Someone Tell The Aunty To Mind Her Own Business
You have to be living under a rock if you haven’t come across any comment pertaining to the video or the (in)famous ‘Aunty’s Video’ itself that shows a very unapologetic middle aged lady who’s being collectively admonished by a group of young girls for having shamed one of them on the length of the dress that she was wearing.
Well, if you haven’t, I’ll save you the trouble of looking for it. It shows a regular looking middle-aged woman who’s being ‘hounded’ by a set of girls, asking her to apologize. Why? Because the lady sermoned one of them in a restaurant that the short dress she was wearing was an invitation to men to rape her. And I don’t say this based on the girls’ statements but the lady herself who first refuses flatly and then reiterates her statement about how the length of the skirt calls for indecent comments or rape. And she holds her ground even in the face of questions posed to her as to why a child or an old saree clad lay or a lady in the burqa are raped!
The girls find an ally in another lady, who has daughters of her own. What follows is an extremely loud and heated debate where neither party backs off. The video went viral, the ‘Aunty’ was shamed by trolls and the whole event cascaded out of control. Now that everyone has an opinion on it, yours truly has to put in her two cents. So, here’s what I have to say (with the disclaimer that this is my opinion and we agree to disagree);
First of all, I cannot resist applauding the girls. They had the gumption to get up from the restaurant and follow the lady around, for that alone, they need to be celebrated. The conviction in their voice gives me hope that at least a section of girls now has the strength to stand for themselves and their ideology. When I was that old, I wouldn’t dare to wear a short skirt, if I wanted to (my college didn’t look kindly at jeans and full sleeved shirts for girls, FYI). And every time I raised my voice (which was quite often), I would be advised to keep low or just told to shut up.
Now for those who say, they should have sorted it out peacefully, have they seen the lady’s demeanour? Does she seem amenable to a peaceful ‘discussion’? I don’t think so! Making a Police complaint? Really? And then deal with the patronizing policemen to sort it out amongst themselves? Doesn’t seem to be a practical recourse either.
Coming to the lady, sadly she isn’t alone. She is just one of the torch bearers of patriarchy that we have been encountering all along. A few days ago, in this column, I had lamented about how women are their worst enemies (The Queen Bee Syndrome). I had hoped then that I may be proved wrong someday soon, but that was probably too optimistic of me.
Coming to the language the girls used, in the heat of the moment, I do admit they went overboard. I wish they hadn’t because it’s now being used against them. It is trivializing the stand that they were right in taking. The noise they are making, is their frustration and anger that they have been harbouring all along.
Hindsight is perfect. It’s easy to sit and discuss where the girls went wrong. But what if we are in those girls’ shoes or that mother who intervened. I think we will echo their emotion too. As a mother of a young girl, I would want my daughter to be free to choose what she wears, hemlines and necklines be damned. And if anyone tries what that lady did, with my girl, I am quite ready to give her a piece of my mind.
And finally, the online trolls, they did what they do best. They are opportunistic cowards who are just eyeing a situation where they can pour out the misogynistic venom that they are filled with. Ignoring them is our best bet and they’ll crawl back in the crevices from where they came.
PS: My daughter, curious about the video I was writing about, insisting on seeing it. She applauded the girls, especially that mommy and is appalled at the lady’s words. Her verdict, “Someone tell the Aunty to mind her own business.”
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