Does Publicly Shaming Women Empower Them? This 'Activist' Seems to Think It Does
When this self-proclaimed women's rights' activist took to social media to share his hypocritical views, he unwittingly exposed the ugly side of the women's movement in our country, or the lack thereof.
According to his twitter bio, Kundan Srivastava is an Indian activist, author, engineer, and social entrepreneur and, to top it all, is supposedly the recipient of the Universal Humanity Award, 2013. He also happens to be the brand ambassador for mobile app, Truecaller and founder of NGO called Be in Humanity.
Yes, all commendable feats, yet Kundan's recent Facebook posts speak otherwise. In a post dated 2nd November, 2015, Srivastava put up two voyeuristic posts of women who seem to have been photographed without their knowledge.
This is the original post that caught everyone's attention. The image, that shows two women with their bra straps showing (bummer) has been blurred (not by original uploader), but the perversion is blaring.
This was Kundan's caption for the picture, and noted women's activist (the real deal), Kavita Krishnan 's comment below.
But Kavita's comment, and similar comments that followed, seemed to have no effect on Kundan, as his retort to that was that he has the right to dictate appropriate dressing to women as he fought for them.
Kavita Krishnan also posted a screen-grab of the post on twitter, and it was met by a curt reply by an angry Srivastava , who ended with, 'don't judge a book by its cover.' Rich coming from a man who was judging women by their outfits a few hours before.
After the backlash the post started receiving, the apparent 'super feminist (we're still trying to wrap our heads around that),' made several edits to the original post which read:
"I strongly disagree on such fashion in India. I would like to request, please avoid Nudeness.
I believe Woman are glory of creature. Being a Girl is a Dignity. Mind it!"
Here's the entire edit history, just to make sure. The level of attempted political correctness is too damn high!
In a time when women's issues are coming to the forefront, and young women and men are struggling for their right to freedom like never before, a post like this is definitely received in bad taste. If people who claim they support women's rights and, yet, publish disgusting posts like these that dictate what women should wear to 'uphold their dignity,' then not much is to be expected from their 'conservative' counterparts.
What's worse is the lack of remorse Mr. Srivastava has displayed, as he still upholds his twisted belief that his notion of empowerment involves policing women for their choices, clothes, lifestyle, and so on. Kundan, who happens to have worked with victims of abuse, unwittingly promoted the very behaviour that leads to victim blaming and gives power to the abuser.
It is ironic that the self-righteous Kundan Srivastava played out the same old vicious cycle of victim blame that starts with an amplified version of the thought behind his post. It doesn't take too long for misogynists to go from "She shouldn't wear revealing clothes," or "Her bra strap shouldn't be showing" to "She was asking for it."
If you really want to 'empower' women, Mr Srivastava, avoiding voyeurism and learning about and propagating consent is a good place to start. You still have a long way to go towards being a feminist, or a 'super feminist.' Empowering women does not entail putting them on a pedestal and deciding what women should do in order to deserve respect.