I have been in this college for over four years and throughout my college life, I have been grateful to this institution for providing me the access, the resources and the opportunities that it has allowed me to utilize for my growth and development as a human being. The experiences and the learning over these years have been far beyond the expectations I had when I first decided to join this institute. The only thing that I believed to be lacking for the longest time was a strong united student body. And a few weeks back, the students gave themselves that too.
I’m sure that all of us can recall the demonstrations conducted in the protest of an incident that had occurred within the third year batch where a few girls while practicing dance in their hostel for a college event were targeted with lasers aimed at their breasts. The lasers were being pointed from the third floor of the boys’ hostel, which is occupied by the boys from the same batch. The expression of discomfort against the same by the girls was followed by hooting and whistling from the boys.
The next day saw the girls standing up in their class, speaking for themselves, expressing their concerns and demanding the boys responsible for the previous night’s events to come forward and apologize. When no one came forth, the boys of the batch in entirety were requested to name the ones responsible for the act. While the expression of discomfort and concern resulted in such actions not being repeated, the student body was not satisfied. The lack of response from the third year boys and the misplaced sense of unity amongst them made the student body realize the prevalence of a culture of sexism and objectification of women amongst the students.
I believe that sexism is deeply engrained in our society. We are used to not just practicing it in our everyday lives, but we also appreciate and cherish it. It is only incidents like this (or Deepika Padulkone’s cleavage on TOI) that are so blatant that they cannot be ignored or enjoyed. I do it everyday, with or without realizing. And so do most of us. We tend to delve into it and ignore it, as it is the acceptable popular culture. We do not question it till we are forced to. But then, what happened on 29th of September 2014 makes me realize that after all, we do not question even if we are forced to. And it is this realization, which leads me to appeal to the student body that united in the fight against such inherent flaws in our society, the sexist culture prevalent amongst students.
I feel that the student body is right in attempting to name and shame the ones that promote this culture. And I ask for their help in identifying the students who indulged in acts of promoting sexism and objectification of women last night. I was shocked to see the number of students, both boys and girls who were active participants, and the others who stood by their side and cheered them on.
“Blue Eyes, hypnotize teri kardi hain mennu; I swear! Chhoti dress mein bomb lagdi mennu; Glossy lips, uff yeh tricks, Baby lagdi hai killer; Oh yeah, oh yeah!; Katal kare tera bomb figure!”
The excerpt is from one of the songs which were on popular demand. The playlist included the likes of ‘engine ki seeti’, ‘fevicol se’, ‘baby doll’, and many other popular numbers by our dearly beloved Yo Yo Honey Singh. I don’t think it is required of me to go into the details of these songs. Most of us have them memorised by heart. Well, we did all thump on the dance floor while our lungs shouted the lyrics along the loud songs. The content and excited expressions never leaving our faces for a moment. No shred of concern. No regard for the principles we set out for ourselves. Or at least the principles we set out for the third year boys.
Is it just me who found it a tad bit offensive? Especially in the light of recent events and the self enlightenment of our souls through a second wave of the poster campaign. Aren’t we the ones who have taken a stand against this persisting problem? Yet, many tend to openly indulge in activities that defy this position. I find myself at the helm of hypocrisy when I ask these questions. But who am I to understand the nuanced notions of hypocrisy. And how can I waste time trying to figure out what that is when there is this bigger problem staring me in my face.
In any case, I still believe that the student body at large will help me right this wrong. I request the people responsible for this offensive act to come forward and apologise to all those who were offended and felt objectified. I urge everyone present at the basketball court last night to support me in identifying these boys or girls who continue to encourage the culture of sexism and objectification of women.
In light of the same, I invite you all to protest and condemn such behavior. Kindly stand alongside me with posters, placards or candles for as long as it takes for us to rid this college of these open and public expressions of objectification. Well of course, all of this is conditional to your legs not hurting from all that dancing and your lungs still having the capacity to speak up after all that singing.
(The language used in this piece may seem strong to those who have never paused to give this issue a thought, but I would urge them to imagine what it is like to live in a society where one is subjected to objectification at the hands of the masses on an everyday basis.)