While the #MeToo movement originated way back in 2006 by Tarana Burke of the United States, the practice of making people aware of widespread sexual offences via empathy started on October 2017. Several personal stories were shared all over the world to provide an emphasis of the pandemic of sexual assaults. The movement had its maximum online reach with the stream of allegations and legal cases against renowned film producer, Harvey Weinstein which led to his successful arrest. Weinstein used his position and influence to sweep the sexual offences under the carpet and this gigantic leap for feminists proved that no matter how powerful the perpetrator is, the rightful place for the person is behind bars.
It doesn’t take much time for any ‘online movement’ to spread across borders. It was but natural for #MeToo to reach the Indian subcontinent and has exposed a series of predators exactly one year after the trend caught off. The people at the receiving end of the movement came as a shock to most of the urban populace. This is because such names were synonymous to that of a torchbearer of equality including Meghnad Bose (Reporter, The Quint), Sidharth Bhatia (Co-founder, The Wire), KR Sreenivas (Senior Editor, TOI), Sadanand Menon (Cultural critic), Sapan Varma (East India Comedy group member), Utsav Chakraborty and Tanmay Bhat (members of the comedy group, All India Bakchod) and the list goes on.
The question here remains why men who – have time and again raised voice against rape culture, directly or indirectly, or – call themselves feminists are largely more prone to be a sexual predator or an extremely cold and calculative freak. Ex-KGB spy of the U.S.S.R., Yuri Bezmenov explains this in a very appropriate manner. Bezmenov played a role in the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan and had swept influential scholars and poets to his side under the nose of Indira Gandhi. He described male ‘lovers of equality’ – be it feminism, or economic equality, as one of the most ‘useful idiots’. This is because such people might do all the donkey work and will be the first victims to opponent intelligence’s pit.
Male feminists seek validation. In their relentless white knighting for the cause of women, they believe that women owe them certain favours. It’s not odd if you find a male feminist finding a crude fault in another man when they’re with women. They try all their baits – chiefly intelligence, wit, being vocal on social issues concerning women viz wage gap, safer workspaces etc. These men also gain an innate sense of superiority complex over fellow males and look down upon the others as sexists, misogynists and a inconsiderate lot. As long as their ego is fed by terms of acceptance, praise, promotion etc, they are glad. When they fail in their endeavours to attain their only desires, their ego – which is more fragile than the ones that they target – is hurt, they stoop to such drastic measures. Bezmenov has described that at this stage when their endeavours fail, they are desperate to do anything they can and over here, they easily fall into the pit of an intelligence agency.
Now, Bezmenov’s words relate to the world of psychological warfare and espionage, the ex KGB spy has done a wonderful job describing the expectation levels of people who engage in egalitarian talks by rousing the people and to stand up for their rights. Take All India Bakchod (AIB) for example. AIB is a well-loved comedy group by the teenagers and urban youngsters who love raunchy, roast cultures and have longed for such an Indian comedy platform which focuses on social, political issues along with everyday jokes. Their humour, often sugarcoated with an aura of reasoning tries to send a message across – something which wasn’t seen much in the comedy of the yesteryears. AIB, in their Facebook page, has criticised the government persistently by means of dry humour mocking them to be anti-women and socially regressive. In fact, they even launched a YouTube video on women inequality, where they featured Kangana Ranaut on a parody version of “Chittiya Kalaiyyan” with lyrics based on various nuances of consent, patriarchy et al. Looking at the theoretical talks of Bezmenov, AIB’s fallout was but a matter of time. Also, there’s a reason why it is said that such men have more fragile egos than the normal males along with their innate sense of supremacy. While #UnsubscribeAIB was trending on Twitter, Utsav Chakraborty went on to Zoom TV for an interview and blamed the Indian right-wing to “hype the matters beyond proportions”. This implies certain people who have indeed committed objectionable acts cannot be named and shamed for their political beliefs.
With this #MeToo movement taking space in India, AIB are now forced to discontinue their endeavours i.e. On Air with AIB along with Hotstar as a result of the allegations with immediate effect. The timeline started with one of their members, Utsav Chakraborty being called out for sending pictures of his private parts to a minor girl. This was followed by revelations regarding co-founder Tanmay Bhat knowing the entire episode all the time and still allowing Utsav to continue with the organisation. Within a matter of hours, screenshots about three other stand-up comedians also surfaced as they tried to play the saint regarding such decisions.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SatyaVijayi.