Recently, while I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I came across a report about a video that went viral overnight. The video, featuring a rap performed by a person named Omprakash Mishra, was filled with licentious and vulgar lyrics towards women. The lyrics, which went, “Bol na Aunty aun kyan/ghanti main bajao kyan (Aunty, can I come over/Can I ring your bell)” were highly disrespectful. They were full of filthy innuendoes and rape threats. To top it all, of late, meets are being organised in various cities across the country where people gather and shout the lyrics of the song for no apparent reason.
It’s truly appalling that such a video received more than 3 million views and over 30,000 likes before being taken down. This not only shows the support it received from viewers before finally being removed (after being reported over and over) following a copyright claim. Amidst all the debate, I, as a citizen, am shocked at the way the video has been celebrated vociferously by the masses, and its consequent popularity. We have just helped another wolf masquerading in the skin of an artist shoot to fame. The popularity he gained overnight only proves that despite our best efforts to bring about gender inequality, we as a society have failed to secure a better place for women. A place where women can feel safer and be treated like actual human beings, rather than just meatballs to be stared at lecherously by the hounds.
It is also distressing that the crowd which cheered for Omprakash largely comprised of young people. Is our generation so hollow and devoid of conscience and morality that they feel no shame in backing another flag-bearer of hardcore patriarchy? Honestly, being a male, I’m sometimes ashamed of the gender I belong to, when people like Omprakash brag about their hollow masculinity and try to demean women with their filth.
The lyrics of this particular video haven’t added a new chapter to the book of patriarchy. Nor has the song created a new milestone in terms of derogatory lyrics towards women. For ages, women have been on the receiving end of the crushing weight of patriarchal traditions. Gender discrimination has settled on the mindset of the Indian diaspora like silt. It will take immense effort to scratch it off.
Thanks to feminism, women have started coming out in the open to criticize and disparage the patriarchy prevalent within families, relationships, in the education system, in jobs, etc. It has emboldened the half of the world to reconstruct the chords of the societal framework. The idea that the sole purpose of a woman is to serve her family and embrace motherhood has been questioned and critiqued. The fragile logic upon which these stone-age concepts were built has started collapsing.
This, of course, couldn’t be handled by those who have been comfortable throughout their lives with the privilege of being men. And, therefore, they have started fearing this section of society, which was no threat to them before. They can no longer cripple the abilities of women, who have seldom been allowed to sharpen their skills or talents properly. Women have traditionally been compelled to indulge in household activities in order to clip their wings from fathoming the limits of the sky. In spite of these impediments, women are raising their voices, standing against all odds and prejudices, and hoisting the flag high in the sky, to flutter for eternity.
I’m not a feminist. But I’m trying to be. It’s hard to be a feminist. Seriously! You cannot count yourself a feminist just by going through three or four feminist texts, or soaking up feminist discourse through discussions. It is a lengthy process. It’s tough for men to empathise with the despair and anguish women have faced by virtue of being women. But feminism can make you more human. It allows you to express the best version of yourself. Because, let me tell you, each one us is a victim of patriarchy. It’s an epidemic which has been eating away at our society for thousands of years, and yet we cling to it as if it’s a blessing from heaven.