I have felt very similar in processing things leading to a very confused and lost state that I find myself in today. Or actually most of the times I never processed sexism and racism, or any sort of discrimination against me, to begin with. Because I never knew of such things in my forming years. I was raised in a very liberal family and a very easy school of innocence and naiveness, with no awareness of world of men, or inequalities and injustice surrounding race and genders. I was the only queen of my world along with a sister queen who followed my footsteps. However external reality was very different.
Engineering schools and corporate world are prospering with massive male egos and so either you succumb to praising or letting go the obnoxiousness of their superiority complexes, take a quiet corner in the room and serve their egos for a lifetime, or you become loud and aggressive to show them you will take your seat and you will take it god damn well. I took the later and became part of the toxic masculinity I was so vehemently against. I lost my sacred feminine along the way. And now I am just tired and lost by not processing discrimination in a healthy? way, because I was never equipped to. We are sent to wars without any firearms. In short- I did not understand and process discrimination but I reacted in a non healthy way building on to many years of self destructive cycles and expressing anger I didn’t even know I had.
I quit earlier this year too not because of this angle but the general and severe depression that corporate life had led me to. I started working in farms and with NGOs working towards rural retention, sustainable living and women empowerment in Uttarakhand earlier this year . One of the places I stayed, young girls were sexually and mentally harassed by the owner. I had made close friends with one of the girls. The whole episode is a very straight forward evidence on how none of us, as women, knew how to understand and process the matter in hand with clarity, how to react and respond to it, how to move forward from it by preserving ourselves completing . Only thing I ensured to do is got the young friend out of there and congratulated her for being brave by reporting him and being resilient through a traumatic process. I didn’t have anything remotely close to a constructive or intelligent talk or directions to guide her with in the rather difficult days ahead of her.
I came back to Delhi ranting and shouting, asking my mom and aunts on why we don’t prepare our girls for exactly such dangerous situations when they have a powerful man more than twice their age harassing them and taking advantage of his role and age and his privileged gender. Which brings us to men..why are they behaving like this?!
Boys have not been taught to process or reflect on their actions either. Everything they do since their very early childhood has been sanctioned as completely normal so they obviously grow up to be men who are not sensitive. They float around in their worlds reckless and non responsible. They do not think they are doing anything wrong by touching a girl’s chest area close to her breasts when she has fever or come sleep on her bed without her permission or send her lewd texts in the middle of the night. There is complete normalcy and self approval in their inappropriate behavior because they were not taught anything otherwise.
So we are sending our boys and girls out in the wild world completely uneducated and unprepared hoping for them to figure out centuries of injustice and inequality and degradation through their young immature hands and hope everything turns out for the best. Of course it doesn’t, so we have toxic men and lost women not knowing how to react because they didn’t know how to function in the reality of the things.
The only few institutes teaching gender sensitization and conducting workshops etc in related topics for young boys are tuck in remote corners in the mountains and only known of in the small world of activists. Are our main steam schools teaching this in urban and rural areas? India continues to be a safe shelter for harassers and rapists. Yet we ignore the significance of early learning, rather we focus on angry letters in TOI by Shoba De in the later part of the game when all is already lost.
My point is we need to learn and process discrimination first, then respond to it in ways, which if not solving, then at least are salvaging us as best as possible at that time, and then finally be the mindful citizens contributing to solutions. Very idealistic perhaps, am i over simplifying things yes, but doable. Some folks are already on it doing the real work from root cause investigation to successful implementation starting in localized areas.
My intention with the article is not to judge or criticize anger. It is how we are doing it. I will even support social media rant for some time but if it is over and over the same type of non productive hateful discussions taking us further and further to a more polarized and split society, then I do not support it and urge us all to take more creative and effective solutions.
My expression in the article takes a simple tone perhaps and perhaps should have had more elaboration and visual on transition from a very obviously angry situation to a place of forgiveness and kindness and love. This I will better dive in next time.
It might sound preachy and cheesy but I am convinced there is no other way. We need intelligent ways to channel our anger and then we need lots of love to carry us through.
Thank you Shringi for the light that you shed. Warm regards