*Trigger Warning: Sexual Harassment*
In some quiet corner of Instagram, a woman posted a story about how she was sexually molested by a man at work and how she is now somewhat scared of every man she meets.
Now, the chances are that her messages are filled up with some men. Men, who will start arguing that “not all men“, are mostly involved in such wrongdoings. At a time when she needs and is actually asking for support and more power, she faces backlash from people.
This is just a hypothetical example. Unfortunately, the reality we live in is a lot worse.
In the era in which the female population is more and more active in voicing their opinions and demanding their rights, they are frequently turned down by a part of the society that still does not find anything wrong with the existing social structure and notions.
Feminism (also called the new “F-word”), which works towards achieving gender equality, is at an all-time high and rising, with support from people belonging to every community pouring from across the globe.
The movement against sexual harassment, saw women from all over the world speaking up against harassers from various industries: movies, politics, journalism, sports etc.
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— Youth Ki Awaaz (@YouthKiAwaaz) October 15, 2021
A major part of the feminism revolution was the #MeToo movement. It initially began from some small corner of Twitter and blew up with thousands of women coming forward with their stories of sexual assault at work, household or school. Unsurprisingly, many of these cases involved high profile men in businesses and politics.
The movement was powerful and extremely saddening at the same time. It was like a mirror that these women showed to the society highlighting its toxic, patriarchal and misogynistic practices for once. It showed how difficult it is to be a woman, even in the 21st century, in which she had to be cautious of everyone around her.
In such a fast-growing world, a section of society continues to bifurcate between men and women based on age-old notions.
Being hateful towards the individuals who work to achieve equal rights (feminists) is another “trend” that the online world has seen. These non-feminists believe that women work selfishly and exclusively for themselves, thereby completely forgetting the male community.
Man-hating is one aspect that has often gotten associated with feminism. Not acknowledging that there are people who engage in such kind of “pseudo-feminism” would be wrong. Pseudo-feminists exist, of course, but disregarding the voices of millions of other women feminists because of a few instances, sadly, shows the social standing of the gender in the society.
Patriarchal notions are so deeply embedded in the minds of the general public that a few cases of wrongdoings threaten the credibility of the entire female population. At the same time, the men do not face the same situation.
For instance, when a few cases of women making false allegations came up during the MeToo movement, the credibility of all the cases started getting questioned, with a large part of the population calling the women liars and attention seekers. As a result, the survivors have had to face much worse consequences, from familial pressure to backlash on social media, than the men who were rightly accused.
A similar hashtag titled “#NotAllMen” started trending across all social media platforms and called the feminists not to start “man-hating”. Unfortunately, the hashtag continues to be in use, wherein people feel that in the present scenario men are inferior to women. This allegation is laughable, to say the least.
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There are a lot of things wrong with this movement. Sure, not all men. But every woman of every age, race, religion has faced some or the other kind of assault by a man in her life. We know, not all men are molesters, stalkers or rapists. But most of them still live with the mindset that screams their superiority over the females.
Every woman around you or me will have a story in which she was stalked on her way home from the market or was eve-teased by a couple of boys who were standing beside her or was getting creepily stared at by two middle-aged men in the metro.
Not all men. But every woman.
Male privilege exists in the basic structure of our family to a hearing in a courtroom. This is the bitter fact that our population has normalised.
Why do we, as a society, fail to acknowledge that men in upper-class backgrounds, coming from rich literate families can also perpetrate sexual abuse over women in professional as well as personal environments? #MeToo #PriyaRamani https://t.co/6M9W2CJ86V
— Youth Ki Awaaz (@YouthKiAwaaz) February 19, 2021
The only conclusion I can draw from this is that such people fear feminism and think of their privilege getting directly threatened. In addition, the removal of this privilege would result in taking down a social order from which the men, voluntarily or not, benefit a lot.
I agree that there are situations in which men have to face the stereotypical world too. From having to live under the pressure of taking the financial responsibility of the entire family to not talking about their emotions, there are stereotypes attached to them as well.
But the question is, why are these issues only talked about or argued upon when a woman asks for her basic right to life? These are grave issues that men have to face every day and shouldn’t just be used as an argument to get back at someone online.
Fearing the loss of an unearned privilege through a revolution led by women is what sparks the debate because the gender-biased mindset screams “teach a lesson to the opinionated woman”, and thus, sparks fear of the newly born “F-word”.