I woke up to the news of Kangana Ranaut alleging that the ‘Queen’ movie Director would bury his face in her neck, hold her really tight and breathe in the smell of her hair every time they met socially.
With so many women (especially actresses) talking about the harassment they faced, I wonder how do us ordinary women complain/ act upon it?
Many a time when you meet people and you try to shake hands with them, some of them try to hug you. I often find that if you are uncomfortable and ask them to STOP doing that, they will often retort with ‘I thought you were a broadminded woman’. If you don’t stop them, then they will ‘graduate’ from holding you tight/ trying to kiss you (first your cheeks and then your lips)!
NO NO NO! This is NOT right!
Yes, I am broadminded but me being friendly/ hugging someone is NOT an invitation to invade my personal space and go any ‘further’.
One of my brother’s friend who came from a ‘closed’ society where the women were kept in parda (veil) – would hug me and my sister. While we didn’t know what to do about it, he ‘graduated’ to kissing our foreheads till our mom told him off!
When the episode with Papon lip-kissing a reality show contestant, a 14-year-old child surfaced, my question was: Is it commonplace for Indians to lip-kiss children? Do YOU lip-kiss your (girl)child? Maybe when they are babies but after a certain age, do you continue?
As women we are often caught up in situations where we choose to keep quiet even when we are uncomfortable; sometimes because we don’t want to be judged, sometimes we are too tired to create a scene. But more often because we respect the relationship we have with the person and we don’t want to spoil it or put him at unease especially in front of his/our families/friends and colleagues.
As they say ‘women have a sixth sense’, I would say even men have one: it tells them that whatever they are doing is wrong – however, they choose to ignore it and enjoy their two minutes of fun at the expense of the woman.
With modern times, things are changing; with friends hanging out together, partying or going to restaurants etc. As shaking hands and hugging have become commonplace, it is important for men to know that a handshake is just a polite way of greetings – there is NO hidden invitation. It is equally important for women to speak up at the very moment when they felt uncomfortable. Go ahead, make some noise!
As for me, without sounding like a moral-police, I am now switching back to the age-old ‘namaskar’ with folded hands. I don’t touch you-you don’t touch me. It is up to ME, to offer my hand for a handshake or to hug you or not to.
I will borrow few lines from the movie Pink: “ना का मतलब ना होता है. ना सिर्फ शब्द नहीं है, अपने आप मे पूरा वाक्य है. इसको किसी तर्क, स्पष्टिकरण , explanation या व्याख्या की जरुरत नहीं!”
No means No. NO is not just a word, it is a whole sentence that does not need any argument, clarification, explanation or elaboration.
So, next time you feel uncomfortable, speak up – period!