Last week opened a can of worms. Where the can was in Hollwood and the worms were everyone from Harvey Weinstein to those who came in his support. Don’t you know, when you learn that your colleague sexually harassed women, what you have to do is go say in public that it is probably a misunderstanding or an ‘attention grabbing’ technique. Or say that it is not serious because you are just too scared that one day you might be accused too. Isn’t that right?
But looks like women have long crossed the ‘threshold patience’ to keep quiet. When actor Rose McGowan accused Harvey Weinstein of sexually harassing her, many came out with their experiences that showed that he was a serial offender. But guess what Twitter did? They suspended her McGowan’s account.
A short letter to Twitter that you can skip if you want because it just means ‘go to hell.’
What you did shows how pathetically sexist your algorithm is. If you don’t have technology that can’t tell abuse from protest and resistance, why are you still in business? I mean, you are here to censor our nipples and breasts and not one thing about unsolicited dick pictures? Random men give us rape threats and you think talking about one’s lived experience should be banned. What kind of people have you employed that they have not been able to this day address this problem?
Oh wait, I know. Those kind who think that these are not problems.
So women on twitter started a campaign
It was called #WomenBoycottTwitter and it saw loads of women boycott the social media to put their point across. That speaking about the problem was not the problem and that the problem was the problem. I am not sure if boycotting the same space we are fighting for is the apt method of protest but hey, anything is welcome because men seem to have thick skulls. We should probably be sledge hammer shopping now.
While this campaign was going on in full swing on Twitter, there was one woman who thought it was better to speak up than to boycott. Sheena exposed yet another Harvey Weinstein of India. She tweeted about the sexist practices and sexual harassment that was rampant in a bar called High Spirits Café in Pune.
Owner Khodu Irani and his cronies were repeat offenders who committed sexual harassment, she revealed. This was followed by scores of women approaching Sheena, revealing their experiences that were similar in nature. These were published anonymously and not. Result? The amount of sexual harassment that has been going on in the bar is now all over the internet. In all of this, Sheena, the woman who started it and who from then has had to face numerous hate messages stood her ground that she was against the practice of harassment. That she wanted safety for the women. Whether it was in a bar or a hospital.
The First Hashtag
Now the first hashtag that you need to think about this Diwali is one coined by Sheena called #PrivateFeminism. This one is addressed to men who secretly offer support to women when they come out as victims and survivors of sexual harassment. Sheena was getting private messages from men saying that they were in complete solidarity. You know what she thought and quite rightly? That doing that behind closed doors was a load of crap. What good was that?
Men, please get this straight. It is time to stop being private feminists, as Sheena calls it. You have been enabling violation of our bodies for centuries and now when you think you need to tell us that it was wrong, you come and whisper it in our ears? No, thank you! If you think we are being wronged, climb those damn stairs, rise to the roof above patriarchy and shout out from the rooftop that
- You are sorry
- We need to stop this, comrades.
Got it? So here is what you need to do. Every time a man comes to you (it can also be a woman who has been silenced by patriarchy) ask them to stop right there. Ask them to shout. Address the gathering. Say ‘sex’ so that everyone’s attention goes that way and then speak about the violence towards women and how they have been enabling it by being private feminists. The other lot who think that none of this matters can always live under that stupid rock.
Following her call to put an end to private feminism, a lot of men, under another hashtag coined by Sheena herself called #SoDoneChilling started tweeting stuff like below. Louder, we say!
The second hashtag
This one is doing rounds on Twitter and Facebook like crazy. And you know what? That’s pathetic. It is called #MeToo. The campaign is one asking women to update their statuses saying ‘me too’ if they have ever been sexually harassed. As women, we know that all of us have been so it is supposed to mark the enormity of the injustice.
So when you are celebrating the festival of light, look at every woman you check out. Look at every woman you interact with and live with. Understand that they are all in some way or the other victims of sexual harassment. How does that make you feel? How would you feel if you were filled in a room full of people whose injuries are visible to you, are bleeding? So yeah, even when you are celebrating, you are surrounded by people who have been violated in a similar fashion. It’s just that most of the time the injuries are not visible. The other possibility is that they’re not around because they are dead.
Women are people
The hashtags for Diwali part was just so that we get your attention. I mean, like seasonal greetings, you know. Or else why would anyone think about sexual harassment. Diwali sweets and crackers are much more interesting. So here is the thing. Women are people. One radical thought to live with huh?
Reality based hashtag call – here is another coinage for all of you who came here thinking it was about Diwali. Gotcha.