The #MeToo campaign has taken India, especially the media and entertainment industry, by storm.
From men being called out for their alleged sexual harassment, and women coping with the emotional toll of the movement – social media has been abuzz with conversations and debates around the #MeToo, #TimesUp movement.
But how are the men dealing with the movement – with people asking them to “step up” or not to “drown out women’s voices.” What role can they possibly play to empower the movement further? Or should they play any role at all?
In a Twitter thread, journalist HR Venkatesh offers a compilation of what men can do to help the #MeTooIndia movement, and importantly, why they should do it.
How can we men help the #metooIndia movement? Some say "step up", some say "don't drown out women's voices." Some (men) ask, "why should we do anything at all?" So this here is a rolling compilation of what we should do and why:— H R Venkatesh (@hrvenkatesh) October 16, 2018
1. Offer Your Time, Financial Help
Venkatesh suggests that a way to start supporting the movement is by offering one’s time, but not to “seek spotlight.” In his Twitter thread, the journalist writes:
"“Offer your time. Many men want to be seen as doing good too, which is OK. But now is not the time to seek the spotlight. Volunteer to do background work. For eg: If there’s a march, offer to arrange refreshments, or just show up.” " - HR Venkatesh on Twitter
Asserting that funding was “essential” for most movements, he said that one could also offer financial help that suits their capacity.
"“Offer your money. Funding is essential for most movements. There are many causes to support. For eg: offer to pay lawyer fees for those who broke their silence and are now locked in litigation.”" - HR Venkatesh on Twitter
2. Retweet, If Confused
For men who want speak about #MeToo but are not sure of what to say, Venkatesh suggests retweeting the thoughts of women who are actively a part of the movement.
"If we men want to speak up, but aren’t sure exactly what to say, a good way is to retweet tweets by the likes of Sandhya Menon, Raksha Kumar, Rituparna Chatterjee, Anoo Bhuyan, Ghazala Wahab etc." - HR Venkatesh on Twitter3. Believe in Women’s Stories
He continues his thread, asking men to “believe” the stories by women and not feel like these stories are an “attack on men.”
"“Believe the stories by women. We men might feel like we’re under attack, but honestly these stories of sexual harassment are NOT an attack on men, but about justice and patriarchy”" - HR Venkatesh on Twitter
4. Dealing With Guilt
Venkatesh urged men to continue showing support, even if they feel guilty about their own behaviour. He adds that while they may have not been harassers or abusers, chances are that they may have behaved in a questionable manner.
"“Finally, what if we men feel guilty about our own behaviour? Even if we haven’t sexually harassed/abused someone, there’s a chance that we’ve been ass****s to women. What do we do then? In that case, we’d have to continue showing our support, while acknowledging that we’re all products of a society that has for thousands of years treated women as inferior and playthings.”" - HR Venkatesh on Twitter
Another article that helps as well. https://t.co/x9TV8jyjZP— H R Venkatesh (@hrvenkatesh) October 17, 2018
5. Shed Chains of Patriarchy
With many 'woke' men being called out in #MeToo movement, Venkatesh shares how he his working on “shedding the chains of patriarchy.”
"“To finish with a disclaimer about the larger reality of being a man: I’ve been a problematic male. For years, I thought I was ‘woke’ when I wasn’t even close to it. People who know me well know this. For guys like me, shedding the chains of patriarchy is the work of a lifetime.”" - HR Venkatesh on Twitter
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