This Facebook post is the only thing you need to read about #NotAllMen
Finally someone who got #NotAllMen right.
Gone are those days when battle against patriarchy and misogyny were fought on the streets of our cities. Now this battle is fought most vociferously on social media.
Take the example of the hashtag Not All Men, where many men took to Twitter after the gruesome incident of mass molestation in Bengaluru to defend their gender. After much debate and discussion, it still ended up being a bid to remind womenfolk that not all men are molesters, rapists, or even patriarchal.
Although, it did backfire when women across the country started sharing their experiences of sexual violence with the hashtag Yes All Women. This resulted in reminding these men that their facile attempt at making the conversation about themselves instead of the women who were assaulted on New Year's Eve is a disservice to the issue of women's safety.
However, a Facebook post on #NotAllMen is exactly what we need right now to get this debate started the right way, and call out the hypocrisy of the said hashtag.
Facebook user Rameez Shaikh, in his post, perfectly sums up why the biggest problem today is the way men have always perceived women.
"Pick female friends at random--anyone from your friend list, really--and ask them if they've ever been groped, molested, or sexually abused. After you're done hearing their multiple horrific stories, ask yourself a simple question: do all of them dress in the same manner? Speak in the same manner? Smoke, drink, have tats, piercings, or do whatever is deemed against our 'culture'?
"As a man, you can walk shirtless in a street thronged with 50 women without the fear of as much as being touched. Can a woman do that in a street full of men?" he asks in his post.
Shaikh not only slams the male mindset which is quick to defend itself when women speak of sexual assault; but he also attacks the the attitude of men who consider any discourse on sexism as locker room talk. He rightly points out what men aren't taught about women. "My biggest concern lies with the fact that we're never taught to respect a woman's consent," he says in the post.
That's right, consent. Remember when Amitabh Bachchan advocated consent in the blockbuster hit Pink: "No means no, it does not require any explanation or rationalisation, and when women, including sex-workers, say no, men must stop, including in marriage."
Consent according to The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 that was enacted by the Parliament says:
Consent means an unequivocal voluntary agreement when the woman by words, gestures, or any form or verbal or non-verbal communication, communicates willingness to participate in the specific sexual act:
Provided that a woman who does not physically resist to the act of penetration shall not by the reason only of that fact, be regarded as consenting to the sexual activity.
What we as a society need to change is the way men see women. Women are not sex objects, and their bodies are their own--not their male counterpart's. We also need to talk about consent, have a discourse on the fact that a unless a woman says "yes", nobody has the right to lay even a finger on her. We need to stop turning a blind eye to the bitter truth that almost every woman has at some point or the other in her life been a victim of unwanted overtures, has been groped and molested in public spaces and even at home.
While it is heartening to see men introspect the issue at hand, what remains to be seen is how many more men do this. We can only hope that this won't be the only post on #NotAllMen that doesn't dilute the issue of crime against women and doesn't try to change the narrative.