I am often ‘branded’ on social media as ‘Bhakt’ and ‘Sanghi’, both terms used condescendingly in a derogatory way. Usually, the ones who brand me such identify themselves as ‘liberals’. A former JNU student (yes, one of the few who graduated on time), who identifies herself as feminist was upset at the idea of me taking my husband’s last name after my marriage. She believes it stems from centuries of oppression and patriarchy which I am trying to pass off as choice. While we don’t talk anymore (not surprised), she is regularly found on Twitter siding with the defenders of sexual abuse by the professor in her own alma mater.
It is very easy to spot such a ‘liberal’ They are the first to normalise any kind of sexual misconduct when the perpetrator is ‘one of their own’. We have seen this in many cases in recent past. In 2016, about four months after the accusations of molestation were put on Tarun Tejpal, by his colleague, columnist Malvika Sangghvi, in her column in Mid-Day defended Tejpal urging media persons who were voicing their views against Tejpal, to rethink their stand, since in the day and age of ‘rising intolerance’ a ‘liberal voice’ is the need of the hour.
She said the media campaign against Tejpal was relentless and ‘could be regarded as excessive’ and downplayed the molestation of a young girl by terming it as ‘grave error’. Tejpal should be pardoned because he was a ‘liberal’ voice. And then the deafening silence in the R K Pachauri, former chief of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), who was also accused of sexually harassing a colleague.
But it seems the patron saints of consent when it comes to preaching believe that they themselves are so irresistible that there is no reason anyone would not say yes to them. After all, sometimes, even judges think that a ‘feeble no’ may actually not be a no.
And these men are the very darlings of the paragon of feminism. There are various incidents where the self proclaimed feminists who take to Twitter and Jantar Mantar or Parliament Street to speak up against sexual misconduct while themselves standing behind against rape accused. Ayesha Kidwai, a professor at the beacon of free speech, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), has allegedly threatened students and tried to protect Ashraf Alam, a JNU professor accused and found guilty of sexual molestation of a student in JNU, by indulging in victim shaming.
When the list of professors and eminent intellectuals surfaced accusing them of being sexual predators, taking advantage of the position of authority they are in, many such feminist voices, who otherwise believe in naming and shaming of alleged sexual predators, appealed against such public trial.
Abuse on SM: Name & Shame them
Indian Army: Name & Shame them
Sexual Harassment: I’m uneasy with the Name & Shame.
Check the reason ? pic.twitter.com/5bxj27RnZl
— Ankur Singh (@iAnkurSingh) October 26, 2017
Most people in the list that was made public were professors of prominent universities in India and abroad, many of whom regularly socialise with the so-called liberals and voice their opinion on sexual harassment and importance of consent.
This makes me wonder why are people like this? Do they pretend to be ‘feminists’ and champions of women’s rights using it as a façade to shield their predatory behaviour? Could it be that they consider themselves superior than the otherwise conservative people and hence they overstep the boundaries, which they don’t essentially believe in, thinking they can’t be wrong?
Doesn’t this mean that their belief that they can never be wrong is more dangerous than actually being wrong. All the more baffling is the tribal mindset which is prevalent in the holier than thou ‘liberal feminists’ in their them against us which makes these otherwise vocal supporters of consent end up siding with their own. That would also explain the transgressions of such so-called feminist men.
Perhaps it is the conditioning or fear of being looked down or ridiculed by the the pretentious elites who masquerade as ‘intellectuals’ in the academia and media which makes people accept this as normal behaviour and hence they end up not calling it out.