100 reasons to be a feminist
2014 has been a big year for women. We round-up all the big moments
It’s okay if you, like Time magazine, are sick of the word — feel free to come up with something cooler. Fem-nizzle, grrrlies, vagilantes, have fun with it. But don’t deny this world needs some of that equal rights action. Or that female is the wrong gender to be, almost anywhere in the world, including online.
Regardless of where we stand on the music of Yo Yo Honey Singh, we can all agree that it’s nice to not have acid thrown in your face because your veil slipped a little. It’s nice to not have to identify your rapist from a lineup by touching him on the arm and announcing what he did to you. And it would be nice if the man vying for the post of CM of the state with the worst sex ratio didn’t say things like, “If a girl is dressed decently, a boy will not look at her the wrong way” — and then get the job anyway.
All these events, just from this past year, prove we still need this word that makes people so twitchy. Feminism says women and girls should matter just as much as men and boys. No one loses if feminism wins. We’d all be able to walk a little taller, breathe a little easier. Wouldn’t that be nice?
1) Beyoncé broke the internet (sorry Kim) with her MTV VMA awards performance drumming in what feminism really means. Every search for “feminist” after that was followed by the internet helpfully asking, “Beyoncé?”
2) Most contributors to the Women Against Feminism Tumblr seem to reject the label because they think feminists are bitter, man-hating and 100 per cent lesbian. An alarming number also believe we live in a perfect world. As one young woman puts it: “Why fight for rights I already have?” Sort of like saying, “Why are kids in Ethiopia starving when I had such a huge burger for lunch?”
3) When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was asked what pointers he’d give women asking for raises, he said women who work hard and don’t ask for raises earn good karma. Ah, good karma — it’s like money in the bank.
4) Topless models in body paint walked the red carpet at Women’s Health magazine’s I Support Women In Sport awards in Australia. Nothing says we admire your grit like nipple show.
5) The government may have banned the two-finger test, so far used to determine if a woman has been raped. But feminist webzine The Ladies Finger found that medical students in five Indian cities are still taught to test survivors in this manner. Their campaign encourages readers to share “What can you do with two fingers?” Clear both nostrils in one go, is our winner.
6) Last month, Keralites organised Kiss of Love, a movement to celebrate PDA that later spread to other Indian states. In a classy act of retaliation, upright citizens morphed the face of one of the protest’s organisers onto nude images and shared these on social media.
7) The Stop The Cat Call Tumblr is a place for women to share pictures of what they were wearing when they were harassed on the street. A few outfits men found unbearably provocative: lab coat, sweatpants, hijab, a zombie costume.
8) When Keira Knightley posed topless for a shoot with Interview magazine, she had one rule born out of much-Photoshopped experience: her boobs were to be left flat. Because real women are non-curvy, too.
9) ‘All About That Bass’, by American singer Meghan Trainor, is about the candy-coloured joy of being a big girl by putting ‘skinny bitches’ in their place with lyrics like ‘My mama she told me don’t worry about your size/She says, Boys like a little more booty to hold at night’. The more things change, the more they stay about what the boys like.
10) This Halloween, Tom Burns’ daughter told him she wanted to be Han Solo, so would he be Princess Leia? He agreed.
Hypocrisy = 0. Cuteness = 100.
11) Named for journalist Helen Lewis who coined it, Lewis’ Law states that the comments on any article about feminism justify feminism. Just yes.
12) A report by UK think-tank Demos, titled ‘Misogyny on Twitter’ found more than six million instances of the word “slut” or “whore” used between Dec 2013 and Feb 2014. So glad no one held back during the festive season.
13) Exactly two years after she was shot by the Taliban for saying girls should go to school, Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. And the 17-year-old is staying on message. She donated prize money worth $50,000 to help rebuild schools in Gaza. She’s 17, guys.
14) Deepika Padukone lost her shit when The Times Of India tweeted a video which zoomed into her breasts at a film promotion, saying, ‘OMG! Deepika’s cleavage show!’ Editor of Bombay Times Priya Gupta, called Padukone’s response hypocritical, while reminding us that the actor started her career as “a calendar girl for a liquor brand.” So you know, her breasts are practically public property.
15) Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Emma Watson and many other celebs happily sported ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ T-shirts, till an investigation by The Mail on Sunday revealed they were made in a Mauritian sweatshop, with women working over eight hours a day, earning less than the national average wage and sleeping 16 to a room. The Fawcett Society, which sells the tees, has refuted the allegations. We say use a Sharpie on an old tee and save £45.
16) Why are young women so unashamed of being fat, asked columnist Linda Kelsey in a Mail Online piece. This is how Kelsey describes teenagers she saw at the airport (she’s worried about their health): “They had bulging bellies and billowing pillows of back and shoulder stuffing, punctured by flabby arms and lardy legs.” What a nice lady.
17) Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2015 show ended with models flooding the ramp carrying picket signs declaring: ‘Feminist but feminine’, ‘Women’s rights are more than alright!’, ‘Boys should get pregnant too’. Then we all went back to peddling unattainable standards of beauty.
18) #YesAllWomen was a dialogue to highlight that misogyny is everywhere, and it started as a reaction to a gruesome news story. This May in California, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree that ended with seven dead, including him. Rodgers was part of online groups of ‘incels’, men who are involuntarily celibate and hate women for not having sex with them. We can’t imagine why no one will sleep with these guys.
19) The #NotAllMen meme was dedicated to the point of view that has popped up in all feminist discussions over the ages: not all men are rapists/molestors/wife-beaters/creeps! Artist Matt Lubchansky created a comic featuring a superhero Not-All-Man who, whenever he catches a whiff of misandry, rushes to “defend the defended, protect the protected and be the voice for the voiceful.”
20) Was Dylan Farrow molested by her adoptive father Woody Allen at age seven? Or did her mother Mia Farrow plant that story in her head to get back at him? There is no version of this story that isn’t horrific. But Stephen King only commented on “the palpable bitchery” of Dylan’s open letter accusing Allen of molestation. King of horror, indeed.
21) Vikas Bahl, the director of Queen, which redefined the Bollywood film via a layered female lead who does exactly what she wants, denies being feminist: “[Queen is] telling you that who you are is fine, I don’t believe that’s being feminist.” Sorry to break it to you, Vikas, but you went and made a big, fat feminist film — and we loved it.
22) Viola Davis made primetime TV history on her new show How To Get Away With Murder when she took off her wig, eyelashes and make-up to reveal her real African hair and bare skin. Davis, who already skips the wig for red-carpet events, says, “I decided it was time to step into myself.”
23) The year was flush with exciting books by exciting women. If you were overcome with guilt about enjoying ‘Blurred Lines’, take heart from Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist: “I’m full of contradictions, but I also don’t want to be treated like shit for being a woman. I am a bad feminist. I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all.”
24) When the Shakti Mills rape accused were sentenced to hang, former CM of UP Mulayam Singh Yadav said at a rally, “First girls develop friendship with boys. Then when differences occur, they level rape charges. Boys will be boys, they make mistakes. Should they be hanged for it?” In Maharashtra, Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi also rallied behind the cause: “Any woman if, whether married or unmarried, goes along with a man, with or without her consent, should be hanged.” Politicians are the best, aren’t they?
25) In a Hyderabad university where two students have been charged with the rape of a third, the proposed solution has been to restrict the movement of female students on campus and forbid their entry into male dorms. Students of English & Foreign Languages University cross-dressed in protest, gladdening our hearts.
26) Rape survivors stepped out of anonymity and told their story, many for the first time in their life, using #beenrapedneverreported on Twitter. Sample: “After the attack, he texts me the next day: ‘Sorry about yesterday, you shouldn’t look so good. Still friends?’”
27) Kalki Koechlin performed a monologue at the India Today Conclave lampooning everything from female foeticide to bulimia, and lashing out against the expectation of perfection from women in the movies. Then, towards the end, she reassured the crowd: “I am not a hardcore feminist, to be very honest.” Dammit, Kalki.
28) A study commissioned by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media found that in the world’s most profitable film industries, less than one-third of all speaking roles in film are female. So that’s what makes these industries so profitable: a crew of silently heaving bosoms.
29) At the launch of UN’s #HeForShe initiative to include men in the fight for an equal world, Emma Watson emerged as the spokesperson who would reach out to a whole new generation and get them thinking about how sexist ideals trap us all. More proof that Hermione is awesome.
30) Two lingerie companies — Aerie and Dear Kate — decided to show non-skinny women in their advertising, all moles and folds intact. Sales went up, naturally.
31) Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, Bülent Arınç, said women should not laugh in public: “Where are our girls, who lower their heads and turn their eyes away, becoming the symbol of chastity?” Trying to keep a straight face, Bülent.
32) Preity Zinta called the cops on business partner and ex Ness Wadia getting abusive at a public event. Journalist Tavleen Singh, thoroughly irritated, decided to hit out…at Zinta. Her tweet: “Shame on Preity Zinta for making a molestation out of a tiff between ex-lovers. When little girls are raped and hanged for nothing.” That’s it, let’s put a woman in her place for speaking up.
33) Was Nicki Minaj reclaiming autonomy over female bottoms with ‘Anaconda’, that ode to Sir Mix-a-Lot’s solitary hit? Or was she just using it to pander to the male gaze? #SoConfused.
34) While discussing violence-prevention strategies, a psychological counsellor told the students of a New Jersey college that “women need to watch their body language and… should practise how they articulate their face in the mirror.” #MyAntiRapeFace is a collection of selfies representing the latest in anti-rape theory.
35) Just in case women in Haryana were beginning to get optimistic about ‘achche din’, here’s the CM of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar’s view on how we may avoid rape: “If a girl is dressed decently, a boy will not look at her in the wrong way. If you want freedom, why don’t [women] just roam around naked? Freedom has to be limited.”
36) In his first Independence Day address to the nation, Prime Minister Modi spent not a little time addressing rape and female foeticide. He spoke of the importance of raising sons right rather than protecting daughters. Let’s start with the Haryana CM!
37) At an awards ceremony, Gabourey Sidibe spoke about surprising people with her confidence: “Sometimes when I’m being interviewed by a fashion reporter, I can see it in her eyes, ‘How is she getting away with this? Why is she so confident? How does she deal with that body? Oh my God, I’m going to catch fat!’”
38) Academician and author of Women In Dark Times, Jacqueline Rose, explained why this movement was never meant to be a polite one: “We need a scandalous feminism, one that embraces without inhibition the most painful, outrageous aspects of the human heart, giving them their place at the very core of the world that feminism wants to create.”
39) Abusive troll plaguing you on Twitter? Call Women, Action & the Media or WAM!, which has collaborated with the micro-blogging site to fight sexual harassment online. They validate and report complaints to Twitter and track progress.
40) Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s tie-up with Getty Images offers alternatives to the sexist, idiotic imagery of women on stock photo sites. Together, we can end the tyranny of Woman Laughing Alone With Salad.
41) On a talk show, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation, Shamil Tarpischev, dubbed Serena and Venus Williams the ‘Williams brothers’ and added that “it’s scary when you really look at them”. So spake scrotum-face.
42) To deal with the harassment of male commuters in women-only coaches on the Delhi Metro, the police has launched Operation Kali. Women commandos, who will travel undercover, are trained to disarm offenders using safety pins, sandals, hairpins and belts as weapons. Tearing off heads is optional.
43) At a press event for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Andrew Garfield invited girlfriend and co-star Emma Stone’s ire when he told a little boy that Spidey sewed his costume himself, even if it was “kind of a feminine thing to do.” “It’s feminine how?” she asked him, quietly. Cue embarassed backpedalling. Stay golden, Emma.
44) Insta account Bye Felipe collects hostile reactions from guys when a woman isn’t interested in them. Sample:
“Hello, I’m Stan, nice to meet you. You’re so attractive to me and I love your cute face.” Twenty minutes and no response later…
“Stuck up bitch. I would beat the living shit out of you.”
Hey, that makes us want to date you, random guy.
45) Ever look at an old-timey painting and wonder why the women look so vacuously coy and placid? It’s because they’re thinking rebellious, satisfyingly cruel thoughts about the puffed-up men they’re sharing a frame with. Royal Existentials, a web comic by Aarthi Parthasarathy, and the Tumblr called Ravi Varma’s Women Rejecting Proposals put the win in vintage.
46) When Jennifer Lawrence bared boobage on the cover of the same Vanity Fair issue in which she spoke of her leaked nude photos, business writer Bruce Kasanoff aired a popular view in a piece titled, ‘Why Jennifer Lawrence’s Breasts Confuse Me’: “I’m still confused by the juxtaposition of moral outrage next to more semi-naked pictures.” The difference, dear confused Bruce, is a little thing called consent.
47) The union government, once more acting like a nosey aunt, declared that an unwed mother applying for her child’s passport has to explain in an affidavit how the child was conceived and if she was raped. Explain your sex life to the nice uncle, now.
48) Despite the fact that the court prohibited the circulation of the CCTV footage related to the Tarun Tejpal rape case, it was somehow made available to Anurag Kashyap. The film-maker pronounced his judgement on FB: “I have seen the CCTV footage too and none of what the girl says about Tarun Tejpal is true.” Case closed!
49) More Anurag Kashyap gold in an interview with The Hindu: “I’m anti-feminist. Why are Indian feminists such angry people? Empowerment becomes a false sense of power.” Yeah, women feeling too powerful. THAT’S the real problem.
50) Eighteen-year-old Indian sprinter Dutee Chand was dropped from the Commonwealth Games because she failed a gender test known to be discriminatory to female athletes who have hyperandrogenism. Why let a sparkling career stand in the way of institutional sexism?
51) #GamerGate highlighted corruption in video game journalism — and it ended, as everything seems to, in rape threats. Soon anyone who commented on the misogynistic content of popular games was attacked viciously online, some even forced to leave their homes. Achievement unlocked!
52) Barcelona’s Vaga de Totes movement saw thousands of women storm the roads, give away free subway rides, paint graffiti on public structures and protest violence, inequality and the lack of social benefits for caregivers, a majority of whom are women. Men helped by providing crèche services. Aww.
53) When US Vogue put Lena Dunham on its February cover, Jezebel.com offered its readers $10,000 to share unretouched images from the shoot. Turns out, Vogue didn’t change that much and Dunham didn’t mind what little they did. The former Jezebel fan later called the blog out on their “monumental error in their approach to feminism.”
54) Fans of Malayalam actor Prithviraj raged about his decision to give his baby his wife’s last name. He replied: “As chauvinistic as I am, I would like my child to have her mother’s name… even before mine.” Good man.
55) Thanks to 31-year-old Neelam, the first woman sarpanch of Chappar village in foeticide-friendly Haryana, it is no longer mandatory for women to wear the veil. And when a girl child is born, sweets are distributed in the village. Baby steps.
56) Revenge porn is on the rise. Victim Folami Prehaye of England decided to shame the perpetrator instead, by reporting him and talking about it on TV. Earlier this year, an American woman was charged when she uploaded pics of her ex’s current girlfriend. Regardless of the perpetrator, the gender of the victim is reliably constant.
57) Classical scholar and regular online-troll-bait Mary Beard gave a talk at the British Museum titled Oh Do Shut Up Dear! about the long-standing tradition of men shushing women in public. She observes: “It’s not what you say that prompts it, it’s the fact you’re saying it.”
58) In a monumental tragedy, 26-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari was hanged to death in Iran despite immense international pressure on the Iranian government to spare her life. She was charged with the murder of a former intelligence officer who she claimed to have stabbed in self-defense when he tried to rape her. She left this final message for her mother: “In the court of the creator I will charge all those that wronged me and trampled on my rights.”
59) Little girls dressed like princesses cuss non-stop in a video by activist T-shirt company FCKH8 titled ‘Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs For Feminism’. “So what is more offensive: a little girl saying fuck or the fucking unequal way society treats girls and women?” Oh, snap!
60) In response to the horrific epidemic of child sexual abuse, mainly by British-Pakistani men, that flew under the radar for decades in Rotherham, England, Brit-Pakistani entrepreneur Ruzwana Bashir, herself a sexual abuse victim wrote an essay for The Guardian testifying to the culture of shame and silence victims of Asian descent are subject to. She called on leaders of the community to break the pattern and lift the taboo.
61) When blogger Kate Fairlie said on FB that her little boy is allowed to play with dolls so he can “know it is ok to show that he cares”, we saw a deluge of parents sharing photos of boys with their Barbies. Totes. Adorbs.
62) Return Of Kings is a site that validates “old-fashioned masculinity” with such informative articles as: 5 Reasons To Date A Girl With An Eating Disorder, 24 Signs She’s a Slut, Girls With Short Hair Are Deranged.The eating disorder story, of course, went viral.
63) The Airtel ad that makes a woman the admirable hardass at work before giving her an acute case of bharatiya naari-itis at home. Message to Indian women: You’ve come a long way, baby! Now go make some rajma.
64) Feminine versions of shampoos, razors and deos are costlier, found a women’s group in France, which has forced the government to investigate this “invisible tax”. Same thing in America: Turns out women pay more for everything, while getting paid less. Let’s bring back hairy pits.
65) An investigation by The Hindu revealed that a third of the sexual assault cases reported in Delhi dealt with consenting couples whose disapproving parents had accused the boy of rape. Good god, the myopia.
66) #BringBackOurGirls trended this year with Michelle Obama among those getting involved to exhort the Nigerian government to rescue the 300 schoolgirls kidnapped by radical group Boko Haram. The tragic sidelining of the abducted and butchered boys from the campaign sparked gender debates worldwide.
67) For the anniversary of the Women To Drive movement in Saudi Arabia, there was news that the authorities would consider allowing women over 30 to drive, provided they had permission from a male family member, wore no make-up and were off the roads by 8.00pm. Progress!
68) Photographer Raj Shetye had his muse on a bus being attacked by male models in the aptly titled ‘The Wrong Turn’. He denied that the shoot was inspired by the Delhi gang rape of 2012 and said he saw it as a contribution to the conversation on gender issues. Shutting up works too.
69) While the Ministry of Minority Affairs released a series of ads urging the endangered Parsi population to make like bunnies, the Chattisgarh government ran two sterilisation camps for women in dismal, unhygienic conditions that resulted in 15 deaths. What will it take to get the government out of our lady business.
70) Aussie TV host Karl Stefanovic wore the same blue Burberry knockoff suit for a year as an experiment to prove “no one gives a shit” what men wear. It was a success —viewers didn’t once notice or question him, even as they routinely pulled up his female co-host for her hair, make-up and clothes. Well done, that man.
71) Is a penis essential to sex? Look up ‘Lesbians explain sex to straight people’ on YouTube to find out how great sex is possible even without phallic props. That’s Saturday night sorted.
72) The strange amnesia that affects whole nations when it comes to sexual crimes was brought up when comedian Hannibal Buress reminded everyone that beloved American idol Bill Cosby was charged with raping a woman after drugging her drink in 2004. Several other women spoke up about being raped by Cosby in a similar manner. But then, women say the darndest things.
73) National Award-winning actor Shweta Basu Prasad was arrested in a prostitution bust in Hyderabad to much media sensationalising. The identity of all the “high-flying business men” involved was protected. Yet another win for journalism.
74) At an event to support LGBT youth, Ellen Page gave an emotional coming-out speech and spoke about the pressure on women in film to be attractive to the male eye. Since then, Page says she gets more hate for her red-carpet suits than the gay thing. You can be a lesbian, but you must be a hot lesbian.
75) American footballer Ray Rice was caught on film dragging his then-fiancée-now-wife Janay Palmer’s unconscious body out of an elevator after he’d punched her out cold. The player has been suspended from the NFL, but members of the Men’s Rights Movement argue that technically it was not Rice who punched her out; she banged her head on a handrail after he hit her. Ah, so the handrail did it.
76) Hollaback! an online movement against the street harassment of women, released a video of a model walking the streets of New York and recorded the catcalls and aggression that came her way. After it went public, the model received rape threats. Naturally.
77) “What should be covered must be covered. Women should not trouble others by wearing jeans,” said singer KJ Yesudas, embarrassing Mallus and humans everywhere, adding that jeans are unbecoming of Indian culture. Cue this bit of hilarity:
78) Percentage of seats in the Indian Parliament held by women: 11.4. And this is the highest it’s ever been. Afghanistan (!) does better at 28 per cent. But then again, we’re not very far away from America at about 18 per cent. So no need to go crazy electing women all over the place just yet, yeah?
79) For over five decades, female make-up artists in Indian films were vulnerable to raids by a union that “protected men’s jobs” by denying them membership. This November, the Supreme Court deemed this ban illegal, thanks to a case brought by Charu Khurana, who fought this battle alone for five years.
80) Monica Lewinsky is back, 16 years after news of her affair with President Bill Clinton broke, to announce her involvement in an anti-cyberbullying campaign. Predictably enough, she was cyber-shamed as attention-hungry, a saboteur of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and that old chestnut, a home-wrecker.
81) While accepting the Emmy for his role in Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul called attention to the Kind Campaign, which addresses bullying and harassment at schools; through their website, girls can talk about their experience or apologise to those they have targeted. Ms Norbury would be so proud.
82) Javelin gold medallist Debjani Bora was branded a witch and beaten up in Assam after four deaths in the village were blamed on her. Over 2,000 women were murdered in India between 2000 and 2012 for witchcraft. In the 21st century.
83) The first-ever Girl Summit, organised by the British government, aims to end child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) within a generation, with 17-year-old Somali anti-FGM activist Fahma Mohamed as its face.
84) To increase awareness about the contributions of women in science, tech, engineering and maths, the Ada Lovelace edit-a-thon is held on October 14 in various cities around the world. People get together, virtually and offline, and create and edit Wiki pages about women you really should know. Named for the 19th-century mathematician regarded as the first-ever computer programmer, the event debuted in India this year, in Bengaluru.
85) To promote his dating workshop for “socially awkward” men, pick-up artist Julien Blanc made a video with him walking down a street in Tokyo grabbing women’s heads and shoving them towards his crotch. His technique is part physical assault, part psychological manipulation, and his workshops are $3,000 a pop: “Develop panty-dropping masculinity with this rock-solid structure to self-generate the powerful emotions girls crave.” Er. We’ll be keeping our panties on, Julien, thanks though!
86) Emma Sulkowicz of Columbia University is protesting the not-guilty verdict the college handed her alleged rapist, through performance art. She carries a mattress everywhere she goes on campus to symbolise the weight she carries of convincing the world that she really was raped.
87) Love Jihad is a term coined by Hindu and Christian right-wing groups who believe Muslim men are luring women into relationships and converting them. (Pause for laughter/tears.) Most cases of love jihad in UP this year were false charges brought by parents of girls who fell in love with and married Muslim boys against the family’s wishes. (Just tears, then.)
88) Actor-producer Poorna Jagannathan and director Yaël Farber’s confessional play Nirbhaya (loosely based on the Delhi rape) shocked the audience with the revelation at the end that the testimonial style of the play was actual, real-life testimonials by the actors. Bloody brave stuff.
89) The Always #LikeAGirl video went viral with the question, “When did doing something ‘like a girl’ become an insult?” When young adults were asked to run, throw and fight like a girl, we saw mock floppy hands and duck-feet. When little girls were asked to do the same, they were just themselves, viz. fierce. And adorable.
90) Twenty per cent of the staff at the ISRO are women, and it was this beaming picture of them that set the mood for celebration when Mangalyaan entered Mars’ orbit. WARM FUZZIES.
91) In Iran, male vigilantes on motorbikes splashed acid on some nine women on the streets for being “improperly veiled”, emboldened by a new law protecting those who “feel compelled to correct” anyone who doesn’t follow Iran’s social laws. How are there any women left in Iran?
92) A woman seated next to 62-year-old Devender Singh on a flight from Houston to New Jersey woke up with a hand down her shirt and Singh’s mouth on her face. He was also touching himself. He will go to prison for eight months and has to register as a sex offender. Poor Singh uncle was just trying to join the mile-high club.
93) Was the firing of executive editor of The New York Times, Jill Abramson, because she raised a stink about being paid less than her male predecessor or because of her management style, described as “abrasive” and “pushy”? Either way, the incident exposed the double standards women leaders are held to — be as tough as the guys, but stay kinda cuddly (and don’t ask for equal pay).
94) The Indian woman leads the world in number of hours spent doing unpaid work, like cleaning, cooking and childcare — where Indian men spend less than an hour, according to findings by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Indian men also lead the world — in hours spent on ‘Personal care’, ie eating, sleeping, watching TV. WELL PLAYED, BOYS.
How to avoid getting raped in india: a (thoroughly depressing) manual
95) Don’t get married. Most rapes in India? The husband did it. Just 2.3 per cent of rapes are by men other than the husband, found a study this year. The move to make marital rape punishable was struck down by lawmakers in 2013 since it had ‘potential to destroy the institution of marriage.’
96) Don’t drink. Definitely don’t die. If you’re not around to tell your side of things, the court might just assume that a sexual assault so violent that it pushed the food from your belly into your lungs and asphyxiated you, was probably consensual. The Delhi High Court took this view in the case of a 65-year-old woman simply because there were no “signs of struggle” on her body. They also observed, apropos of nothing, that she had been drinking and was past the age of menopause.
97) Don’t be a teenage girl of the wrong caste. Two young girls, 14 and 15, disappeared from their home in Badaun, UP and were found dead the next day, hanging from a tree. There are many theories. Some — their families — say the girls were raped and murdered. Some — defenders of the men accused — say it was an honour killing by the family. Some — state chief secretary Alok Ranjan — say, “Rape is a trivial incident and should not be blown out of proportion by the media.”
98) Don’t be too young. Or too old. Just in October, a three-year-old girl was raped at school in Bengaluru and a 90-year-old woman was raped at her home in Mumbai.
Oh, and if you think it ends with rape…
99) Don’t go to a restaurant. When Suzette Jordan, survivor of the widely discussed 2012 Kolkata gangrape, went to get dinner at Ginger, a restaurant in Kolkata, the staff denied her entry in the most abusive terms. Jordan has slapped them with assault and intimidation charges.
100) Don’t be a human being. In Yahoo Originals essay, ‘That Hashtag Was My Colleague’, Sonia Khan, a co-worker of the woman raped at Shakti Mills in Mumbai, touched upon nearly every horror in the Indian system: insensitive doctors, predatory press and a callous legal system. Here Khan describes the identification parade: “And this is what Megha does on September 4, in a room full of men that include her attackers, without any women officers present to aid her. She touches the men on the arm to identify them, and then says, ‘Isne mera balatkaar kiya’ (He sexually assaulted me). She repeats this four times over.”