There were four active participants discussing the topic Metoo during Bollywood Roundtable Actresses Conference 2018. They were Rani Mukerji, Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt, and Anushka Sharma. Only two persons, Alia and Rani, appear to me as realistic.
It’s easy to complain, but the real task is to come up with the solutions. It’s an old adage that a problem well presented is half-solved. Alia very well identified the core issues, and Rani came up with some practical solutions.
To me, the points put forth by Deepika and Anushka seem superficial. Let me tell you why:
Playing victim isn’t the solution
When Rani was talking that one had to have the courage to protect oneself, Deepika interjected that she didn’t think everyone was constructed with that sort of DNA, unfortunately. She further said, “I completely agree with you (Rani) that for a lot of people who have not been into that situation is probably because (a) either they are lucky that they have never been in that situation or (b) they are strong enough to end it there & then, but unfortunately, there are women who are not constructed like that. They’d feel like cornered.”
It’s a scientifically proven fact that the species whose DNAs were not constructed to cope with their environment extincted. The best example in this regard is Dinosaurs.
According to Charles Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection, individuals best suited to their environments are more likely to survive. This idea is best represented by Herbert Spencer’s phrase: “Survival of the fittest.” If you have to survive, you have to stand and fight.It’s sheer stupidity to rely on other’s mercy for your survival. So, stop blaming others for your situation and start taking things into your hands. Click To Tweet
Metastasis isn’t the time for discussing precautions
On Rani’s idea of learning Martial Arts, Deepika retorted, “We have taken a step further. Now we are talking about self-defense. I’m saying why should it even get to that stage? Why should it even be allowed? I mean…we do not need to even reach to that stage where I need to learn how to defend myself…It’s great thing that I should learn Marshal Art but nip it in the bud – that situation itself should not arise.”
Denial is the greatest hurdle in finding a solution. You cannot arrive at a solution unless you accept there is a problem. Somehow, Deepika failed to recognize that the bud had grown into a full-fledged flower. ‘The nip in the bud’ stage had already gone.
In principle, she is right that the situation itself should not arise, but at present, the situation has arisen. Now, you cannot go back in time to rectify it. There’s no point in asking why it should even get to that stage.
It’s like asking why the cancer has been allowed to spread in the body at metastasis stage. This is not the time to discuss precautions but to decide which treatment would be more effective: chemotherapy or surgery.
Blame-game wouldn’t resolve the issue
In response to Deepika’s genuine concern for the women who feel themselves cornered, Rani suggested that those women should be encouraged to change themselves to fight back.
On this suggestion, Anushka snapped that it’s about talking the need to change women and not the other way.
In my experience, it’s wise to lock your doors to increase the chances of safety of your house rather than to appeal the thieves not to steal.
Most often, in our discussion on sexual harassment, we get derailed by opening front between men and women.
Alia rightly pointed out that differentiation between men and women was wrong because men also suffered from Metoo. Later, all agreed that it’s about power not gender.
Unexecutable thoughts are useless
Errors like straws upon the surface flow
One in search of truth must dive below
Anushka’s observations were peripheral because she never pondered over them seriously. She shuddered to think what would have happened if she was in such situations.
She said, “I was very fortunate that I was working with people who valued what I was saying…I got the opportunities also. Imagine if I had not got the opportunities, I shudder to think what I’d have become if I was still like that I didn’t get the opportunities. Would I change with this unhealthy environment? I shudder to think. I never had to.”
The points she mentioned during the talk are:
- There should be a little sense of fear.
- Environment should be so transparent that such things do not happen.
- Environment should be professional.
Okay, I agree that all the points are valid, but are they enough? How are you going to achieve them? No hint was provided. The same is the problem with Deepika’s input. They didn’t provide any ways to enact their thoughts.Thoughts are the things but only when executed. Unexercisable ideas are useless. Click To Tweet
Finding fault in others is easier than finding own
Many people didn’t like Rani’s perspective. Some asked her, “How a 4 month old baby girl is gonna kick her rapist between his legs?”
I absolutely agree that it’s indeed a valid question, but to my astonishment, no one has addressed what options were available with a 4 month old baby. No one even suggested a single way for a 4 month old baby about how to not get raped when someone’s looking at you with ill intention.
Another major issue that bothered many people was why Rani didn’t tell anything to men or perpetrators.
It’s like when you are getting wet in rain and someone suggested you to get an umbrella, you retort that why not saying anything to rain. Well, you are welcome to try this approach but my experience says that this approach could not save you from getting wet.
One person had problem with Rani’s calm composure. She said, “I am disappointed, to say the least. I’m glad the other ladies didn’t hide their disappointment.”
Well, showing disappointment won’t change the situation. It won’t stop the sexual harassment. An agitated mind cannot arrive at solution but a calm mind.
Take the rein in your hands
In January of 2017, Malaika Arora posted a rant, “My Safety My Responsibility.” It said,
Yes, you can excel at sports, win medals, and do whatever you like to do but if you wait inside your bathroom for them to go on their own, then it’s not gonna happen.
Mere complaining and showing disappointment won’t help. You have to find a way on your own. You may get some consolation by blaming others for your situation but it won’t solve the problem.
And, the greatest irony is most of the people who showed concern regarding Metoo were harassing Rani online.
5 practical ways suggested by Rani to tackle the situation
Take responsibility of yourself
There are things that are beyond your control. If some bad things happen to you, you are not responsible for it. It’s not your fault. It’s true.
But, there are certain things that are in your control. The cards that come into your hands are not in your control, but how you play with those cards are always in your control. You cannot control other’s behaviours, but you can certainly control yours.
Taking precautions don’t guarantee that bad things won’t happen, but they surely decrease the probability of occurrences of such things.
At this point, let me remind you that taking responsibility doesn’t mean victim shaming or blaming but taking initiatives to change the situation in your favour instead of waiting in despair.Taking responsibility doesn’t mean victim shaming or blaming but taking initiatives to change the situation in your favour instead of waiting in despair Click To Tweet
Believe that nothing will happen to you if you don’t want
In the movie 3 Idiots, Amir is preaching the mantra of ‘Aal is well.’ Sharman asks, “Will it solve the problem?” To this, Amir replied, “No, but it provides the courage to face the problem.”
This is what Rani is telling when she asks the women to believe in themselves and say that if they don’t want this to happen, it will not happen.
We become submissive in the state of fear, and it gives additional advantage to perpetrators. Believing in yourself boosts your confidence and decreases your chances of becoming a prey.
Also, Richard Wiseman, who has done more than 20 years of research to find the factors that make someone lucky, revealed in his book Luck Factors that lucky people expect their interactions with others to be lucky and successful. The reason he explained is that our expectations about other people influence how we behave towards them and how they respond to us.
According to him, we do not just have expectations about people, but rather, our expectations can actually cause people to fulfill those expectations and the effect of these self-fulfilling prophecies extends a long way.
Learn Martial Arts
Well, I couldn’t understand how what Deepika’s said is more practical! Anyway, Mansi is right regarding presence of mind. A calm & composed mind could only be present in the moment, not an agitated mind.
Decisions are taken in a moment. Scientifically speaking, the time gap between a stimulus and our response is roughly about 0.25 second. If we want to make an impactful decision, we have to be alert in this small time span. Martial Art could play a crucial role in this regard. In fact, it is conceived with the only intention to make us alert.
Martial Art is not just a self-defense technique that most people believe, as they believe Yoga is just physical training technique. They are mind-body balancing techniques.
These techniques were devised by spiritual peoples. Martial Arts, especially of Asian origin like Kung fu, etc., were devised by Zen masters. They are complete packages for your personality developments.
Raise sons and daughters equally
Rani believes that the problem lies in the upbringing of the children, and mothers play a crucial role in that. So, it’d be unjust to blame the children only. In a manner, they fail in parenting, too.
She founds that discrimination between sons and daughters begins at an early age of their childhood. Sons and daughters were raised differently.
Jyoti Arora, a female author, mentioned one such flawed motherhood in her novel Lemon Girl. In the book, the protagonist is raped by her own brother in her own house and her mother is asking her not to tell Papa because he would kill the brother.
Make a mass movement of awareness
Rani strongly mentioned that this situation could not be changed entirely by individual’s initiatives. A mass movement of awareness is indeed needed, but we need to begin somewhere. She advocated to begin with taking initiative to protect oneself first.
Problems are solved by doing actions not by sharing concerns. If you want to curb the issue, please suggest actionable steps in the comment section. Remember every effort counts.