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BJP leader OP Dhankar made a sensation when he promised the men of Haryana that if BJP came to power, it would get girls from Bihar for men in Haryana to marry. Finding women to marry is a big problem in Haryana with its bad and deteriorating sex ratio, with over a hundred and fifty less women per thousand men.

It is hardly a secret that bride trafficking is one of the ways men in Haryana are able to marry. Traffickers "purchase" women from places suffering from adversity - for example, last year's drought in Maharashtra saw parched people who couldn't afford water "give away" a daughter for marriage in order to be able to sustain the rest, even as the drought caused many local marriages to be cancelled or postponed. The consideration for such marriages often is simple. Does the place have enough water?

Such "wives", locally known as "molki" - literally meaning purchased - are usually little more than servants with additional responsibilities and routinely suffer domestic abuse, marital rape and abandonment for reasons ranging from failure to produce a son to ill health and inconvenience. They are often married to others when original families tire of them or shared by multiple men and eventually pushed to prostitution. It is a human rights problem and a women's rights problem and human trafficking is most definitely illegal.

So it is very worrying when a political leader promises a male dominated society that it will "get" women for them all to marry if voted to power. The party that rants over "doles" apparently sees no wrong in distributing women like a commodity.

What is more alarming is that beyond an idiotic leader appears to be a party that does not see this as a serious enough problem to punish spectacularly.

At this point one really wonders what it bodes for the future of India if a party that rally has no ethics beyond religious supremacy and "whatever wins votes" does not have supporters abandoning them even after an obscene election promise like this.

Is it too late for Indian women? Can they be promised away as election goodies and bring victory? Would that even be a win for democracy?

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What really gets my goat these days is the bull in china shop approach to women's rights, which has a male dominated state and society trying to fix everything (sexual assault) - for women. I am a woman and I agree that there is vast gender inequality in India. I believe that women need to be empowered. I don't see our methods as useful. I have started calling the gender ghetto.

There are two lobbies in conflict determining women's rights that result in actions somewhere in between - usually what is acceptable to both. The "feminist" lobby - which seeks to create sensitivity and ease of justice for women - particularly for rapes. The "patriarchy" which would prefer to control women. Most of the women of India fall into neither of these two influential groups.

The feminist lobby (as per my observation in INDIA) looks to show humanity the right path - regardless of whether change results or is immediately useful for women. In less polite words, it is an upper middle class hijack of the female gender that appreciates itself and interprets "victories" against patriarchy as empowerment of women (which isn't necessarily true).

Patriarchy is on more comfortable ground. They have control and it is about managing so that no women actually get into bastions of power. The best way is to create luxurious ghettos for women, sold to feminists as special attention to women's rights.

As a result, there is an abundance of measures taken specially for women that do very little to change the ground situation. There isn't a single place where women can claim to feel safer after all the agitation, in spite of a steady stream of laws, schemes, special facilities, forces... Unfortunately, this doesn't cause the women's rights activists to pause and wonder if more of the same would be useful either. On the other hand, the special provisions cannot be made for all women - too resource intensive. So you create nice ghettos of women's rights where the loudest voices are - and keep peddling the idea that "something is being done". Unfortunately, Indian feminists ARE gullible enough to fall for it as long as their egos are stroked well.

Human rights as a special grant for women

Safety is a fundamental right. It isn't something that is a favor granted to women. Women only banks, women's credit cards, women police forces (more on that later)... You create a new breed of men who "know how to treat women". You have morally upright people criticizing social media abuse of women "Is this how you speak with women?", as though abusing men is fine... in the ghetto. I'd call it bubble, except it is really a psychological ghetto. Not merely isolation, but marginalization peddled as women's rights, confining women to "safe" spaces with "better" rights that "appreciate" them.

So, your pub going woman getting molested is an outrage, because that space is supposed to be safe for women - indeed, less "inhibited" women are part of the appeal - besides, don't the passes say "couples entry"? On the other hand, the woman getting molested in a seedy country liquor bar should have known better than to be there. Because, the pub is an official gender ghetto. Women are supposed to be in that space. On the other hand, the seedy bar is the "real world", where no concessions will be made to women, and they must know "men will be men" while walking in.

Put your hand on your heart and tell me this is not so. That this is not how your perception works too, even though you'd like to respect "all" women?

The problem is the same. Drunk louts harassing women or worse.

Any woman who has asked a husband, male partner or male friend to escort her to a dance bar (if you're around Mumbai) or red light area will attest to reason for refusal - or at least serious caution - being "it isn't safe for women". In spite of the dancers and prostitutes being girls themselves. Think about why one kind of woman wouldn't be safe in a place where women are the star attraction otherwise.

In essence, this is a class phenomenon, mostly limited to the upper middle class. Very rich people can do what they like to women and get away with it through money power or connections. Lower middle classes hover on fringes, knowing that this protection is very unreliable if the perpetrator is from an upper class. Lower classes get routinely harmed and no one gives a damn beyond stray newspaper reports or the occasional case that has enough TRP value to elevate the victim to a more deserving category of human.

The ghetto can also be layered and existing in the same place as the "real world". In other words, your pub goer getting raped will be news. A pub employee getting raped may be news depending on job (no sweepers, please), but if the woman security guard in the mall the pub is in gets raped by patrons of the pub? Forget it. Brief mention somewhere if at all. News item, not women's rights issue. You don't want unnecessary restrictions on the patrons of the pub over a nobody. It is the same reason that in spite of alcohol being a factor in many crimes and routinely in rapes, you will never find the elites bringing this up. You do not want to create an aura of shame around alcohol if you drink yourself - as a vast majority of public figures do.

Identifying a risk factor in rape is not as important as retaining elite freedoms. Not even as a minor caution point like - "Avoid being alone with one or more men you can smell alcohol on, as alcohol is known to reduce inhibitions. Particularly if there has been the slightest unwelcome flirting or sexually crude behavior or short temper." This gender ghetto is selective about risks it protects from. Only some are to be prevented. Others can be condemned in hindsight, as preventing will be inconvenient.

It is also an age phenomenon, where this insistence on safety is largely relevant to young women, but kids get harmed routinely with little protest, as do older women. So it is basically a phenomenon of nationwide statistics of enormous inequality against women used to give select women a carte blanche - which is also an illusion. It is given only as long as it doesn't inconvenience any of those with power. Rape convictions are overwhelmingly more from lower classes. No one has a problem with the nameless louts being taken out of the equation.

Feminism in India is not into hard wars. It prefers moral elegance and the high road. Patriarchy is not going to give up controlling women and treating them as primarily existing to serve the male will. Their interests do not converge on issues like domestic violence and marital rape. So we have some talk about it, but no serious challenge. The gender ghetto is that golden area where feminism and patriarchy agree and create a special safe zone where those who belong can expect safety to be their right.

Patriarchy prefers handouts to sharing power.

Patriarchy sees power as a male domain. It may be allowed to others - within limits. Misogyny actively seeks to exclude women from power. For the misogynist mind, it is better to give women a gilded harem than let them sit among the men as equals. Creating these gender ghettos works very well for them. Political parties having women wings with duties to support but very little control on party policies. Women only banks - even if they are not economically viable. Women's credit cards - why give them male ones when we can tailor features and cashbacks to define their identity with shopping, groceries and so on?

And of course, women to provide security for women, women only police stations... pitting women police against men who are highly likely to be threats to women, rather than create an overall gender sensitive police force. Risks to women were never the problem. The problem was complaints about it. This looks like a grand gesture. See! We gave women power to bring men to justice! Now vote for us please. Yet, do women only forces find it easier to deal with criminals? Why would bringing criminals to book be a gender issue? What are male cops supposed to do if they get a complaint of crimes against women? The same thing as the women cops. Yet, rather than increase the representation of women among the police force at large, it is more misogyny compatible to give them their corner to occupy.

Laws that "protect" women.

While women are overwhelmingly more harmed by men than vice versa, creating laws that institutionalize a bias against men does not help anyone. It is the legal ghetto. That sanctuary for women where they only have to name the justice they need. Of course, there is the "real world" where cops refuse to file cases - or worse to make them go away rather than exercise their rights. This successfully fudges the idea of justice for women, turning it into something that is specially granted for them in a very dramatic and unreserved manner, whereas the reality is different. Nor is creating a special issue out of the right of women to seek justice as generous as it sounds. It is the fundamental right of anyone harmed by another to seek justice.

In our grandstanding that wants to make sure we leave no space for any crime against women to slip through (regardless of applicability in real world), we make laws so unreal, that it is easy to show how a man accused of rape cannot be innocent short of an act of God - effectively turning a rape accusation into something women do that men have no defense against - when it is not true.

Consider a woman filing a complaint that she was raped a week ago by someone when they were alone in the office. Give me any possible way the man could prove his innocence short of proving he wasn't in the place at all. The man is presumed guilty - unless he can prove his innocence - yet, how does one prove an absence? It is a logical fallacy we have enshrined through reckless law making that only aims to deal out grand punishments without a view on the larger picture.

There is a strong motive to do this. To enshrine dramatic punishments as an exhibition of "doing something" to "fight rape". What is essentially a social problem - the inability of men to court women or take no for an answer - gets dumped on the legal system where it can reside happily, out of sight of a misogynist society, which is not required to face how it treats women. Naturally, for this, the law has to sound like it really knows what it is doing. Even if what it is doing is creating the provision to amputate a decade out of a man's life and reputation on the basis of an accusation he has no real way to disprove. A provision - which like India's thousand grey areas will usually be ignored and conviction rates will remain low at the discretion of judges - who must face their varying levels of conscience on sentencing a man for ten years on the basis of the crime described. Some misogynists will let all kinds of rapists go, others will let only a select few go, but the law if implemented to the letter will let no one go unless there is evidence of innocence. This is the legal system basically reduced to the level of a service for women to do anyone in. Non gender ghetto women won't be able to pull it off, because cops will simply laugh them out of the police station.

But surely it helps women? Even if it is an unfair service that caters to a few women, at least those women get empowered, right?

In my view, it doesn't. Judges who are often notoriously misogynistic will protect rapists for "small mistakes" when 10 year sentences seem to be disproportionate for an act that leaves no trace. Number of rapes on record will go high, but conviction rates will drop so dramatically that filing an FIR for rape will be rendered a joke. This will additionally provide fodder for misogynists to trivialize the act of filing a rape complaint itself, and it will be very difficult to debunk, because they will use the impossibility of proving innocence as their argument, even though lack of convictions will prove that "impossibility" false in practical application. All in all, a whole avalanche of controversial rapes will crop up, giving great boost to the feminist industry, but will lead to increased perceptions of danger limiting women, as well as increasing hostility from men once they start looking at cases. It will do a grave wrong to women whose PROVABLE rapes will now be further competing with scarce legal resources for justice.

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It seems we identify an ideal that should be, and start acting like it is fact and simply ignore what doesn't fit. We want uncompromising punishments and we also want every single wrong to be punished and we would rather a few innocents get punished than a few victims fail to nail their abusers.

Yet, is all this hand holding resulting in more assured women? More confident, more safe, more purposeful? Or merely more reckless? What is it that we are achieving, and how long is this supposed to continue and at whose cost? Why is it that we are choosing a hyperbole laden decision making process rather than something more scientific, measured and balanced?

Who will it hurt if women stop getting special favors and instead get their rights?

 

What Tarun Tejpal did at Tehelka's iThink Festival seems to have more witnesses than it appears. In spite of the victim repeatedly saying she does not want to file an FIR, there is a clamour for exactly that.

This bothers me. This bothers me because yet again, activism silences the victim. In supposedly caring for the victim, we end up overruling her voice. I don't see this as helpful to the victim or empowering to women at large.

This is hardly a case of the victim being silenced. She has managed to speak with colleagues, speak to media at large through a representative. She has made her demands clear and the demands are aligned with guidelines intended to make working spaces safer for women. The guidelines also include the possibility of an FIR, if the committee finds Indian law broken. She has not abdicated her rights. So where is this tide of insistence on an FIR coming from? Also, why? If the victim believes that an FIR is not required, how is it that so many people know what she went through better than her?

Is an FIR really the better choice?

I don't think so. An FIR would probably be the best option if Tehelka had continued to refuse to form a sexual harassment committee as per Supreme Court guidelines as an escalation of her action if one failed. But this one didn't fail. The pressure on Tehelka has led to a committee being formed under women's rights activist Urvashi Butalia. Is the victim's interest still best served by filing an FIR? I don't think so.

Sexual harassment is illegal under law. However, it would take a complete idiot to imagine that it being illegal does a single thing to prevent it. It happens in workplaces, families, public places. It is everywhere. Workplaces in particular make it difficult for women. However, the law is too distant. It lets people abdicate their responsibility of safety and inclusion for women. A woman gets harassed, then go to a court of law, while the world outside continues to victimize her for being the victim.

The Vishakha guidelines, in my view are a superior alternative. They force workplaces to address problems faced by the women in the environment they happen in. They have a direct impact in the power balance of the organization in the place where the imbalance is. To put it in a primitive way, the perpetrator is defeated by his victim in the same power structure that he violated her. This will have an impact on the overall culture of the organization as well. If there is a crime found, the Vishaka guidelines direct the EMPLOYER to file proceedings against the perpetrator. In other words, Tehelka will have to file a case against Tarun Tejpal - who created it. Whoever believes that a sexual harassment committee isn't a far more powerful choice for proceeding for this victim clearly hasn't thought it through.

And the option of an FIR is ALWAYS there, if the sexual harassment committee fails to see the matter fairly.

Here is also an opportunity to do greater good for working women of India at large by creating awareness of the Vishakha guidelines and their implementation. By following the process in a way that more people understand what is going on and how it protects women and what is needed from organizations in order to follow the guidelines. I dare say Tehelka with its human rights aware staff will be an ideal example for the country as well. Both, in not having followed the guidelines, like so many organizations, and then pretty much doing the whole thing from scratch in public eye - the process, if not the case.

Finally, I sense that the victim does care deeply for Tehelka. Her continuing work during the festival, the method of intervention she has chosen, all lead to nurturing Tehelka while confronting what is wrong. Considering the number of organizations in the country with rotten bosses, it is a lesson that will be useful for many - how an organization can be strengthened by making it safe for women. How harassment can be confronted even if it is at the top of the ladder. The fact that it is the abuser who has resigned (upgraded from recused for six months) and not the victim is a massive plus already.

There is a need to be less hyperbolic and more sensitive to what the victim is trying to achieve as justice and respect that it has a larger vision than simply filing a case, and throwing a chap behind bars, which may still happen if the sexual harassment committee finds a crime.

It might be useful to remember that a victim of a sexual crime was defeated in that moment. This does not make her stupid. The victim in question is a journalist in a publication that deals extensively with women's rights and between herself and colleagues helping her they have seen more wisdom on what works to get justice after rape than people patronizing her and dismissing her wishes.

Lastly, there seems to be a horde of people who are in it just because it is Tehelka. Fair enough. Tehelka exposed corruption in their party a decade ago and made them lose their halo. Now they are happy to dance on its grave. Fair enough too. But it will be more effective to stop pretending that it is an effort to support the victim. It isn't support to overrule someone to protect them. It is just another Khap Panchayat.

 

Tehelka stands on the wrong end of an outrage this time. Tarun Tejpal stands accused of sexual harassment of a young journalist during their iTHINK festival. While I don't downplay sexual harassment, it is a very common crime. With 90% of women stating that they have been sexually violated at some point, and most sexual harassment not even being recognized as sexual harassment, there really remains no identity that can claim a halo.

Workplace sexual harassment is often hidden and suppressed in the name of the well being of the larger organization. Sexual harassers cross the line of personal boundaries routinely and it is not legal. However it falls on the organization to deal with these instances, punish perpetrators and make their workplaces safe for all. This has been clearly outlined in the Vishakha guidelines which state:

It shall be the duty of the employer or other responsible persons in work places or other institutions to prevent or deter the commission of acts of sexual harassment and to provide the procedures for the resolution, settlement or prosecution of acts, of sexual harassment by taking all steps required.

When an action constitutes a crime as per Indian laws, the EMPLOYER is required to file a complaint. The employer is required to take disciplinary action against misconduct and provide proper mechanisms of redressal of complaints. The employer is required to constitute a complaints committee or counselling as appropriate.

[Tweet "What happens when the employer is the abuser?"]

As clearly seen in the shit storm after the incident became public, nothing much.

It is a fortnight since the said violation happened. No action. When the victim finally found her voice to make a louder noise, Tejpal wrote a letter of atonement offering to step aside for six months leaving tehelka to Shoma Chaudhary's "more than capable hands". How capable Shoma Chaudhary's hands are in leading an organization that endlessly works with human rights related issues is abundantly clear when she immediately forwards that mail as an update on the changes happening in the organization. Tathastu.

Like a Khap Panchayat offering to "clear up" a rape by marrying rapist to victim, Shoma Chaudhary "clears up" this mess by giving her former boss a six month leave.

Many have found Tarun Tejpal's stand "principled" in terms of punishing self for wrong he has done. I don't quite agree with this. If at some point in his harassment, he had realized that he had done a wrong and tried to apologize and atone for it, it would have been an atonement. Instead, a news report based on a letter leaked by the girl shows that there were two incidents of molestation with one possibly being rape. There were repeated refusals, avoidance, confrontation of Tejpal by his daughter whom the victim confided in. All through which, he kept normalizing the incident, describing it as something she participated in ("banter") and even blaming the victim for telling his daughter about it. This isn't all that different from rape victims being told to "tell no one".

What has the victim asked for? For proper process to be followed and for a written apology to her. The victim has not filed an FIR so far. She wants a sexual harassment committee to be formed and a proper public apology by Tarun Tejpal. I think she is right. It will be faster justice than over burdened courts (which undermines its power to deter). Though of course no one is stopping police from taking action anyway. Manohar Parrikar and National Commission for Women have indeed done so, as they should. Justice Katju should, as well, as Chairman, Press Council of India as this relates with a news publication being safe for women journalists.

[Tweet "Manohar Parrikar and National Commission for Women have taken notice. So should Justice Katju, Chairman of PCI"]

Action in a media organization against a sexual predator will go a longer way to detering sexual harassment at the workplace than a long drawn court case will. It will also be an important landmark in the much necessary and long overdue responsibility of people themselves in not tolerating sexual harassment instead of abandoning the victim to a delayed gamble at courts where they don't have to oppose exploitation of women themselves.

It is a matter where the organization should be held responsible rather than the individual alone, particularly considering the blatant attempts to deny a crime by euphemizing it as misjudgment and so on. It isn't just a matter of one person being tried in a court (which should be resorted to anyway, if Tehelka fails to act), but a matter of a work culture where sexual harassment at the workplace is not hidden but openly called to account and punished as appropriate including forcing an apology.

In essence, Tejpal is trying to avoid having to admit to sexual abuse by taking a six month vacation.

[Tweet "Tejpal is trying to avoid having to admit to sexual abuse by taking a six month vacation."]

Tejpal's letter is so inconsiderate of the significance of his actions, that his letter apologizes for harm to the values of the organization he built but not journalists for his treatment of one among them and for his appalling actions that will now shadow the fruit of *their* blood sweat and tears in exposing injustices by making them seem selective.

In this, Shoma Chaudhary and Tarun Tejpal have also wronged their staff by making their professional credibility subject to allegations of selective interest in human rights when it suits them. This, to any person interested in human rights is an insult that is hard to bear and an organization has no right to impose this on its employees. Revati Laul has quit Tehelka over this. The letters have been leaked within minutes of being sent. This clearly shows the unease among at least a few journalists with how this is going down.

[Tweet "Shoma Chaudhary and Tarun Tejpal have made Tehelka journalists vulnerable to allegations of selective conscience"]

I don't see that Tehelka has any alternative but to institute the sexual harassment committee and hold Tarun Tejpal to account along with setting a punishment that isn't just his chosen method of escaping the shame of his own actions, but something that is appropriate to the wrong he has committed in the eyes of people evaluating the situation.

Additionally, Shoma Chaudhary must step down from her newly inherited position for covering up sexual harassment in the workplace as well as refusing to constitute a committee as requested by the victim by terming it an internal matter.  Tarun Tejpal's actions against another woman cannot be an internal matter between him and Shoma Chaudhary with the letter of explanation excluding the nature of the actions, refusal to constitute a committee to transparently investigate them, AND ignoring the wishes of the victim.

[Tweet "Shoma Chaudhary must step down as well for covering up sexual harassment and refusing SH committee"]

Does this mean that Tarun Tejpal can never be falsely accused? No. But it isn't for Shoma and Tarun to call it an internal matter and refuse any oversight. Neutral investigation is important to find the truth and take appropriate action. If Tejpal is innocent (and it is looking highly unlikely at this point), then there will be evidence that the victim's claims are fabricated, specially since the accusations involve actions like messages or misconduct in areas covered by CCTV.

Journalists at Tehelka who believe in the work the magazine does must put their foot down and insist on procedure being followed for the sake of the credibility of the organization as well as themselves.

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I get a lot of these myths about women. Astonishing, because women aren't yet so rare that people can't simply look around them and find out truths. Here goes.

Women are stupid at tech

Now this comes as a surprise to me, because most men I know are beyond stupid at tech stuff too. In fact, women will at least admit they don't know and attempt to learn, men will mostly go the lazy route and say they can't. Particularly if it involves work. How about test driving this view of the genders for a few days?

Women are frivolous

Apparently this one is born from the fact that women do a lot of shopping. I recommend that men take over the running of the home, and enjoy all the shopping they want. Groceries, vegetables, curtains, home appliances.... goody... what wasteful creatures, these men!!!

Other than clothing, cosmetics and accessories, I don't even know any other expense women typically do for themselves. Now men wear clothing too. Also accessories. Most men have more expensive phones than the women in their home. Far more men have gadgets in general from cars to iPods and laptops to cigarette lighters than women.

If you consider men and women in entriety, rather than the bucket you live in, men earn hundreds of times more than women. Own thousands of times more property than women. Women take on far more unpaid work than men. Yet apparently, it is the women with money to throw around?

There is no logic to this popular myth, yet it abounds.

The cosmetics industry is the only one which will never die

Here is the Forbes list of Global 2000 companies. Please find your cosmetics company of choice and return with an explanation of why Forbes is publishing such blatant lies when "everyone knows" that women are the real spenders. Or you have to face the fact that men guarantee far more industries immortality than women. Then it is useful to examine what is achieved by perpetuating this myth? What is achieved by portraying women's spending as inappropriately large?

Women get more publicity but men suffer "equally"

Please explain our gender ratio. Being irritated by demanding women isn't on the same scale as millions of dead women - women dead of gender crimes, though it is our culture to object more to inconvenient women than actual harm done to women. Many like to imagine that India's bad reputation as a country for women is just bad publicity. This is about as true as Pakistan government's belief that Pakistan's reputation for terrorism is bad publicity. And we have far more women dead from gender crimes in our country alone than terrorism worldwide. A disbelieving reader had commented that it was impossible that India was worse than say Saudi Arabia, where women are officially second class citizens. And yet we are. Takes some achievement.

We succeeded in this dubious achievement, because hideous as it is to consider women a second class kind of citizen, there are other factors they are better at. Hunger, safety, domestic abuse, poverty... Not being able to work, for example doesn't matter as much if you are not denied the money to attend to your needs. Sex crimes in Saudi Arabia, for example are not as prevalent as India with beheading being the punishment as opposed to a short stint in jail *if* caught, *if* convicted. This is not to say Saudi Arabia is a paradise for women. It certainly isn't, but to simply say that India "can't be worse than Saudi for women" without statistics to back it doesn't wash. Rather, it stinks of a denial of the wrongness of conditions for women in India.

There need to be organizations to protect men from women

Sure. And there are. And there should be more. Why not start one? Why stop those who are working toward something and redirect their efforts? Because the ones who do the work, aren't the ones talking, but the ones who don't want to see work toward women's rights are the ones talking. People who work for human rights tend to object to all rights violations in general, even if their focus is specific. It is those who wish to deny the rights of people who recommend replacing an overwhelmingly large needy group with what they imagine is the opposite.

But it isn't the opposite of working for women's rights to work for men's rights. The fact of the matter is, men's rights when violated are also largely violated by men. And I am not talking only of sexual crimes. One needs to have power to abuse it, and the fact is that women very rarely have power over men to begin with. So, this whole fantasy of "if only there were people fighting for men's rights, we wouldn't have to listen to this crap that makes us feel guilty" is bullshit. It will never fall under human rights to keep silent on abusers. No matter which group you aim to help.

What such selfish and juvenile people fail to understand is that no matter how many groups for men you start, it won't absolve the harm being done by men, just like no matter how many womens groups get started, it cannot absolve the harm done by women. For example, when it comes to child abuse, other than pedophilia, other kinds of abuse are also perpetrated by women in fairly large numbers. A woman being beaten by her husband will not excuse her beating up a child - to put it bluntly. There never will be a day when a human rights activist - whether for men or women says "ok, see, the rapist is a victim of other women in his life too, so we should not object to a rape" or "men have so much pressure for home expenses, that it was understandable he burned his wife when she didn't get him money". It is possible for an abuse victim to be an abuser, but the abuse will still be wrong - in both cases. The objections women's groups are raising will not be negated by men's rights work. It is pure immaturity that makes the guilty conscience wish for a smokescreen.

How do I look? Is this dress ok?

Many men described this as an "irritating habit" of women. To me, this statement says that the woman is trying to please someone who doesn't give a fuck and finds these interactions a burden. To me, the real concern with such insecure questions is an over anxiety to please, which comes from fearing consequences of not pleasing.

In my view, if a person finds it difficult to accept such minor quirks - it isn't exactly the end of the world to answer a question - then the lack of tolerance in the relationship is more concerning than the questions themselves. I mean that it is natural to be irritated by questions, but to provide them as an example of harassment of men by women as counterpoints to issues of mortal danger to women seems like disproportionate anger. It would be like objecting to activism against rising incidents of murders by describing how the people who are targetted are really irritating - as if it is not as serious, because they are problems anyway.

Though I do think women should stop doing this, because it is an acknowledgment of a veto power over their personal preferences. They may get vetoed, but at least the woman shouldn't invite it. I think it is ok in intimate relationships where it is mutual and leads to useful feedback, but by and large, women should stop asking for any approvals for how they want to be.

Being "forced" to watch soap operas

I would like this person to swear an oath on what he holds dear that he doesn't dominate the TV when he wants - be it news or a match. But culturally, I think it is fine if the man acts like a hog, but a woman being inconvenient is a deep flaw about the woman.

Women get hysterical, over react, nag

This is pure bull shit. Disaproval is at the root of this. If you say something you think is important and it doesn't get heard, you repeat louder. The next time you see a "hysterical" or "nagging" woman, an exercise is to look at how the first time she said it was received. If you only find women nagging, perhaps you are willing to listen to men, but not women or at least those certain women. That said, you can catch yourself nagging if they refuse to do what you tell them. Or for shits and giggles refuse to listen to someone you think doesn't nag and watch them transform.

Free yourself permanently from nagging by learning to be responsible for your side of communications. This also goes for women who think men nag, if any.

Though if you find yourself nagging, whatever your gender, it is a good idea to stop, because the need to nag itself means it isn't working.

In conclusion

There is plenty such garbage incoming on a daily basis. One common factor seems to be double standards. A woman shopping is frivolous. A man shopping is not noticed. Men bathing in deos till an asthmatic person can't come close to them will whine about the cosmetics their wives buy (never mind that deos need purchased way more frequently than lipsticks).

It seems that we may make many pretenses to be modern, but the freedom that entails is limited to men and expecting greater standards from women, while women exerting their freedoms face social censure. The resentment toward women exerting their will is actually increasing. A recent example is "I allow my wife to handle her own investments herself". Good morning, Sherlock, if you were really supportive of her freedom, the question of your permission wouldn't arise at all, because it isn't your money in the first place.

Our culture is increasingly one where women are objects, and astonishingly, I find working class women from my mother's generation far more confident and secure about their place in the world than today, even though today's woman appears to be more free. It seems that while more and more parents have set daughters free, exactly the opposite is happening in societies and working environments at large. The opportunism inherent in seeing women as objects rather than people is on the rise, and I do suspect it has a lot to do with media.

Many times, there are ways of speaking with or women that I object to, which raise protests saying "come on, we weren't serious! we respect women!" in my view, that is far more serious than a deliberate insult, because derogatory language is actually enshrined as  acceptable. It may seem superficially witty to make