miércoles, 2 de enero de 2019

Her Blind Spots | Opinion News, The Indian Express

Her Blind Spots | Opinion News, The Indian Express

Her Blind Spots

Tavleen Singh is a legend, but on #MeToo, she misses the point.

me too, me too movement, me too movement india, sexual harassment, narendra modi, women journalists, ncrb, indian express news
As 2019 unfolds, here’s hoping they continue with their courageous journalism in news environments that are equal and enabling. (Representational)
Tavleen Singh is a legend. Her courageous reporting from Punjab during its most politically fraught times in the 1980s remains a valuable source of information on that period. She could — perhaps to her great displeasure — be regarded as part of the pantheon of women journalists who chose to fly over the chicken coops placed by newspaper managements of an earlier era to keep female journalists firmly confined.
It was therefore with some reluctance that I write this rejoinder to her piece, ‘Stories beyond MeToo’. I feel a rejoinder is warranted because it had followed two other pieces —‘Why I am not MeToo’ and ‘Can MeToo get beyond me’ — that made the same broad argument: Indian women journalists, instead of seeking to be celebrities by calling out their sexual harassers and making themselves the story, would be better employed addressing through their writing the terrible assaults on women and girls in the country. There was a sub-text to these pieces as well: Singh’s feeling that she was a figure of derision for women journalists.
To come to the last sentiment first, let me state that Singh is as entitled to her opinion as her critics are entitled to theirs, and calling her a “relic”, if someone had indeed called her that, is patently offensive and ageist. Having said that, I would also point out that some expressions Singh employs in her pieces to describe the objects of her wrath — such as “MeToo ladies” — could also be seen as objectionable.

Singh begins her latest piece with the observation “women journalists were the biggest winners in MeToo India”. The use of the term “MeToo India” is a bit odd, given that the MeToo “movement” has in no way been an all-encompassing, pan-national phenomenon. But let that pass. What is certainly not the case is that women journalists who actually found the courage to go public with their personal histories were “winners” in any sense. Being embroiled in a court case against a defendant shielded by the best legal talent in the country or being attacked for not assuming the stance of the perfect Bharatiya nari by keeping silent, are not exactly marks of a “winner”. Even the prospect of a win is hardly bright, given the patriarchy within criminal justice institutions, the constant and hostile trolling and society’s general misogyny.

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