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Double Standards of Gender Equality: If Only Sachin Had Breasts And A Vagina!

For the past few weeks, the name 'Sachin' has gone viral in every social media feed, from Instagram to Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and whatnot. And for what? Because a middle-aged woman named Mithilesh Bhati mocked and ranted at Sachin for his submissive and non-toxic behaviour. And why? Because Sachin chose polite behaviour rather than a masculine short-tempered attitude while interacting with people.

The video of this woman is being circulated even on TV channels by journalists in which this woman is characterizing Sachin as Lappu means Gormless, Sachin as Jhingur means Cricket, a deformed one, mindless, tongueless, and less of everything to be called a man. Above all that, this neighbour of Sachin has the audacity to give more interviews not to apologize for dehumanizing Sachin but to clarify her statements in detail about what she meant and to justify her attempts at characterizing and dehumanizing Sachin aptly.

This incident erupted out of what appeared to be a cross-border romance. A woman named Seema Haider illegally managed to enter India with her four children to live with her claimed lover Sachin Meena. Arrested at first, Seema for illegally entering India, and Sachin for assisting her. Both were released based on bail. However, this opened up a space of newfound fame not only to couples but also to their relatives, neighbours, and even some media channels.

The questions are not merely limited to the nation burning in communal riots and women being paraded naked and gang-raped, but amidst all, the so-called fourth pillar of democracy, i.e., media, is desperately hunged up on scoring TRPs through any means, without considering how broadcasted content is morally and ethically breaching the individual's rights and violating their dignity.

More shocking is that media channels are promoting the potential of these derogatory remarks as appropriate jibes for politicians to dehumanize opponents. Content creators are creating memes, musical remixes, and what not to benefit from this viral video. And why they should not. Schadenfreude, a German term, indicates the intricate nature of humans, defined as a stage of self-satisfaction derived from learning or witnessing the adversities, setbacks, harm and embarrassments of others.

Sachin has been mocked for his weight, skin colour, way of talking and walking, muscular strength and body, physical appearance, inability to perform anything manly, and poverty-stricken lifestyle. Apart from being a Pakistani spy, Seema, on the other hand, has been questioned for his chastity, illicit behaviour, and bad archetype of a mother and wife.

Let's take a step back and reflect. What if a man had characterized a woman like this? Had it been for some middle-aged man (the most hated image of a man) who had commented or passed such remarks on any woman, had he been treated the same way? Had his words been remixed with some musical composition like the Yashraj Mukhate composed on Sachin? Why the ideas of dignity and modesty are women-centric?

How racist, pseudo-feminist and misandrist one has to be to pass such remarks? Not a single news clip labelled the act of these so-called fair-weather neighbours disrespectful, violating a man's modesty, nor were they called out for body-shaming and bullying. Rather these women or pseudo-well-wisher neighbours were called for more interviews in order to get more stock on Sachin and Seema.

But the question remains unanswered at large. Shouldn't agencies like the Women's Commission, human rights commission, police and civil administration not intervene and label such remarks as violating a man's modesty? Are organizations like these only allowed to intervene when the brutality of the violent form is extreme? What if Sachin has committed suicide under such pressure of mental and verbal abuse? Or man being abused mentally is just a reflection of marital rape. In other words, it doesn't exist.

Section 354 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code for criminal force or assault to a woman with intent to outrage her modesty and word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman. But there seems to be no such provision for man, as they are inherently considered unashamed and immodest. Despite the provision like Article 14, i.e., the Right to Equality, how come the law discriminates and lets cultural stereotypes legitimize outraging a man's modesty?

Why does the law seem paralyzed and inadequate to ensure prevention, prohibition and redressal regulations protecting a man's dignity? Why can't the laws be gender-neutral when it comes to outrage a person's modesty, be it a woman, man or third gender?

It is imperative to understand that as long as sex-role-based stereotypes, expectations, and socio-cultural norms of standardized femininity and masculinity remain pervasive in the sexual arena, there is no place for gender equality. The double standard of gender equality can only benefit the gendered structures of society, nothing more. It will only strengthen the biases, prejudices and discriminatory practices depriving people living at the margins. If one cannot contribute, one must not accelerate the intensity of any violent form.

The question was very simple. Had it been your name, your body type, your skin colour, your behaviour, your financial condition, your caste, your community, your relative, your sibling, your partner, or yourself, had you enjoyed it how you have been? Why do notions of dignity and pride not apply to Sachin or his parents when they are bullied and mocked nationwide? Is it necessary for a man to implant a pair of breasts and a vagina in order to ask for some dignity and respect?

Nevertheless, this derisive behaviour has not ceased its progression at this juncture alone. Its manifestation continues to evolve as Red FM (an Indian radio channel) gave a platform to Mithilesh Bhati to reprise this act of ridicule on a famous YouTuber named Carryminati.

So now, Mithilesh Bhati also has a Youtube channel named 'Mithilesh Bhati (Lappu Sa Sachin)' with this roasting video of Carryminati. Such is the tragedy of Indian society that knows no borderline between jokes and bullying. The cultural legitimization of such mental and verbal abuses is normalized, glorified and even promoted through these platforms. Undoubtedly, people choose suicides and revenge crimes as an escape from such harassment, as there seems no hope of saving their dignity and self-respect without drenching themselves in the same derogatory and dehumanized level.

As of the present instant, Seema's lawyer has confirmed filing a legal suit against Mithilesh Bhati for using derogatory, unparliamentary, unlawful and provocative descriptions of Sachin repeatedly. However, the lawyer also mentioned dropping the charges if Mithilesh Bhati apologizes for her derogatory comments.

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