So much is happening on the internet space, so much is being written about. All of us have ‘Me Too’ s. One can’t judge a journey without stepping into the person’s shoes. Outlets are always not available and when they are -people use them. ‘Me Too’ is also not gender specific; its applicable to both men and women alike.
Social media is providing or acting as an outlet for people to express themselves, to come forward and share what they went through. What I think is that we cannot equate two individuals-different people have different natures and personalities; some are extroverts whereas some introverts. You can’t keep two people in the same box! Just because of a few individuals you can’t blame everyone or the system. Everything has it’s benefits and the demerits; it’s solely on the user what to make of it. Social media spreads awareness but at the same time it passes judgements too. So, it should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Lets look at a couple of ‘Me Too’ moments and see if we are a party to it; being the mere spectators!
Me Too 1– When a little girl in the family is taught to cook and clean and the boy must go to school. Isn’t this a reality still in many households specially in the villages where it may not be financially possible for the family to send all children to school. How many of us have raised our voices and ensured that every child went to school irrespective of the gender.
Me Too 2– While in school, the girl has a limit and a deadline for everything. What she can do and what won’t be accepted by the society. She would mostly remain indoors and not indulge in many sports. Haven’t you as a girl heard of it from your parents, family, teachers and the so called well wishers reminding you of your limits as a girl. What did you do about it?
Me Too 3– While in college, you are expected to follow the codes of conservative dressing, the limits and deadlines are stricter order for you. You didn’t take up a hobby or follow your passion just because it meant stepping out of those boxes and boundaries created for you. Your life and career in many cases took a very different turn than what you dreamt it to be. Wasn’t that a Me too?
Me Too 4 – Did you get to choose the person you wanted to marry or got married to? Did everything happen as per your liking such as the customs or some form of dowry being involved. What did you do about it? If you accepted everything that was a part of the package called ‘marriage’, in spite of you not liking it, that’s a Me Too as well.
Me Too 5– Did you choose whether to have children or not and how many? Were you able to decide whether to work or not. Did you accept some customs without really identifying with them? If your answers are in the affirmative, please be assured that you faced the Me Too here.
Me Too 6 – You lost out on work opportunities because you were married or had children or were planning to have. Were you paid less than your male colleagues and you missed out on promotions as your abilities were doubted. What makes you think that you didn’t face Me too in this context?
Me Too 7– You worked many years in your organisation giving the very best that you could, achieving and exceeding targets but you didn’t get promoted just because the higher role was perceived to be more challenging and you were not even considered because of,”Will she be able to” syndrome. If this sounds familiar, here’s your Me Too moment.
Me Too 8 – Did people make a pass at you because you were a woman and you faced stereotyping as well as were constantly being judged? If you have faced any of these, count it to your Me Too story as well.
Me Too 9 – Discrimination on the basis of an individual’s caste, religion, race certainly counts for Me Too and these have severe impact on that person’s emotions, general behaviour and outlook in life. It becomes a kind of a chain reaction; you can’t give to others what you have never experienced.
Me Too 10 – Atrocities against all women and the degree of that goes a few notches higher if the women come from the weaker section of the society. This has been existing in our society since the time immemorial. Did we do anything about it? Aren’t we all as a society guilty of somewhere being responsible for it?
The list can get really long, let me put a stop here and urge you to think on the above points that are highlighted. Most of them will apply to women but in some cases they will fit in the experiences of men as well. Why are we talking about the sexual harassment at work place alone, it can happen anywhere – our homes, surroundings and in the society at large.
What is the way forward?
I would say restructuring the whole system, revamping our own thinking, dissecting the so called customs and societal norms. Using more logic and applying our emotional quotients to situations and circumstances of an individual. Bringing up the next generation as generation of people who can see what’s fair, practice morality, equality and display ethical conduct. Sensitising children from the young age itself- right from our homes, schools, localities etc. They become our steering in life. As it is rightly said, “Teaching children to count is fine but teaching them what counts is the best lesson that we can give them!”
Just be fair, non judgemental and have respect for the other person’s choice. Personally I have been someone who gave back and with interest. But not all can do it as we are all different as individuals – some need outlets and opportunities where they can express themselves and be heard. If that’s the choice they have made; lets help them and let justice do the talking. Fair opportunity for all should be the mantra.
PS. Me Too Picture taken from Google, with due credits.