JournalismPakistan.com November 30, 2013
I don’t make light of it so don’t get me wrong. But I think men are now on the receiving end of the stick and this is how it must have felt to be vulnerable for women for centuries. And it is a horrible feeling. Point is not all men are physically aggressive nor are all women the epitome of innocence and the majority on both sides seem to have got caught in the current gender crossfire.
We, the men, have begun paying the tax on generations of boorishness by our fellow men, albeit a minority but enough to cause the backlash.
I would think twice in Delhi of giving a young girl a lift even if it was pouring rain…or even going to her rescue (the old car breaks down scenario for example) in case I was implicated in some ridiculous way.
I would avoid getting into a lift with another girl. Especially if there was no one else but two strangers.
I would not exchange words with a female stranger for fear of being misunderstood.
I would not dispatch what I think are happy little sallies in humor in the office.
I would avoid having a female favorite.
I would not hire a domestic helper unless she was old and gnarled and that is a fact. No young, comely maid for me. I'd live in panic all day.
I would not comment on a woman’s looks, shape or assets or engage in man talk.
I don’t chat much on aircraft anyways but now if there was a young girl sitting next to me I’d avoid sparking a conversation.
I would not hug any lady at a party or be risqué or tell jokes with a kernel of innuendo or try to be blatantly ‘charming’ as I might have 20 years ago. I would not touch her on the shoulder or peck her on the cheek or put my arms around her or say anything even remotely suggestive, even in jest. There is no jest left, only bristling indignation.
I would not take a liberty, is what I am saying. Well, I’d rather be paranoid than a victim of misplaced outrage. There is no doubt that a woman complaining about a man in New Delhi (cannot speak for other cities) would get picked up by the police and hauled away in minutes. No defence. That comes much later.
It’s not funny, it is kind of sad that I would try to avoid normal human behavior and I do believe that two wrongs don’t make a right but guess we are on the receiving end for now and we have to change our priorities and our conduct to accommodate the new agenda. You can’t fight it so back off.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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