Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Home News Reports Kamal Haasan telling women how to ‘non-violently’ combat violent abuse is peak mansplaining

Kamal Haasan telling women how to ‘non-violently’ combat violent abuse is peak mansplaining

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Hassan didn't like the idea of a woman operating a nunchaku like a trained martial artist for self-defence, and said that woman would fight domestic violence with 'non-violence'

On the first day of the New Year, philanthropist and FoodBank (India) founder Sneha Mohandoss posted a video, highlighting the importance of learning self-defence for women to avert harm, in the face of domestic violence against women. In a tweet, she wrote, “Feeling Confident in your Ability to Protect yourself Empowers you to live with less fear & more FREEDOM.” Her tweet was accompanied with a video, where she was seen seamlessly wielding the martial arts weapon chainsticks, also known as nunchaku or nunchucks.

However, Actor-turned-politician Kamal Hassan didn’t like the idea of a woman operating a nunchaku like a trained martial artist for self-defence. He thought that woman would fight domestic violence with ‘non-violence’, and decided to engage in a typical act of mansplaining, wherein a ‘clueless’ man resorts to giving unwarranted advice or explanation to a woman under the impression that she must be less knowledgable than him by virtue of her gender.

Hassan replied, “Dignity and equipoise are important to your protection and empowerment. With the above qualities, your self-defence can become non-violent. When non-violence meets violence, there is no combat; clearly the criminal is exposed. Your confidence can do more damage than pepper spray.”

The actor implied that a woman must ‘display confidence’ and resort to ‘non-violence’ even in the face of violence and aggression. He suggested that doing so will somehow miraculously thwart violence of an aggressor and thereby can supposedly inflict more damage than pepper spray, a common self-defence item women use this against violence against them. This is despite the fact that domestic violence remained the top crime committed against women in 2019. National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reported that 1.26 lac cases (more than 30% ) out of 4.05 lac crimes constituted domestic violence.

Activists have highlighted that domestic violence cases often fail to generate public attention as it happens behind closed doors. They argue that many such cases go underreported or get brushed aside with the complicity of legal workers, healthcare professionals and even the police.

Netizens call out Kamal Hassan for mansplaining

While responding to the actor, Sneha Mohandoss wrote that it was a sad plight that people did not know to read between the lines. “I rather stand and face a criminal with confidence than pepper spray him and run away. The tweet clearly says that there is a DIFFERENCE between confidence and fear,” she emphasised. Sneha further added, “Confidence to attack when threatened is what has been hailed in his tweet, Kamal Hassan. Self-defence with confidence is what makes a woman more powerful.”

Another user, Kushal called out Hassan’s ‘male chauvinism’ and stated, “Non-violence will expose criminals perpetrating domestic violence and women lack dignity and equipoise to fall victim! He says confidence can do damage, so women lack confidence? But not a word on perpetrators. Male chauvinism at peaks.”

The patronising and unsolicited advice of Kamal Hassan did not go down well with journalist Rituparna Chatterjee. She cautioned, “Excuse me? You are followed by millions. Please stop spreading the false narrative that a woman’s confidence is enough to counter brutal sexual violence. Stop absolving men of aggressive behaviour. Stop putting the onus of their protection on women.”

While calling out his ‘idiotic’ tweet, another user wrote, “Apparently, KH thinks that women should choose non-violence when they face violence. Also, when she faces a physical danger, she should use her “confidence” instead of pepper spray to save herself. I am still confused as to what this idiotic tweet means.”

Other Twitter users were left wondering whether Kamal Hassan decided to start the year with mansplaining or he is ignorant of the domestic violence faced by women in India.

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