Like everyone else, I too was discussing the shameful incident of the mass molestation in Bangalore with my friends. But I wasn't expecting what my male friends said and it made me very uncomfortable.
'Hum bhi toh New Year's Eve par bahar the. We didn't do anything.'
'The Home Minister's sugar and ants analogy is not justified yaar. Sab ladke aise nahi hote.'
'We also saw girls in the so called Western attire but hum toh aise karne ka soch bhi nahi sakte.'
This brought me back to the infamous Twitter trend of #NotAllMen where, once again, men made it all about themselves.
The incident is enough to make me cringe at the thought of just existing as a young woman in India. However, those men with no such predatory tendencies seem to think that women owe them one.
'Because of these few sick guys na, the good guys are also blamed.'
'I don't even look like a rapist but any girl would get paranoid around me because of such sickos.'
'I feel like I have to justify myself because of these perverts and that's not fair.'
And this attitude is what you call patriarchal backlash.
The Indian man's ego seems to be more fragile than my body.
Dear men, here's a sincere thank you for NOT indulging in violence against us. I'm sure #NotAllMen become part of mobs molesting young ladies but why do these men who recognise women's issues expect to be looked at as heroes when what they're doing is only expected of a decent human being?
Often a boyfriend/husband is seen making statements like:
'I am alright with her having male friends.'
'It won't be an issue with me if she earns more.'
'It's alright with me if she isn't a virgin.'
These statements are extremely problematic because they give the impression that the men of this nation are doing some sort of great favour to women even though they're not. These statements also go on to negate the fact that women have any rights at all. The basic understanding here, at least at a sub-conscious level, seems to be that 'We are divine men because we allow OUR women to do things.'
Even in being liberated, the typical Indian man cannot leave behind his sense of control.
We don't give out medals to all those people who are not committing murders, do we? It's because that is the default behaviour expected out of a person. Similarly, men shouldn't celebrate women's rights being recognised by them at a personal level because it only furthers the idea that violence against women is normal but some handful noble men attain a certain kind of enlightenment by staying away from it.
There is something grossly wrong with a society that bestows the status of a hero to a person exhibiting normal behaviour that is expected of them. Any man acknowledging the basic rights of a woman is no hero. So, why tag him as one?
I don't think a man has the power of allowing a woman to do certain things because she is an individual who is a sum of her own decisions. Neither do I think that a man who gives a woman the status of a fellow human being is supposed to be applauded because women are fellow human beings to men. No one needs to give them such a status.