Shoojit Sircar’s recent film “Pink” deals with the sensitive issues that loom over our society like dark clouds. The ideas of power play, gender roles, and consent are strongly brought out through the course of the film. “Tujhe pata hai main kaun hoon?” (Do you know who I am?) There is this strong sense of authority and arrogance with which he repeats these words. His voice is loud, strong, a symbol of power. It is echoing around the room, the house, the city, the country and the world. It’s not just him. The others say it too. They all do, in different words. These words are a representation of his power, a message to any one standing in front of him. The message that clearly tells them that no matter who they go to, they will never get justice for the wrongs he has put them through. And of course, when he assaults a woman, no one can do anything to harm him. No questions asked, no FIRs registered, her voice is drowned by the loud laughter of his friends. And why would anyone listen to her in the first place? After all, it was just some ‘banter’. “Boys will be boys,” especially the sons of influential entities.
The girls should learn to be careful. They are the ones who ‘bring it upon themselves’. As a result, there are some rules that they must abide by, or else stop complaining about how unsafe Delhi is.
1. Don’t stay out late – “Hamare yahan ghadhi ki sui character decide karti hai.” (Over here, the needle of the clock decides the character of an individual.) When you do something like that, you are bound to get harassed.
2. Don’t drink with boys – This highlights your loose morals and brands you as being available.
3. Don’t spend time with boys or go out with them. I mean, religious places are an exception.
4. Don’t be independent or live alone in a city – These independent women confuse our boys today.
5. Don’t smile while talking to boys. Of course, this can be seen as a hint. You are bringing it upon yourself
The fact is that knowingly or unknowingly these so called ‘rules’ have been embedded into each of our mindsets. No matter which strata of society you may belong to, the notion largely remains the same. When a girl stays out late at night, drinks, goes out with boys, lives alone, independently or smiles while talking to a boy, she is looked down upon and branded as being available. She is said to have loose morals, a loose character or is accused of confusing the boy by giving him misleading ‘hints’. And that is absolutely sad and ridiculous. If a boy does the same, he is considered to be an independent and a mature ‘man’. In fact, men who live with their parent after a certain age are looked down upon. This skewed notion of gender roles needs to change.
The idea of consent needs to be understood by so many people in our society. The fact is that no matter who she may be, your girlfriend, your friend, your wife or a sex worker, when a woman does not say ‘yes’ it means ‘no’. And nothing, except a loud and a clear ‘yes’ can be taken as a hint for consent.