BY Arundhati Bhattacharyya
This is a common fact in the lives of Indian girls. Everybody warns a woman: ‘cover yourself, be shy, don’t talk much, don’t laugh aloud, don’t ask questions’… precisely, ‘be a woman and behave like a woman’. If a woman does not behave like a woman, there is all justification of attacking her sexually. It is she who has provoked a man; it is not a man’s fault.
Today, girls are not ready to conform to these notions; they are all set to live like human beings, not like women! And finally, there is a Bollywood movie that supports the voice of modern women. The movie Pink, directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and produced by Shoojit Sircar got released in 2016. Meenal and her friends visit a rock concert and become friends with some boys. A casual friendship and friendly dinner lead to an incident of molestation; Meenal hurts Rajveer with a glass bottle. The ordeal of the girls extends up to a court case where they are mentioned as prostitutes ‘who tried to kill Rajveer’.
Pink raises a number of questions on the attitude of our boys. Throughout the court session, a bunch of patriarchal notions announce their demonic presence to throttle the voice of women’s freedom. If you think that boys from the middle class or the lower middle class have a derogatory or dominating attitude towards women, you are completely wrong. Boys like Rajveer who are educated in foreign universities and belong to so-called ‘high society’, are nothing but strong conformists to the patriarchal values. They think:
If a girl behaves in a ‘friendly’ manner, it means a ‘hint’ from her side for sexual closeness.
Women of ‘reputed’ families never drink or go to parties.
Women who become friends with men, eat and drink with them, talk, laugh and touch in a friendly manner, should be subjected to treatments like molestation or rape! (Rajveer even goes to the extent of calling them ‘slut’.)
So, would our boys like it if girls always talk rudely with them, or if they refuse to talk with them at all? Do they expect a society where girls and boys cannot be friends, cannot talk in a friendly manner? Or if they talk, it will definitely lead to physical intimacy, molestation, or rape? Is it a model of a normal society?
Don’t blame the political figures! Where does a neta come from? Supposedly not from the Moon or the Mars? A neta is very much a product of this society. Ask your parents, neighbors, friends and colleagues and you will find that a good number of people will reverberate the voice. So, unless you change your surroundings, you cannot expect to change the society or social politics.
A girl has the sole right to decide whether she would marry or not and with whom she would like to have sex.
And Meenal said ‘No’ to Rajveer. She never took Rajveer to be her boyfriend neither she had any intention of having sex with him. When a girl says ‘No’, it means ‘No’. So what if she wears western dresses, so what if she sports a sexy figure, if she goes for a hangout with boys, if she makes friendship with boys, if she takes one or two drinks? SO WHAT? If a man drinks, nobody questions his character; it is just a ‘health hazard’ for men, says Meenal’s lawyer, while a woman’s act of drinking clearly questions her morality!
It is time to train our boys in the proper way. Blaming a girl for her harassment is over. A boy should learn how to love and respect a girl. A girl has a soul, she has emotions, she talks, she thinks, she smiles; she is NOT just a sex object! You can touch her if and only if, she says ‘YES’. The word ‘No’ is important, even if she is a prostitute, even if she is your wife!
Whatever she does, it is a part of her life; she lives the life of a human—working, taking stress and chilling out when she needs. Who gives you the right to think that she is cheap and available?
The court dismisses all cases against Meenal and her friends and finds Rajveer and company guilty of violating women’s modesty. When Mr Sehgall, Meenal’s lawyer, leaves the courtroom, a lady constable greets him with teary eyes. She represents the face of women who have expected justice against suppression for so long!
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