Posted by Rafat Munshi
I have this habit of sneaking into my husband’s WhatsApp groups (with his permission of course). It’s quite amusing to go through the chats of such “guys-only” WhatsApp groups. These chats revealed rather astonishing things to me. Following is just my observation which may not be correct enough to generalize. However, one revelation I came across was very disturbing—when men speak or joke about women it is only either of the two things:
- Viewing women only as lustful objects, from whom pleasure can be gained. This is devoid of any respect for women or consideration of them as equal.
- Downright hatred against them, considering them inferior or cunningly evil, what in other words, is called ‘misogyny’.
Now, this is a problem. In the sense that, it easily converts or influences the mindset of the society (or is rather a result of the mindset of the society). Crimes against women such as rape, sexual harassment at work, domestic abuse and dowry deaths are a result of this thought process towards women.
Women have been looked as sex objects and procreators since a long time in history. And that is what is reflected in their attitudes on WhatsApp.
I am not denying a third group exists—
3. Silent. These men do not laugh at any joke demeaning women, shared on such WhatsApp groups. They do not react with lustful emojis on women’s pictures. They do not share jokes about how men are harassed in their marital relations. This shows that they don’t have express hatred towards women nor they look at them only as lustful objects. Thankfully such men exist. Yes, there are men who sometimes also care enough to send something which encourage respecting women. But that is rare.
If men keep sharing lewd remarks about women constantly on such WhatsApp groups, what effect would it have on the mindset of other people? They would have the same thought process while looking at women on roads and while working with them in offices. That explains a lot why eve teasing and sexual crimes are so common.
Women have been looked as sex objects and procreators since a long time in history. And that is what is reflected in their attitudes on WhatsApp groups.
Misogyny can be traced back to many centuries and cultures. This misogyny in our modern society is turning into messages and jokes. It’s affecting relationships of people. Whenever a woman complains about abuse at home, most of the times, the ‘peacemakers’ declare the woman as incorrect. Questions are pointed at her character, her level of patience with her husband and in-laws, what all she is doing to serve her husband etc., even when the actual issue maybe about the misdeeds on the part of the man/husband.
If men keep sharing lewd remarks about women constantly, what effect would it have on the mindset of people? They would have the same thought process while looking at women on roads and working with them in offices.
But, it’s always about expectations from the woman while the man is portrayed as an innocent child, who can never be wrong and is in need of constant care. Such mechanism of the society to defend the man is simply disheartening. And hence, I realize that there exists an ingrained feeling of women as the “oppressors” in such people’s minds, which is reinforced by social media messaging and casual sexism on WhatsApp groups.
If anyone was brave enough to share messages about the empowerment of women, there would be at least one person who would discourage such ideas by pointing that the conversation is becoming “way too feminist”, as if it is a bad thing. What was a good move towards going against the status quo of the society is blatantly disregarded. Interestingly, in many such cases, if the person is confronted about their thought process, they would come back saying ‘just joking’!
Wouldn’t it be a better idea to share jokes, articles, posts which are more respectful towards women, to create a better, ethical and equitable attitude in life? Men should learn that women are people who deserve respect and dignity. Their opinion, decisions, complaints and consent matter.
Featured Image Source: Lopscoop