The recent outbreak of the phase-2 of the #MeToo campaign in India brought into light the ugly side of the media and entertainment industry. With powerful names involved in the campaign, we saw the downfall of prominent personalities.
In the last one month, my Facebook feed has been full of stories of #Metoo survivors as well as of people critiquing the movement and calling it classist, of belonging to the upper-class woman. Though the people who are critiquing the movement, intended to do so under the pretext of freedom of speech and expression, what they forgot while expressing their liberal views is that they are attacking the voices of others to make their’s heard. They forgot that they are claiming that the voice of one survivor is more important than the other. They forgot that their actions and opinions on this would mean that they are dividing the survivors into different social strata, class in this case, and eventually killing the few voices who have dared to speak up.
When we tag a movement like #MeToo as classist, we forget that we become the part of the problem – we think we are fighting against. When we tag a survivor of sexual harassment as an upper class/lower class, we forget that we end up suppressing voices ourselves, something we have been fighting against. When we start believing and preaching that the voice of one woman, one survivor is more important than the other, we begin to pit women against each other and further widen the gap instead of trying to narrow it down. When we classify a survivor, we create another social category instead of curbing one.
The #MeToo movement is undoubtedly taken over by women who are more urban than rural, women who are more educated, who work outside their homes, and are financially independent, but, the question here is, so what? Who on earth has the right to say that the narratives of these women are not important? That their narratives are not something, we should be bothered about? That their traumas are not worth our support – because they are capable of fighting and raising their voice on their own.
What is surprising is a few women have called the movement an upper-class propaganda – women who themselves belong to the same social strata. Do they realise that by accusing the campaign they are killing their own voices and telling the world that their narratives are not compelling enough to be heard? I am not against you, or your right to express your thoughts. I am happy that you enjoy the liberty of voicing your opinion, but don’t forget, when you do this, it’s because of the continuous struggles and fights of women like you and me all around the world over decades and centuries.
Women from all around the world, have stood together and fought – without letting the society divide them into different structures of caste, class, race, colour etc. It is because of these women who understood and believed that the fight is the same for all the women around the world and can be won together with intersectionality, that we enjoy the equality and rights we do today.
For any movement to be successful, all that is required is intersectional support. No fight can be won truly by one section alone. Feminism needs to be intersectional, or there is no point. So, let’s not fall prey to these divisions and rather stand together in this fight against harassment and violence, which we all go through in our lives in one form or the other.