The journey of a Hashtag to a Movement
India is going through a dynamic cultural shift, a shift where women are equally independent of making their own life decisions. Such decisions are highly contradictory to the ideas of those raised in the patriarchal and prejudicial society causing insecurity and fear of losing control.
After all, it is a country where women are often assaulted or have acid thrown on their faces with the help of an ineffective legal system which keeps them from throwing perpetrators under detention.
The #Metoo movement is far from a glorification of rape culture. It is an outcry to blast an ugly reality that had so long been shunned by mainstream media.
It is the refusal of women to give up which reassures us about where our hope lies for a brighter future for women in India.
What makes this movement so empowering for millennials and older generations is the ability to chain their experiences behind a hashtag to confide in each other.
Plummeting Economy one Hashtag at a time?
#MeToo has been an unprecedented phenomenon and has since been Googled in every country on earth. It has struck India by force while quickly snowballing into a movement to open up a lot of eyes to the appalling extent of sexual assault in our society.
The repercussions of #MeToo have included public apologies, resignations, and sudden shutdown of some prominent giants in the entertainment industry.
What started as a mere battle of hashtags quickly morphed into a career-destroying angry mob and with more men being called out, the hierarchal power structures are now exposed and laid bare.
To Initiate or Not to Initiate…That is the question?
Rushing to judgment before concluding defies core values that Indians hold dear.
Men nowadays are unsettled about approaching a woman or initiating conversations, wondering whether any of their past actions would boomerang to haunt them. The line between creeping someone out and sexually assaulting them is getting thinner by the day.
According to a Vox and Morning Consult survey, 63 percent of women surveyed were concerned about false allegations.
And this is sad because it hurts many women and even some men who legitimately do experience abuse. It shows how most men need to be educated on what consent is while some women need education on what is harassment.
Battle of the Stereotypes
Many incidents in the past that have given, over the years, so many reasons for victims to shout, “Me too” be it dowry or female fetuses being aborted. So the anger of the ones who are questioned on their right to humanity is natural, a bubble that is fuming since decades is eventually boiling over.
With the legalization of section 377 and #MeToo garnering such a positive outbreak, there is an interplay between public consciousness and the law as victims are now more likely to be believed.
While a majority of the abuse documented has happened at the hands of men, one cannot label the entire gender as misogynistic and abusive.
While we are witnessing something like this at such a global stage, it saddens to see the movement becoming a superiority war of the genders instead of uniting and supporting each other, and most importantly, “listening.”
An End or an Extended Pause?
The Media along with the Internet has portrayed #Metoo to be a “woman” issue when in turn it should be termed as a “human” issue.
Such horrific incidents happen because perpetrators are secretly admired by other men who’d like to be perpetrators but are afraid of getting caught.
And if you’re wondering, these people haven’t gone away. They are lurking somewhere under a stone, just waiting for the time they think nobody’s looking anymore.
Internet – An Alternative Reality
An illusion which makes one feel obligated to play someone’s character because they have the liberty to do so, at their fingertips.
Social media is where one tries to look all put together and perfect while the reality remains like an unfinished puzzle. Having to deal with limited or no repercussions, people likely “act out” be it positively or negatively while online than in real life.
The #MeToo conversations in India are limited to a certain bunch of English-speaking, internet-enabled people while the ones working in less glamorous and lower-profile industries are still struggling to make themselves heard.
If one were to count the lined up pending cases of women catering to the lower socio-economic background, the absolute numbers are enough to send chills down your spine.
There is no “I” in Teamwork
#MeToo in India is emphasized in a manner which fights for giving women “the superior share at the table” but the reality is more about taking the table apart in order to build a new one altogether.
The movement focusing on misogynist and patriarchal behavior shares a similar vision for a better world. A world where respect is common, where everyone comes together to destroy gender biases, where every individual is more empathetic about the lives of others.
#MeToo – A Social Fad or a Lasting Trend?
Indians have a short memory in general. People forget, forgive, or don’t even know” depending on the severity of the allegations.
Social media seems harsh to these men, the reality that lies beyond Twitter is a testament of the common public’s short attention span and their extreme forgiving nature towards celebrities.
While social media has been a force to reckon with it also carries along with it the curse which allows users to get over a piece of information and move towards the next trending topic. So would #MeToo soon just be another Page 3 news giving us a reality check of the apathy shown towards the survivors?
There’s a lot more work to be done when it comes to measuring India’s attitudes towards #MeToo. The complete picture of how our country thinks about #MeToo will take time, and much extensive research, to flesh out.