There is a lot of talk around campus about gender neutrality, sensitization against stereotyping and the recognition of equal rights that individuals who are either L or G or B or T should have. Whether or not you agree with the content of each and every poster is not material. What is material is that most of the students, even the ones who had issues with the poster based method chose to engage with the idea. It was mostly via email and even that is ok. There were some people (unknown) who tore some posters but for the most bit there was debate of some sort.
One would have expected then that when the Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee (ASHC) stuck smaller posters that are
ostensibly less “confrontational” or less “controversial”, it would have at worst evoked a similar reaction without the tearing of posters. But it is surprising that there are certain unknown individuals who think that the reaction to a committee working against sexual harassment is to tear up the posters with whatever message they carry. Mark Twain’s words ring true – Concerning the difference between man/woman and the jackass/jennyass: some observers hold that there isn’t any. But this wrongs the jackass/jennyass.
There are one of two reasons that these individuals may employ. Firstly, and this warms the cockles of my heart, these people think it is funny.
Congratulations, you just managed to attract attention. Are you proud? Does this make up for your desire to validate your existence? Would you like a T-Shirt? Would you like a hug? ‘Cause seriously, we’re concerned about you.
The problem with this approach is that you not only ignore the message this sends but end up actively taking away from it. Other people, who may not be as sensitized as you then think that this is something that deserves to be not taken seriously. In fact, they begin to see the Committee working against sexual harassment or indeed any committee working on any of the things mentioned above as a personal insult to their existence. It actively incentivizes people not to engage and take up worse off positions by default.
Let’s be fair. Maybe the aforementioned is a generalization. Maybe not all people are like that. In fact, you could say to me – Somil, you’re exaggerating and spewing third rate bullshit like you usually do. Any other time I’d laugh and agree. But the stakes in these situations are so high that even if one person thinks any of the above (which by the way is a gross underestimation), then we are worse off.
You may think that there is no real harm in objectifying women or attributing their behaviour to hormones but ask someone who you don’t know what they think of your opinion. Then ask about a 100 more people in a sample size and tally the results. Of course, you’re too lazy to do that. Hell, Google it. If you’re too lazy to do that, then listen to people who are trying to work against a mindset which the sane portion of society is shunning as neanderthal.
We now come to the second reason. That these people are against the idea of stopping sexual harassment. They think it is the way to go. Because obviously unless you are bleedingly obviously sexist and cannot demean someone based on their gender or invoke an inferiority complex mindfuck in someone on the basis of how they look, their day is incomplete. There is something grossly wrong with that approach. It involves the reduction of an individual to a limited set of characteristics mostly based on warped notions of beauty or biological determination or on a similarly subjective criteria that best fits with this neanderthal worldview.
While you can clearly see that a lot of us do not agree with this, we implore you to come talk to us (people against sexual harassment even outside the committee!) and see if we can’t reason with one another and discuss why such a view is incompatible with society. Alternatively, you may have some argument that we had not considered. And you will convince us and get the Nobel for curing the world of issues related to sexual harassment by – uh – removing the negative connotation. Either way, there is a shining light calling out to you, though we readily admit that Chelsea winning the Premier League Title now is more likely than you winning a Nobel or convincing us, but for crying out loud, EVEN FOX NEWS ENGAGES albeit through Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity (to get context Youtube Jon Stewart Cliven Bundy Sean Hannity Daily Show) and enjoy.
Don’t engage in this bizarre behaviour where all your bravery is cloaked in tearing these small posters. You owe it to your harassing self to be better than that.
I admit that I have had issues erasing sexism and incorporating sensitization into my own head. I’m not perfect, nowhere close. In fact, I don’t like myself at times but I digress. I like to think I have cut down though. I wasn’t overtly sexist or neanderthal to begin with but even those of us who had adopted some subconscious aspects of these ways of thought are learning. It’s not too late for you. You can do the same. I promise you that even non-sexist jokes are funny. Really!
In case the rest of you were wondering what the posters were about, they simply ask you not to look at yourself through the tainted “societal” lens of what is beauty and what is an appropriate look. Of course, what the ASHC did not realize was that the real solution to this problem is to kill all the fat, ugly people. How dare they allow “societal” to look skewed?!?!
PS – In case there is a third lot of you that have personal issues with people in the committee, grow up and deal with said issues like adults instead of acting against a movement that aims to do good.