Latest posts by Chitra Ratnaker (see all)
- Unapologetic Bra Straps, Cleavage, And The Never Ending Saga Of Causal Sexism - July 15, 2017
- This Indian Workplace Is Giving Its Women Employees A Leave On The First Day Of Their Periods. - July 8, 2017
- Meet The Girl Who’s Doodling To Glory While Everyone’s Busy Saying – Beta Koi Dhang Ki Naukri Kar Lo - July 1, 2017
See all stories by Chitra Ratnaker
“Excuse me miss”, said an alpha male, staring deliberating at my bra strap.
“It’s flashing from underneath your top”, he remarked!
Not knowing what to say, I gave him a deadpan look, quickly sliding it inside. I decided to walk away, halfheartedly, with a may-be-next-time, as I have always done. As we all do. But my may-be-next-time was overflowing. Overflowing with rage and ‘I will slap him tightly, the next time someone does that to me’.
I turned around. He was still there, his face glowing (or rather stinking) with patriarchy. “Excuse me, Mister, but tips of your chest hair are peeping from your heavage. You better hide it”. He gave me a dry look. Not knowing what to do, he walked out frothing with indignation.
How many times have you experienced this run of the mill situation and thought may-be-next-time? The next time someone does that to me, I will slap him tight and show him his place. A lot of women (including me) are really really bad at turning down. Forget about horrendous acts of molestation, rape or sadist sex, we regularly experience unwanted approaches and hyper-sexualized conversations.
I do experience my share of catalog instances of casual sexism. Only recently did I post a picture of myself showing a bit of my cleavage. I got a plethora of messages (from guys) asking me for more such pictures. It has happened to you all. What gives them the audacity to make such awkward advances? Our may-be-next-time!!
A late night text from someone you know, asking you “but what are you wearing right now?” isn’t novelty. A guy asking you to “may I screenshot the image you put up on your social site, if you don’t mind?” isn’t sobriety. A man groping your waist and saying, “sorry”, isn’t misinterpretation. A friend asks you about your clothing late in the night isn’t just curiosity. A guy will push the absolute limits of social acceptability by discussing our sexual preferences.
Every-time you think of turning such inappropriate and offending advances down, you give it a thought. “I could have turned him down. But may-be-next-time!”
But I ask you, “girls, why are we so bad at telling a guy, we are not comfortable?”. Why does our ‘may-be-next-time’ doesn’t ever come?
Our fears aren’t unfounded. When I turn down a man’s advances, I run the risk of dealing with everything from losing a friend to being called a bitch, and sometimes hate messages. You could literally be Bradley Cooper but If I am seeing someone or straight away not interested, you got no chance on me.
Replace your may-be-next-time with profanity and a blunt ‘NO’. The advances may be serious or minor or outrageously offensive but never throw a may-be-next-time and move on. Saying ‘No’ doesn’t make you a ‘bitch’ or a ‘cock-tease’.
It’s time we brush aside our may-be-next-time and be unreservedly blunt about things we don’t like.
What’s your take on this?