Are men lecherous and debauch? If not, why do men flirt, woo and sextet women? Quoting personal experiences and studies, Samrudhi attempts to answer this question, in the new weekly column, Women’s Worldview, beginning this Monday, exclusively in Different Truths.
Mark Zukerberg’s pet creation Facebook – “an American for-profit corporation and an online social media and social networking site service, based in Menlo Park, USA” (as quoted by Wikipedia) – has been rapidly turning into a “for-profit” where men leave no stone unturned in trying to woo young girls and women! Fake profiles and multiple friend requests have become an everyday affair. What’s still more annoying is that once you “accept” a friend request, either because of a large number of mutual friends or otherwise, thinking the profile is a genuine one, you are hammered by endless Messenger texts and calls. This issue has become rampant in the past several months, where I frequently see girls posting messages on Facebook to “block” some person or to complain that their accounts have been hacked.
Again this brings to light the question of being a woman. Will women always serve as mere pawns of a determinedly patriarchal society that reeks of lust and hedonism? As Maya Angelou writes, “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back”. Taking up her cue, I would like to send out a message to all people out there for a collective call to action. Such perverted men, many of them married and having kids and a family of their own, have no better task than posting comments on photographs, pinging their victims on Messenger and trying to uphold a mask of deception in a bid to catch their prey. (Often I am left to wonder at how thick-skinned such men are, not even having an inkling of guilt about their actions.) And it is not a long time after that they very smugly ask for your WhatsApp number. Blocking such people is the very least you can do: perhaps that is the easiest way to shut the nuisance out of your life, but that won’t be the end of the story. They will just try jutting into some other girl’s life! Don’t you think, being a woman, you too have a duty, a responsibility towards other women too? Taking inspiration from a quote by Amelia Earhart, who aptly says, “The most effective way to do it, is to do it”, such men, or rather “wolves in sheep’s clothing” need to be exposed, first before their families and then before the whole world. And it is up to us women to take the reins in hand. Women often fear that exposing such debauched minds shall put a question mark on their own identity too, because such a narrow-minded misogynistic society always puts the first blame on the woman, assuming she must have given the first nod that led to further conversations. Does that mean, even in a democratic world order, women have to restrict themselves to making choices for the fear of being judged?
There are certain shocking revelations by a study conducted by a group of researchers at the University of Melbourne and elsewhere that “examined how the sexes used words differently on Facebook”. It enjoyed a grossly aggrandising title, “Women are warmer but no less assertive than men.” However, the actual reports of the study stand to dismantle this bold title with contradictory notions, “On Facebook, women mention husbands but men don’t mention wives”.
Why is it that again women become victims of persecution? If these so called “normal, normative, cultured” people have the audacity to simultaneously post pictures closely entwined with their lovely wives (women who are blissfully unaware of their husbands’ misdeeds) and flirt with girls at least 10-15 years younger to them, then we women too should strike swords of defiance against such double-faced brats. These “mortals without morals” want to gain as quick an access to a woman’s life as possible, trying to ogle out all possible information about her whereabouts, family, income and relationship status in just two or three polite Messenger conversations, before setting the stage for the game. And then, assessing the personality of the woman in question, they start putting baits to her interests. If young girls are innocent enough to nibble the bait, they immediately ask for your WhatsApp number. And if someone is gullible enough to give that too, the next moment you get a ping on WhatsApp that says “Hi dear! Let’s catch up soon.” Messages like, “Would you want to hook up online?” have become pretty much common. Why don’t these men understand that Facebook isn’t a dating site like Tinder where they can ask such absurd questions!
Wasn’t their dirty stares on streets and alleyways, passing snide comments on well-dressed girls (just because of Western attire) enough that they have started prowling through Facebook too. This isn’t only unjustified but also unacceptable. It is time women stood up to fight their own battles, to spread their powerful voices across worlds and people. Men who are bold enough (or rather I prefer calling them “idiots”) to cross their limitations need to be subsumed under the glare of a woman’s wrath which is powerfully scorching. Men like this have been let out to roam free, defiling a normal peaceful social order, intruding into others’ lives is something blatantly unacceptable in a modern democratic horizon. I have long since accepted the notion that we women are always the “second sex” but that doesn’t give these men the right to dig into our private lives.
Narrating a personal experience, I joined Facebook in October 2012 and till December 2016, my friend list was limited to something around 400 people. When my fourth poetry anthology, Communion, was launched and aired on social media by the publishing company, the number of friend requests escalated exponentially and now I have a 1200+ friends list with a 900+ pending requests. And many friend requests were accepted by me because of the large number of mutual friends or because they were people from my home state. But at that time, I was ignorant of the complications associated with the liberty that anonymity on the internet carries with it. Here is one such conversation with a person I was forced to block and report. I don’t wish to name him because this freaking man doesn’t deserve that special mention, but such people need to be lambasted in the way I did. This would perhaps be an eye-opener for other women who are facing similar issues.
But then, this isn’t about me only. One click on the Facebook’s search button will guide you to countless such posts where women have taken people like this by the horns, threatening to expose them. Here are a few more snippets of posts I found on Facebook.
Anonymity on the Internet has become one big issue that calls for new, amended laws on cyber crime. In a study recently published in the journal PLoS One, researchers used “data from over 68,000 Facebook users to explore the difference in what self-identified men and women talk about on the social platform and how they do it”. And the study concluded with a chilling statement: Most people behave differently online. So yeah, since we have unwittingly become part of such a world, women too need to be cautious on their part as well, not vulnerable enough to fall into these traps. All in all, I rest my case here, calling out to women to be bold and take the right steps in exposing such double-faced brats who need to be condemned and punished. It is time these self-obsessed men understood “A NO means NO”.
Photos by the author and from the Internet
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Samrudhi Dash, hailing from Odisha, is a twenty-six year old writer, with a Masters Degree in English Literature from JNU, New Delhi. Her published works include four poetry anthologies, and her debut novel “Beyond the Horizon” (2017), by AuthorsPress, New Delhi. She has contributed poems and articles in many journals and anthologies of international repute. She believes in a life by design and an equalitarian world order where men and women have a balanced status.