Monday, March 13, 2006

On being a man…

Quite a while ago, I had written in my blog, that all men are pigs. I had written it more as a gesture of jest than a really serious accusation. But posts by so many women on Blank Noise Project, especially those by Annie, Rohini, and Hemangini have now made me realize how disturbingly (and sadly) close to the truth I actually was.

What the fuck is wrong with this gender to which I belong?
Admittedly, I didn’t know this problem was so severe till I read so many of these accounts. First hand accounts of women who have been mal-treated by complete strangers. And I was ashamed. Of belonging to this species. I had always taken comfort in the fact that I have more “rights” being a man, more “freedom” being a man, but I had never realized the acute shortage of these very entities for a rather large number of women out there, traveling in buses, trains, becoming objects of public consumption every passing day.
I still take comfort in the fact that I am a guy. Perhaps because I don’t have the strength to imagine what most of these women have to go through. Or perhaps just because I have grown with those comforting thoughts, somehow fed into me, through years of “societal training”.

But all said and done, am I completely clean? Can I proudly claim that I have never ever done anything that might have hurt someone?
Well, not that I know of. I know this sounds like an excuse. Because it is one.

But I will confess nevertheless.
Yes, I have talked about women within a group of guys. Yes, there have been a few occasions when my eyes have rested perhaps a little longer than they should have, on a passing woman’s breasts. Yes there have been occasions when I have let out a sigh and imagined a little more than what I should have.
But I am still proud of the fact that my hands have never jumped around to “feel up” a girl. That as far as is physically possible, I leave space between myself and an unknown girl sitting next to me in a bus or a train. That to quite an extent, I do understand the difference between “looking” and “leering”. That I have never whistled, or passed any kind of comments, on unknown girls that I come across in streets (including those which are extremely "provocatively" dressed, so to say - refer earlier post). That the only thing I would like to do with an 8-year old girl, is to read her stories of princesses and fairies...

...And that perhaps, I am not (and never will be) as much of a pig as evidently a surprisingly high number of my co-species are..

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