Were you shocked after listening about the “Bois Locker Room”? Oh… I have to say that you are late, but “better late than never”. I am not shocked at all, I am shocked at you that you didn’t know about the reality which is growing around us every day.
Are you interested to know why is it happening? Let me tell you a story… not very unique but rather very, very common for every child growing up in our country. I am 27 years old and old enough to share my experiences and young enough to understand the language that people younger than my age speak.
Who are these boys in the “Bois Locker Room”? No, they are not strangers, neither are they ignorant; they are your children, our children, and a reflection of where we are as a society/community. We say we worship the women as a goddess in our country and many consider the girl child as a form of Devi, the goddess. Sorry, but the reality is far different from what we think, rather, pretend.
The reality is appalling, and it starts from our houses. Everyone—be it rich, poor, rural, urban, men, women, Hindu, Muslim, common man, public figure, powerful and powerless—each one of us is involved and responsible for this damage. If you think you are not the one I am referring to, then, congratulations to you because there are only a few left who are like you.
Does this make you uncomfortable? It should.
Now think, why, and how this kind of language and thought has generated and traveled to their minds. Contemplate a little and you will realize what they represent. It is the sheer privilege of being a man. It is the result of the objectification of women in daily life, which means disregarding women as if they are only an object and we do it every day. It starts even before their birth; female foeticide is the sad reality of our country, and thousands of girls are killed every day before they could even be born. If they are fortunate enough to be born and live, then they have to face this society.
Our society never makes their lives easy and reminds them about their identity time and again, and stereotype them as per their convenience. We tell them how to speak, how to behave, what to wear, and even what to dream. We teach them to cook; we teach them household chores; we teach them to obey their father and brother (even if he is younger); we teach them to respect their elders; but forget to teach them to have ambitions/aspirations; we forget to teach them to become independent; we forget to teach them to speak their mind; we forget to teach them to be bold and dream and dream big. We are so busy teaching the social norms to our girls that we forget to teach our boys the life lessons. We forget to teach our boys to respect women, to consider them equal, consider them partners, and consider them human beings.
We make the women machines which will only do the things as programmed. If they survive, they are not true versions of themselves; they are reduced to an object. You may disagree with me and go on to say that I am a very negative person to think like this. I am sorry, I am not being negative. I am just sharing what millions of girls go through everyday in their lifetime. If you are not convinced, then ask your mother, your sister, your wife, or your daughter, and you will get your answer. If you observe closely it all boils down to one thing, that is “power”—the joy of being powerful, establishing that you are superior, and you have the right to dominate and get the work done as you want and use them for your pleasure.
Data speaks for itself. In India, one rape case is reported every 15 minutes, one acid attack reported every day, and every third woman since the age of 15 has experienced domestic violence. India has only 924 females per 1000 males. Across India, around 40% of girls in the age group 15–18 years drop out of school and colleges. The female literacy rate of India is 65% which is 17% less from its male counterpart. Female labor force participation in India is around only 26%. Female representation in the Loksabha is less than 15%. These are not just a coincidence, but a pattern which is depicted and followed by our society.
Don’t be under the impression that these are prevalent where people are uneducated, uncultured and that this is not your problem. By doing this you are only passing the buck and not accepting the truth, and making a fool out of yourself.
I studied in IIT Bombay, one of the esteemed engineering institutes of India, and you would expect some decency and thoughtfulness in language from the students of this institute. But the reality is that the institute is also the microcosm of our society living in the confined campus. I was shocked to hear when a group of friends (boys) were passing sexist comments while conversing among themselves and casually asking a friend who was sitting quietly, “Arre itna dukhi kyu hai, rape ho gaya hain kya tera” (Why are you so sad, have you been raped?). Does this sound normal to you? It shouldn’t. This was happening in the best institute in our country. Now you can imagine the normalization of rape culture in other places. This is horrifying for me and it should be for you all as well.
We have a list of famous phrases and sentences which are not restricted to our film scenes but are being used and said very proudly almost every day. Have you heard, said or appreciated these lines?
Ladki hain kya? (Are you a girl?)
Chudiya pehni hain kya? (Have you worn bangles?)
Mard ka baccha hain to “xyz” kar ke dikha? (Do, if you are a man’s child.)
I am sure you might have come across these lines; and this is not enough—we do have a comprehensive list of Bollywood songs which makes the issue even worse, but no complaints, because films are the mirror of our society. It is we who love the songs which objectify women. It is we who love the people who make this kind of songs. It is we who dance on the tune of cheesy and misogynistic lyrics. It is we who shamelessly make our children dance on the same songs in the parties, homes, and school functions—then how can we expect that our children will be responsible people, informed youth, gentlemen, and will respect women.
We can’t except a different behavior from our children, when we are guilty of not following what we preach, when we are so busy in our lives that we forget to spare time for our children to talk and let them realize/know/teach the values of life. We forget that when we say “Ladki hain kya?”, “Chudiya pehni hain kya?”, or “Mard ka baccha hain to “xyz” kar ke dikha?”, then essentially we are diminishing or ridiculing the place, power, love, and respect for our own mother, sisters, wife, and daughters.
We forget that Maa Durga (Goddess Durga) who symbolizes power and courage is also a girl. She also wears bangles and she is the one who killed the demon Mahisasura. We forget that Maa Laxmi (Goddess Laxmi) who symbolizes wealth and abundance is also a girl; she also wears bangles. We forget that Maa Saraswati (Goddess Saraswati) who symbolizes knowledge and wisdom, is also a girl; she also wears bangles. We have a lot of inspirational characters in our scriptures, history and in the present time, and have the ability to make India safe and the best place for our women and a girl to be born.
Later, a clarification in the case is reported here.