Friday, June 27, 2014

Men will be Men. Seriously?

They were standing at the metro station. The train came and a horde of passengers rushed forward. Natasha saw a man move his hand across her friend, Meera's waist and walk past without even a backward glance or any kind of expression on his face... like it was a mundane part of his morning routine. Natasha looked at Meera who seemed just a little bit disgusted, but apart from that she also had no extreme reaction, as if she had been used to this morning anomaly for a long time. She just opened her dupatta and spread it across her chest.
'Why didn't you say anything?!' Natasha asked unable to control her frustration anymore.
'Let it be na, men will be men,' Meera said with a dismissive shrug and a frown as they waited for their turn to get into the train.
'Men will be men?! Seriously? That's the most absurd argument I have ever heard!' 
They entered the compartment and stood near the door. Meera stared outside having nothing more to say but Natasha was in no mood to let it go.
'Do you even realize what this casual statement of yours - men will be men - implies?'
'You are not going to let it go, right?' Meera said with a sigh.
'No,' Natasha was quite agitated with Meera's offhanded attitude, 'Your innocent remark suggests that it's in men's genes to behave the way they behave... it means that's how they are and that's how they'll be. It implies that these 'poor' guys can't help it, that's how they are wired. They are programmed to burp and fart and lech and stare and abuse and molest. It means that they have no control over any of it because it is in their nature.'
Meera looked at Natasha silently, aware of the rising pitch of her voice and the many stares they were getting thanks to her monologue. 
"By saying 'men will be men' you indirectly mean that it's not their fault if they misbehave because that's how they are created. And if it's not their fault, then whose fault is it?' Natasha looked at her friend who just shrugged her shoulders.
"Obviously it's yours! It's always, always the woman's fault... for enticing him with suggestive clothing, behaviour, glances, flirting, etc. Your seemingly innocent statement takes the blame away from them and pins it on you... It's because of you that rapes happen as you dress in a certain way that mess with his head and men being men can't do anything except act out. It's because of the way you talk or drink or walk that you are molested and abused because men are behaving according to their basic nature. So, because they can't change, you must... you must dress conservatively, not smoke, not drink, not laugh, not talk blah blah. I can't understand why don't men find this statement more offensive. It practically means that they have not even an ounce of self-control, that they lack even the tiniest bit of will power."

Meera shuffled nervously, shifting her weight from one foot to another.

"Whenever someone says men will be men, I feel like yelling - stop turning the perpetrator into a victim!"

"Sshhh... be quiet, everyone is staring. I think you think too much. Now c'mon let's go, our stop is here," Meera held Natasha's hand and led her out, with her bent low. 
'Women will be women,' thought Natasha sarcastically, shaking his head.

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