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Bus Seats In Exchange For No More Rape? Sign Me Up!

Being a pretty outspoken atheist and feminist, I am frequently engaged by people in debate regarding these topics. Although I am non-confrontational by nature, it annoys me when people use straw man arguments or stereotypes to dismiss the feminist movement. Countless times I have debated with friends on the misogynistic attitudes prevalent in India and perhaps the most frustrating issue I have come across is when men point to small victories and say that there is no need for feminism or gender equality anymore.

I recall an incident when one of my friends tried to argue that dowry is not actually a social evil since it allows women to get a part of their parents' property. Although I exploded internally, I tried to patiently explain to him that a better way to go about it would be to make sure daughters and sons share inheritance equally, instead of pursuing a practice that leads to further discrimination or abuse against women!

The fact that even today countless female babies are aborted or killed at birth, denied equal education or nutrition, sold into slavery or trafficked into the sex trade, denied promotion or paid less than their male counterparts, face sexual harassment in public places and in the office, domestic violence at home and the misogynistic attitudes that women have to contend with as a part of their DAILY LIFE should speak volumes about the need for gender equality. 

Unfortunately, there are enough ignorant people who actually think that women have it better than men in India that they created a ridiculous campaign against 'mancrimination'! As you can see from the sample posters, men face extremely high prejudice and discrimination in India. They have to hold the door open for women, hold our bags and give up their seats in buses and trains. Oh the horror!

Just because we have small "privileges" like reserved seats on public transport (we wouldn't even need special seats if men would just stop groping women) or men hold the doors open for women doesn't quite compensate for the daily hell woman face in India. If all it takes for men to stop raping, harassing women or perpetuating violence and other forms of discrimination is for women to give up their seats for men in public buses, hold the doors open for men and pay the bill when we go on dates, I'm sure all the women of India would happily accept that offer!

It looks like this is a common issue faced by those working for gender equality in India. It is so common that a short film of four parts has been made to highlight the very real abuse and discrimination faced by women every day of their lives. I especially love the fact that the movie addresses a broad range of issues faced by women in India without even going into the true evils like female foeticide or rape and domestic abuse.

The premise of the short film is pretty simple: A young man feels discriminated against because women enjoy small "benefits" like women only buses (in exchange for being groped against their will in buses the rest of the time but who cares about petty little details like that eh?). He makes a wish and promises that if men and women could reverse their roles, men wouldn't ask for gender equality and there would be no feminists. Watch the rest of the videos to see his wish come true and how he reacts.

The entire series is a must watch for everyone – whether you already believe in gender equality or have dismissed the movement in the past. It is a real eye-opener, especially for those – both men and women – who think that women actually have it better! I think the real measure of gender equality is when men actually wish that they had been born as women. Because I certainly know plenty of women who wish they had been born as men so that they could enjoy the privileges and freedom not granted the women, even in 21st-century, so-called modern India.

Here's the trailer for the film:


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