I JUST GOT BACK from a break to discover the flurry of comments around Meena’s post. There’s lots of accusations about it not being well thought out / clear etc and I would like to clarify, yet again, that UV is a space to share informed opinion but also feelings, angst, even rants. Quite simply, it’s a space where women can voice things. Not all those things have to be perfectly logical little pieces of social / cultural critique. Not all of them have to come with their five-point solution for saving the world. If you don’t like that, don’t read. If you want to make it better, contribute. Guest posts are always welcome.
Just as long as they come with your real name attached to them. Because we’re writers who are willing to brave the trolls, abusers and critics. This is not to say that posts should not incite disagreement, but it would be nice if the larger issues didn’t get lost in the bid to prove superior cleverness. Also, I would hate for this to become a space where people have to think a million times before voicing something, for fear that it’s not ‘intelligent’ enough.
Aren’t comments that pick apart a post line by line a bit pointless? Wouldn’t it make more sense to write a counter-post making a better argument or discussing the issue in the way that you think it deserves? Anyway, I’m going to stop to take a breath and point you to this blogger, who has responded to the post and comments and, I think, said some useful things:
Without digressing further, I am going to get my always optimistic self to look at this like this: The UV is a useful space, for ALL Indian women who write and read English and have access to internet. This is not a place that calls for credential presentation of only certain class of women but it is an initiative that is open to all types of womens voices.
Next, that this place will put its ‘glare’ aside and LOOK at the problem. And emerge with solutions before the problem becomes as big as the eve teasing and other darned crimes against women that plague the Indian woman going about her business.
- First, they will acknowledge cyber stalking as a crime: Hopefully!
- Second, they will look at the modus operandi of the crime. By listening!
- Third, they will look at this ‘crime vs free speech’ objectively. Without tearing each other out!
Fourth for which I have little hope they will think of the web as a space for women who will react to bad behavior from strangers in the virtual world in a million different ways. Since all Indian women are not loud, articulate, thick skinned, still feel responsible to families, care about others opinions, not interested in being an ‘ist’ but does not mean that they don’t fight prejudices, OR are not effective human beings.
So, if everyone’s done with pointing out other people’s dreadful lack of clarity / thought / logic etc, can we discuss the crime versus free speech issue? If one goes with the credo that people should have free speech on the web, where does ‘cyber abuse’ or ‘cyber stalking’ begin? What is the line one can draw?
It makes me think of how sexual harassment in the workplace is similarly problematic. Many would say that verbal abuse does not constitute harassment and should not be curtailed because it’s free speech. But when your boss makes lewd jokes about you, your anatomy and private functions, it’s hard to think of his rights to ‘free speech’. Believe me.
What about emotional abuse in cases of domestic violence, which again usually depends on words. Is the person expected to develop a ‘thick skin’ and get on with it? And when does being ‘thick skinned’ become ‘putting up with shit’?