“Don’t post those pictures on Facebook”, were my mom’s welcoming words as I hugged her capturing the joyous moment on my smartphone. I was at my parent's for a weeklong stay and those were the first of many chants that followed. The same warning went to my sister as well who was in her college and quite active on social media. Thankfully I didn't get to hear what she had to hear, “Remove your dance video from YouTube, change your Whatsapp status, tie up your hair, no loose hair, don’t wear makeup…etc.”
Looking plain and removing profile pictures are a mother’s way of protecting her girl from the immoral psychopaths. The repercussions of the #Pollachi abuse is massive and today I’m particularly addressing the lighter note of the issue (but what's alleged to be the base) - women’s presence in the social media.
#PollachiSexualAbuse has caused a whirlwind in Tamil Nadu. So much for the land that’s known for respecting the chastity of women. What a shame!! And to know that the politicians who swore to be faithful and protective of their land were the active players here! Sigh! Curse on them.
My friends in other cities like Coimbatore and Trichy spoke the same. They too were warned by their parents to keep away from social media and posting pictures online.
I give my love and hugs to all those mothers out there, ‘coz I realize, their concern is born out of love, and stopping us from posting a DP is their way of offering us protection. But is that okay?
Quit Social Media to be safe?
Quite contrary to the momma’s thoughts, I feel restricting a girl from social media is not the best way to save a girl. It is the awareness and education about the misuse of social media that would help youngsters be safe. Not by running away from it.
Social interaction has become a necessary activity to access news & information and to socialize worldwide.It is just not right to ask a young woman to cover her face and shut herself from the world beyond. Have we not fought ourselves free from that era? We have redeemed ourselves from a state of inequality to achieve what? this? No. Not at all.
Shouldn’t she post pictures?
When brothers and boyfriends, dads, uncles, and grandpas have the right to update their moments on social media, why not a girl?
Don't simply give that "why does she have to showcase herself when she’s the one facing trouble?" Maybe she posts for her profile to have a face, maybe to share her joy, maybe to find business opportunities, or maybe to make the ton listen to what she’s got to say. The mind needs to connect with a face to communicate, that’s why we have pictures of GOD when we pray! Don't we? Social media is her resume’ now.
Gone are the days where people look for a single sheet of paper to know about you. Generally speaking, your activity in social media is what’s getting you a job today (or you can say better prospects). So, it is not the right thing to force her to quit the digital space.
When I sit debating with myself on this topic I receive this post on my WhatsApp.
Bravo! Here’s a mom, who gives her girl the crucial message to face today’s society; Courage and Positive Reinforcement. Courage to face the threats; to stand against all the crap that blackmails her by showing her flesh. It is mere flesh.
All those girls who were the victim of the Pollachi case were not porn stars posting pieces of them online. They were the regular working or studying girls with a normal smiling profile pic but victimized by the psychopaths.
It’s high time
It's high time we fed young girls with the courage to face situations that she’s not expected to face. Everyone has a conscience that guides the self on what to do and what not to do and what actions may invite trouble. Youngsters should be taught to listen to their conscience. Parents must have the doors unbarred for open talk and give her the confidence that they are there to back her up, rather than talking in riddles and simply warning them to be safe and running away from the internet.
What will happen if she’s only fed with fear and warnings?
- First, she will begin to regret being a girl and lose hope of living.
- Second, there are these young mothers who decide to not have a girl baby, simply because of the pain she too may have to undergo in this society.
If people stick to the above fears, soon, very soon there might be a drastic decrease in the share of young women. Already research in 2017 had stated that the share of young women to men in India will come down to 31.8% by 2031. Why so? It started way back with our dowry system and sati, and later with the question “can a woman provide and protect”; and now it continues with a fearful question of safety, “what if she’s abused”.
Do you know what this gender imbalance will cause?
- More than half of the men will not find a girl to marry
- And the short film “Yours Shamefully” will become a reality!!
I bow my head to the parents of that Coimbatore girl, who advised their daughter to boldly face a reprobate if she’s blackmailed, and promised to embrace her no matter what.
Shying away should no more be an option; doing so would only make our gender unfit to survive. Being born a girl is not a curse. We are God's co-Creators! The source of all virtues. We only need to armor ourselves with the courage to face threats boldly and break through traditional barriers.
When I see a cockroach spoiling my food I take it down by a thodappa kattai (thennai velzhakamaar is best), I don’t burn the entire house down or the people in it. Observing this news from home in the southern tip of the state I see some filthy cockroaches roaming around. It is time to find the best thodappa kattai to thrash them off, not to burn down the spirit of the entire female ton!