OPEN LETTER TO SLUT SHAMERS AND MORAL POLICE BRIGADE

	 
A chance encounter of a moral policing incident on television the other day gave me the impetus I needed to write this. In another bizarre incident, the Tamil Nadu police picked up a few couples who were sitting in a park and took them to the police station as they were unmarried. 

Dear cops, society well-wishers, moral police brigade and other interfering busybodies,

Who gave you a right to character assassinate or demean others in the pretext of “safeguarding Indian culture”?I have witnessed many incidents where a woman is shamed for her clothes.Till a woman is not parading naked on the street (or even if she is) who gives some cop or “society aunties” a right to question her character. Whether she chooses to wear a saree or a gown is her choice. That doesn’t make her any less Indian.

When a woman is molested or abused, people ask her,what was she wearing that day. Isn’t it ridiculous? I mean, does it even matter? Why are we Indians so defensive and insecure about our fragile masculinity and continue to support our patriarchial roots? If a woman is abused because of wearing revealing outfits, then why do infants get raped?Instead of shaming the accused, sadly our society believes in shaming the victim.

“She should have dressed decently”
“She shouldn’t have partied with men”
“She drinks and smokes so she must be available”
“She asked for it”

Our society has a rule book for how “decent women” should behave (which is nothing but oppression against women and ways and means to do so) but why are there no such guidelines for how men should behave?

I always tell my mother, when I have children, I am never going to teach my daughter to cover herself and dress “decently”, instead I’ll teach my son to not objectify women and to respect them.

Regressive thinking is ingrained in our society which strips our freedom to dress and behave as we please.
Our constitution gives us the right to freedom. Freedom to live life the way we want with our head held high. When these “Slut shamers” character assassinate us, they don’t realize that how prominently they display their narrowmindedness and in turn destroy the image of our nation.

Why should people assume that when a girl wears a short dress she wants men to ogle at her? Why is the length of someone’s dress considered a measure of her consent? Sadly “moral policing” and “slut shaming” has become a norm in our society.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH FAT SHAMING?

Though obesity is a serious health issue, and there is a need to educate people to eat a healthy balanced diet, ridiculing and fat shaming is offensive and a sign of bullying. In a recent interview to Filmfare, Bollywood Actress Vidya Balan shared,” Years ago, I stopped watching my shots on the monitor at shoots because I would look at the monitor and be thinking, am I looking fat? Even at my thinnest, I have always felt fat. When I was a teenager people would tell me, You have got such a pretty face,why don’t you lose some weight?

As opposed to general assumption that “Overweight people = eat a lot” , obesity could be due to medical conditions like PCOS, hormonal imbalance etc.

Blame for fat shaming

Unfortunately, there are many sitcoms, movies and web series where fat-shaming is rampant. If you are still wondering whats wrong with fat shaming , then let me tell you something. Constant messages regarding why a slim body is a sign of perfection is drilled in our minds through advertisements and internet which unfortunately causes low self esteem. Insecurity leads to misconception that being skinny is beautiful and vice versa. Recently, Bollywood actress Neha Dhupia retorted, “Fitness is a priority and not ‘fitting into’ society’s standards regarding looks” to a fashion magazine for an article fat shaming her.

Being overweight during my teen years, I have always felt ugly, under confident and ended up with low self esteem. It took me a lot of time to love myself and accept the way I am . Self-acceptance is crucial. Instead of killing ourselves over looking slimmer or a shade fairer, we should learn to accept ourselves the way we are.

(Pic Credit – MsChanadlerBong/IndiaForums)

What is the Secret to HAPPINESS?

Are you happy? You might be thinking what a silly question but Believe me, Happiness is often underrated. Now close your eyes and think; What will make me happy? Does your happiness depend upon external factors like high salaried job, vast social circle, diamond solitaire or designer dresses ? If yes, then I do agree that it may give you a false sense of ‘feel-good’ factor but does it contribute to long term happiness ?

I believe, the secret to happiness is, to accept the simple fact that it’s not possible to be happy all the time. Surprised ? Let me elaborate. See, there will be days when you may feel sad, anxious or simply indifferent. You may have lost your loved one, you may have flunked all subjects in your college, your husband might be cheating on you, or any other adversity might be plaguing you.

It is natural to feel disappointed or sorry for yourself when things don’t go your way. But DO NOT let Self pity take over your Self-Compassion. Do not get stuck in self victimization. That’s when hope dies. Stop blaming circumstances. It’s NOT X, Y, or Z’s fault that your life is screwed. Stop whining.

It is your job to create a happy life for yourself ,and for that, you need to Believe in yourself. Tell yourself that you have handled and overcome every hurdle from your past gracefully and you will be able to do it in future too. More than the circumstances or situations, it’s your negative thoughts which cause you unhappiness.

A happy life does NOT mean having all “happy moments”. How you deal with negative emotions and conquer it, defines your happiness. Life is not a race. You are not competing with anyone. When your mind is at peace, your Inner contentment is happiness.

What I consider happiness may differ from how you define it, as happiness is subjective. Have anything to add?

#MeToo – EXPOSED!!

She should have dressed ‘decently’

She shouldn’t have gone to late night parties

She drinks and smokes, so she must be ‘available’

It’s HER fault! She “Asked” for it !

Our Society has a rule book regarding how ‘decent’ women should behave, but why are there no guidelines for molesters? Unfortunately when women are harassed, they find it difficult to speak up, as in our society, a victim is shamed, subjected to humilation and her character is questioned .

After Producer-Writer Vinta Nanda accused Alok Nath of Rape, Actress Sandhya Mridul and Deepika Amin have also called out on him for Sexual harassment. Names like Sajid Khan, Singer Kailash Kher, Actor Rajat Kapoor, Nana Patekar, BCCI Rahul Johri, Member of Parliament MJ Akbar, have also come out in the recent wave of harassment allegations.

India’s #MeToo Movement which has recently gained momentum, started when Tanushree Dutta called out on Nana Patekar recently for harassing her in 2008. Since then, many women have come forward and found the courage to speak out.

Columnist/Journalist Tavleen Singh in her column of 14 October calls MeToo Movement irrelevant and a shabby copy of the movement that started in Hollywood. Well, isn’t it unfortunate that people have failed to understand that MeToo isn’t about Bollywood or Hollywood. It’s a tool of empowerment to expose molesters and abusers. It isn’t about Men v/s Women, Its about having courage to voice your opinion and speak up about the men who have tried taking advantage. TV Actress Hina Khan has rightly said “MeToo is not a media activity to gain cheap publicity. Consent and Submission are not the same. Time is always right to speak”.

The only defence these men have is “Why report so late”, Well isn’t it better to be late than never? I urge everyone Not to stay silent. We are neither weak nor Alone. I have seen my own friend being harrassed by my faculty during graduation. If someone is harrassing you, send an email to DCW. Delhi Commission for Women has set up a separate email id to report your complaints metoodcw@gmail.com

Do Not let this opportunity pass. Let’s shame Him Publicly. Let’s make India Safe for Women.