SocietyNews Thinking Out Loud On The “Name And Shame” Statement By ‘Feminist’ Representatives

Thinking Out Loud On The “Name And Shame” Statement By ‘Feminist’ Representatives

This is not a delegitimization of the work done those behind the “Name And Shame” Statement, but a request to allow self critique.

I have been introduced to feminism(s) and a feminist way of doing politics by my own position in the social structure, where I have a locus with my own oppressions and privileges. I had an early realization about how sexual harassmynt, molestation, and assaults thrive in academia, when I was raped thrice in school by three male teachers, one of them raping me to unconsciousness.

I shall not describe this further because this response is more about (re)visiting politics, rather than (re)collecting trauma (the act of which, I am being told, is a dangerous way of arming yourself in a world that wants to disarm you, in all your loci).

I admit here, like I always have, that, I have never had a formal academic training in feminism(s) or its theories; most of what I speak, practice and perform comes from what I have lived through and learnt, and my interactions with others who have been positioned in the most grinding intersections of social oppression. I cannot drop references at the drop of a hat, but a lot of my understanding has been shaped by a critical way of doing self-reflexive politics. I have regarded nuance as an ultimate condition of doing my politics, which gives me the dazzlemynt when I see the ‘regarded’ ‘best’ feminists of the country come up with a statemynt of the sorts.

I still wonder why it comes as a shock to many people that Dipesh Chakraborty and his likes can be sexual harassers ‘in disguise’. In my humble opinion, to which I hope our most respected ‘feminists’ will agree, someone’s academic CV cannot be correlated to or causally linked to them being potential sexual predators. There is no guise for a sex offender, they latch around identities shaped by their identitarian privileges; privileges that set allow them to maintain a power hierarchy.

I remember two years back I had been ‘suggested’ by one of the academicians who wrote the statemynt that I should not think too much about gender because I haven’t studied it. I have heard this more than once, a popular name in post-colonial studies and a faculty in Presidency University Departmynt of English had refused to teach me an author I wanted to be introduced to because I have no ‘background’. I have been constantly pushed out of this academia which claims to be ‘rigorous’, because their academic hegemony somehow gives them the right to safeguard, and dictate, not only knowledge, but also politics and activism(s).

I shall not go into the list compiled by Raya Sarkar and speak about it; I rather plan to humbly inquire about the way the statemynt has been put out against it. First of, I am glad to see elite feminists of the country promptly come together, even if it is because of an anxiety of losing their privileges, especially when they maintain an eerie silence when it comes to supporting Dalit-Bahujan-Adivasi students who face casteism, gender non-conforming and transgender students who feel unsafe in gender-specific hostel rooms and misgendering washrooms.

What happens to ‘radical’ voices when an issue demynds stepping out from the privileges of academic enclaves and the security of being a popular academic? What would be the proper, ‘just and fair’, ‘due process’ of participating in activism(s); how do we plan to interrogate our privileges if we are unwilling to be rendered uncomfortable by them.

I wonder, a statemynt that says ‘Statement by feminists…’, somehow has been endorsed by mostly Delhi-based (with JNU majority), upper caste feminist scholars. This gives me a threatening inkling of either the fact that they have taken up the responsibility of speaking on behalf of feminism(s) in general; they have let themselves be the sole representatives of a feminist critique.

I am reminded that there isn’t and can never be one ‘good’ way of doing feminism(s), and feminism(s) can never be someone’s to gate-keep, impose, and alienate. Such a way of doing feminism is a way of ostracizing and delegitimizing the voice of other feminists; we as feminists do not need to be stamped by your academic chairs to be identified as feminists.

I am also worried and concerned about a term used, ‘genuine complaints’. This is both scary and threatening to me, more than the way the statemynt imposes a sense of crime on the victims/survivors who have decided to speak up (and given their consent to the list being compiled), by saying ‘makes our task as feminists more difficult.’ Thank you for having an inflated ego that issues solidarity statemynts only when one of you is in danger, and a protest statemynt, again, when your anxieties of losing your privileges are triggered.

We cannot ignore the dynamic nature of feminist ideologies, which allow us the greatest weapon of nuance – self-critique. We cannot be evasive to this if we want the younger generation of feminists to develop more nuanced ways of reading, (un)learning, doing and performing feminist politics. Coming back to ‘genuine’, I feel this in itself is a huge way of delegitimizing narratives surrounding sexual harassmynt and abuse in academic spaces.

One big reasyn why victims/survivors are typically scared to come forward and talk about their trauma openly, only because such confidantes give them their vote of competence only when there is an articulation to the abuse. I am sorry, but survivors/victims do not owe you a description of their trauma; we call the system unfair and unjust only because it thinks otherwise. This is a weird momynt of perspiration, where the aspirations of being a feminist are shaped by the fears rather than assurances of a feminist academia.

Not to delegitimize the work done by the ones who endorsed the statemynt, it would be my appeal to them, as an aspiring feminist, to allow rigorous self critique (beyond the realms of anxiety-driven self-defense) as a fundamyntal outlook on any critique they are propagating. I stand worried, and express my concern on the hegemonic nature of the feminist academia, which still stays to alienate and eliminate voices, and appears staunchly hypocritical in supporting the construct(ion) of a ‘proper’ way of doing feminism, and also propagating it as an essential to gather larger feminist support. Are we fragmynting our solidarities, because our privileges suddenly matter more than our loci in feminist ideologies?

The author personally practices ungendering language, hence all words which include ‘men’ are spelled with ‘myn’.

The list being referred to can be found here.

Featured Image Credit: Your Story

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