    3. Men who want to attract attention,
    4. Men who are animals
    5. Men who are Gentlemen.

    and be rest assured that your professor is definitely not the fifth kind, and other four kind are not good enough for you to even bother about what they say or think.
    Do not burden yourself with what he has to say. If he is a really good professor then that just means that he knows a lot about the subject he teaches and nothing else.
    And for that matter with regard to the male students of you class who agrees with him don’t really have there own point of view and will follow who so ever seems to be presenting them more superior.

    Like

  26. LW, blood is a precious commodity. Don’t allow your’s to evaporate over idiotic goonks like this so-called “professor” who professes to know everything about what God did and why!

    You are right – just ignore. Don’t bother to enter a discussion with someone at his level of non-evolution. Let the other girls in your class think what they want and lead their lives the way they want to. You know what you want of your life. Just stick to your view points and get on with your life. In a year or two or four at the most (if you are in the first year) you will be out of this college. You will be in a world with thousands of people who have more sense than this i**** and you will also have millions who will be like him. If you allow your blood to boil over each and every one of them, just imagine what you will be doing to yourself.

    So chin up and forward march!

    Like

  27. It’s really irritating that a country like India which glorifies teachers ( all the guru-devo-bhava crap and those sappy messages on teacher’s day. The very concept of teacher’s day!) has some of the most incompetent, shitty ,judgmental vermin running schools and colleges.

    I’ve encountered a grand total of three good teachers in over 20 years of education.
    The rest of them fall into one of these categories :
    1. Conservative country bumpkins who like to inflict their so called “morals” and “values” on all and sundry.
    2. Druggie megalomaniacs (generally male) who spew crude, racist and misogynistic venom because their basic understanding of the subject at hand and their “coolness” gives them the right to verbally /physically harass students.
    3.Uptight wannabe dictators (generally female) who deal with their insecurities by being unreasonable ,unduly harsh and giggling/coyly smiling when the more “popular” druggie megalomaniac is spewing crude,racist and misogynistic venom.

    LW, best of luck with whatever course of action you decide to take.

    Like

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  30. I studied engineering at a government university in a metropolitan city in North India. Most of the profs were sane human beings. But there was this one senior prof who liked to keep things traditional in his own sense and nobody got in his way.
    So this is what happened: My friend and I (both males) were sitting at the front row along with the class’s only 2 female students (in a class of 60 – Yes! the ratio at engineering colleges can be this skewed). The prof enters the class, notices us and very politely (and condescendingly ) asks us to move to some other location, I am amused and ask him the reason. He again smiles at me and says “Just move”. Well, my friend and I move. This was a new phenomenon for both of us.
    Later I found out that the prof has even failed people who objected to his ways. Apparently he thought he was “saving” the innocent girls from the “predatory” boys. I wonder why people need to “save” anyone from others. Why not empower them ?!

    Like

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