A very warm good morning to everyone present here. I am Suchita Patil and my hobbies include reading books, destroying patriarchy and crushing misogyny. I am sure by now you all have realized that I am going to be talking about gender discrimination. To be specific, my topic is Sexism, Feminism and Rape Culture.
Sexism is the discrimination or oppression faced by someone due to their sex or gender. It can affect anyone, but let’s be honest, it’s usually women and girls who suffer the most. A simple fact about me that I think everyone should know is that, I am a feminist. And no, I don’t hate all men. Feminism isn’t about hating men or thinking that women are superior. Feminism is about equality between both the genders. Being a feminist for me means, not being blind against all the oppression women go through. You don’t have to be a women or a girl to be a feminist, anyone can be a feminist as long as they believe that everyone is equal, regardless of their gender. If you didn’t know that before, I am happy that I could help.
Now I know what you all must be thinking. It’s the 21st century, we all have developed and progressed so far, do we really need to talk about this anymore. But, is that really true? Have we really left our old mindset behind? And if your answers to the aforementioned questions is yes, then please stop lying or being delusional. I agree that some of you may not be as narrow minded as the previous generation but, it’s the majority that counts. I’ll give you all a recent example. On November 27, 2019 a cruel incident of rape and murder of Priyanka Reddy took place in Hyderabad. Now though this is sad, it isn’t unusual because rapes happen all the time in our country. Yes, it is disgusting, but what actually disgusted me more, was the news reports and the outlook of general audience about it. I saw a news program in which a female reporter went on the local trains and asked the people around about what they thought were the reasons behind all the rapes happening. You won’t believe, or maybe you will, most of the answers revolved around the women’s clothing and the timing. They all excused the men saying, if she is wearing a revealing dress she is asking for it. I mean, really? Not only were these answers given by the old men, but also by teenagers and women. First of all, this is why I don’t believe that our generation has made any progress in their mindset, but, when women believe that one of them is at fault then how are we ever going to change others mindset about it. And as if all this wasn’t enough, later on after the encounter of all the assaulters, rather than being proud of the police department “our beloved representatives” where holding a debate on whether or not the encounter was justified. If this doesn’t tell you about our country’s mindset, then what does?
At the start of my speech I had to clear what feminism was about. Why did I do that? I mean, who doesn’t know about the feminism act going on? Everyone does, but how many of us actually know what it exactly is about? I had to state that being feminist doesn’t make me view men as inferiors because that’s what is being spread about us. And why does that happen? It happens because the source from which everyone learns about everything, is being run by a patriarchy. This is another reason why feminism is required. If you only get to hear one side of the story then can you really be unbiased? And yet when we actually get to know the other side, it usually has filters and loads of editing which is done by— guess who? The superiors, obviously. The ones who know everything, who are the responsible and mature ones even though sometimes, they cannot control their animalistic urges after seeing a bit of skin. But, what’s new?
Girls are the ones who are supposed to be alert and conscious all the time. Every mother prays that her daughter shouldn’t be the next victim but do they also hope, that their son shouldn’t be the next assaulter? I am afraid to find out the answer. Misogyny comes into play when the victim is shamed for being ‘too drunk’, but the man is defended by saying his actions were influenced by alcohol.
Women are said to be paranoid if they say that they don’t trust men but, how are we supposed to trust them when we hear a new rape case every day. I saw a tweet recently that I would like to share with you all. It said and I quote, “Of course #notallmen; but when the monster & the hero look the same, how can you blame women for not being sure which you are? #YesAllWomen.” To make you understand this let us consider a bowl full of chips. 30% of them are poisoned. Now if I tell you to eat them, will you? After all not all chips are poisoned. Do you understand the situation now? I hope you do.
I could keep on pointing out the problem in our society surrounding sexism and rape. But I am on a time limit, and just covering the topic isn’t enough. What I would want everyone to understand from my talk is that, the first step at stopping sexism and rape is changing our mindset.
Instead of saying, Don’t Get Raped say, Don’t Rape. If you know someone around you that is unaware of how much damage their thinking can do to the society, especially to the women, then make them aware. Next time when someone’s getting assaulted or abused, let it be however small of an inconvenience, make sure that you stop it. Support and believe the victims. Don’t joke around about rape and violence. Educate yourself and the people around you on what it means to get and give consent.
Hopefully this speech has made you a bit more open to talking about sexism and rape and has made you understand feminism a bit better.