Recently, the Hollywood experienced a tsunami when the giant Harvey Weinstein was alleged of sexual harassment and rape by several actresses. The world woke up to these charges when Gwynth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie accused him of sexual advances during the start of their career. Harvey Weinstein is associated with several hit movies like Reservoir-Dogs, Pulp-Fiction, Kill-Bill etc. Being in a powerful position, he is alleged to have abused his power to the full extent. He is claimed to have assaulted women with impunity for several years until recently. In the wake of these events, actress Alyssa Milano has revived the ten year old movement by youth activist, Tarana Burke. Here Milano has asked women to post #MeToo on their profile if they were harassed or sexually assaulted in their lives.
In a matter of days, millions of women tweeted #MeToo and some shared their horrific experiences. A-list Hollywood actresses Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lawerence, Olympian Gymnast-Mckayla Maroney opened up and forced us to rethink our notion of progress. These events have made one thing clear that even in the twenty first century, women are still vulnerable to sexual assault and are exploited in day to day basis. The degree of exploitation could vary from country to country.
If we compare our Indian society to the West, we are far behind to provide equals rights to women. In our country, the exploitation of women starts when they are not even born. Unlike West, Indian families treat male and female child differently. The domestication of women start right after they are born. Have you wondered why only girl child is told to “sit properly”, “talk softly”, “dress graciously” and zillions of arbitrary dictums? Why we put our girls on the strenuous training of being civilised?
The simple answer from a layman perspective is to protect them from the “predators” and it is a common notion in our society that these “sexual predators” attacks only those who do not follow the “norms” of society. Instead of punishing the culprit, we question the victim. We ask the victim, “why do you dress like this? why were you out in midnight?” Last year on the eve of new year, shameful mass molestation took place in Bangalore. The state home minister alleged “western ways” the real culprit.
Amidst all these instances of regression, there is a silver lining. Gone are the days when women silently bore with the wrong doing of opposite gender. They are using every available avenue to vent their feelings. In popular culture, online platform like Girliyapa, AIB etc openly talking about issues related to women. The movies like Dangal, Queen are surely changing the rigid structure of our society. The millennium woman is going to be strongest and most aware of her rights. She is not going to wait for prince charming, who rides on a white horse. The subservient women will soon become a rare species hopefully.
About the Author:
Hi I am Vipul Saklani, pursuing Law from Faculty of Law, Delhi University.