By Purba Ray Aug. 12, 2022
A professor was forced to resign in Kolkata, for images she put up of herself on her social media. For some inane reason this non-imposition has been deemed her fault.
Twitter was recently aflame with the incident of a St Xavier’s professor from Kolkata being forced to resign when one of her male students was ‘caught’ by his father looking at her in her swimwear pics. He promptly filed a police case against the assistant professor because, obviously, it was her fault.
In a world where explicit content is available more freely than fake news (and the two overlap seamlessly), women wear skimpier clothes at the gym, and ‘bobs’ and ‘vagine’ are part of everyday vocabulary, I’m sure this is far from the worst the boy has seen. But since hypocrisy is a virtue that’s always a work in progress, the father chose to go after a woman who was an easy target instead of counselling his son on boundaries and respect. Or better, but maybe impossibly coach him about a woman’s to dress as she likes.
Should he gawk at her body like she is an exhibit in the zoo? Or should he teach his son, this thing called, looking away?
But how can he when women in public spaces are often seen as public commodities. I am sure the gent has no problems when women’s scantily clad images are used alongside ads for cars, razors or a 3-bedroom condo overlooking the Hooghly. His hell instead breaks loose when a woman shares her swimsuit pics on a public platform of her own accord. Should he gawk at her body like she is an exhibit in the zoo? Or should he drag her back to the middle ages and give her a dozen lashes for trying to take agency of her body. Or should he teach his son, this thing called, looking away?
A woman’s sexuality has always tortured men as much as it has enraged them. So, to deal with this conundrum of emotions they choose to police women’s bodies instead of telling themselves – dude, if the mere sight of a woman sends you or your son into a tizzy, the problem is you and not her.
But why let inconvenient truths come in the way of virtuosity, especially when there’s an easy peasy way of blaming the woman for all the transgressions she incites in men. How dare they even try.
NG not only has to deal with a grumpy Dad hell bent on believing that her pics in a bikini have corrupted his son beyond repair but also a college trying to restore its reputation by slut-shaming her.
Virtuosity is a terrible affliction that comes with a side-effect of demonising sexual curiosity that’s passed on to generations like precious heirloom. Let’s be honest you don’t get to a billion people without it. And don’t we all know how well this has worked for our youngsters? They get conditioned to see women and their own desires as dirty and grow up to be frustrated incels, who then go onto buy big-ass cars to compensate for their complexes. This collective frustration has not augured well for the lady who has identified herself as NG. NG not only has to deal with a grumpy Dad hell bent on believing that her pics in a bikini have corrupted his son beyond repair but also a college trying to restore its reputation by slut-shaming her. No one in the middle of this has apparently stood up and asked just why is it her fault?
If this can happen in a city like Kolkata that’s considered woke, progressive and has been known to uphold personal and sexual freedoms, what’s the hope for the rest of the country? Am I to firmly retire my own bikinis and skirts and walk around in the beach sun carpeted from head to toe, like I were hiding Persian currency beneath? Even more worrying is when a college like St Xaviers with an alumni that boasts of luminaries like Utpal Dutta, Hamid Ansari, Lakshmi Mittal, subjects their faculty to a kangaroo-style court that is nothing more than a man-child’s hissy fit masquerading as due process.
When a woman posts her pictures on her account, it doesn’t come with a free license to download and share her images and put her under the scanner.
What an employee does outside her workplace is nobody’s but her own business. It doesn’t matter whether her account had public or private settings. When a woman posts her pictures on her account, it doesn’t come with a free license to download and share her images and put her under the scanner. And if you choose to do so, do it at your own salacious risks.
What sort of blinkered world do we live in where a woman who is clearly a victim is subjected to so much humiliation, and is forced to resign. Why criminalise her career for whatever she chooses to do with her body and privacy away from it? Perhaps the NG episode is meant to send a strong message to women that they are expected to unflinchingly be both the object and the book men want to pretend to take oaths over. Nothing for that matter is sacred to men when it comes to protecting a make-believe world of morality. A world in which every woman’s a beauty until she is also declared to be the beast.
Nearly funny, almost liberal, rarely serious, Purba likes to keep a safe distance from perfection. Unfortunately she has an opinion on everything, fact or fiction, beginnings or ends, light or heavy, long and short.