I am sure many of you have heard people whine about how the good old romantic days are gone now and people have to think twice before making a move due to the fear that their actions will be labeled as harassment?
For the longest time, harassment tactics have been packaged as love for the audience
Constantly stalking your love interest, nagging her to interact, throwing your number at her, and enforcing physical contact were some of the actions labeled as love.
This has resulted in an entire generation internalizing these tactics and believing that it is alright to violate people’s personal space and enforce your feelings on them
An idea which films and pop culture have rigorously pursued is that men can have the space to force their “love” on a woman and eventually she will reciprocate those feelings. Hence, there is no stopping in trying to persuade your love interest.
We have an entire generation of men not understanding a plain “no” as an answer and pushing boundaries set by women – thinking that their actions will be perceived as romantic.
If the same incidents had taken place a few years ago, it might have been considered normal and seen as a gesture of the budding emotions but times are changing now.
People are becoming more aware of the sensitivities of women and the respect that they demand when it comes to the boundaries that they have set for the people around
An incident in Kalash came up recently, where we see a man constantly nagging women and following them around and that too while capturing his “adventure”. The reason why this is not alright is that you are intervening in someone’s personal space, you are capturing it on camera without their consent,
Gepostet von Shahab Charwelu am Dienstag, 19. Juni 2018
People also tend to wish that we go back to the old ways when certain gestures were considered romantic
For example, if a guy throws his number at you; do you think that’s romantic? The reason why this is no more acceptable is that you are enforcing an interaction upon a person who might not necessarily be interested in that interaction?
The idea in itself is very much based on the cultural belief that the opposite genders should not interact and hence, the only plausible means of interaction is through harassment. If people learn to interact decently, there would be no need to throw numbers at people and interactions will be very casual.
Had the misfortune of going to fortress on eid today, and apart from being heckled by around forty men, this one guy threw this chit with his number at me. Please hit him up with your thoughts on harrassers. pic.twitter.com/zkRs0nvZ1J
— Noodle (@apkiammi) June 17, 2018
Men have grown up not taking “no” for an answer because why wouldn’t a woman want to be with them unless she’s already “taken”?
This idea that a woman’s no is only acceptable in the case that she’s already committed is also quite scary because this means that men don’t know when to draw a line and just back off. And then there are those as well, who don’t respect a woman’s choice even if they find out that she is committed.
She: I have a boyfriend
Me: That's your personal problem, Fix me somewhere.😂
— S O H A I L👓( سہیل) (@Kashmiri_Boy16) June 20, 2018
What’s problematic is that women are not granted any agency when it comes to matters of the heart. The cases are almost always decided by the male figures surrounding her. The person who develops feelings for her pushes her to develop these feelings in return and it’s almost always a case of dictation. But that’s wrong. Remember to understand and respect a plain old no.
Let’s also discuss stalking someone. If you are following someone around and keep an eye on their daily activities, sorry but that’s nothing but creepy
There is nothing romantic about it. Imagine someone following you around 24/7. I am sure you wouldn’t think “oh, how romantic”. You would actually get pretty scared and definitely not develop feelings for the person.
And yes, our cinema and pop culture are to be held accountable for this.
Indian cinema has romanticised thins like sexism, patriarchy, cheating, catcalling, & stalking so much they have successfully normalised those things happening in the brown community.
— KartineeMag (@ChutneyKarti) June 24, 2018
Remember that this is not a movement against traditions and cultures. Societies evolve and sometimes for better too
We should not always resist change just for the sake of it. These actions have resulted in men feeling entitled to a woman’s love and purely out of these actions which now make everyone cringe. Understand that times have changed and don’t push people to accept them because you want the same ideas of romance to be applicable in this day and age as well.
The idea of romance is evolving and it is now very much incorporating the consent of both sides and dissuading men from harassing women into loving them
It should not be very difficult to understand how important that is and it is only bound to improve relations rather than uphold ideals which make women uncomfortable.
The difference also is that we are living in a digital age. People easily call out others for their behavior. We have seen the result of the guy harassing women in Kalash. It will not be long before such actions become common practice. So it is important to understand and respect the changes which push people to be better individuals.
cover image via dralexandrasolomon.com