In IITKGP’s Gender Studies class a Bengali documentary ‘Paachaar’ (trafficking) was shown. The docu showed a man being the kingpin of the human trafficking racket and only young girls are being trafficked. This documentary won several awards at international film festivals. At the end of the movie the docu-maker confessed to everyone not to go by what the documentary shows and told them that the main kingpins of the trafficking rackets are mostly women and it is the women who indulge in girl trafficking more. But for purely commercial reasons he had to make his film that way otherwise, “he wouldn’t have got any nominations in film festivals or made any mark in docu world if he had shown the reality”.
I was involved in another global project on the misuse of India’s dowry laws where I was helping the project owner in creating content. I was told not to create pure MRA content as that would not help the project anywhere. Even though he had good contacts in the international media to get through with his project, he knew that would not happen if the content didn’t have feminist ‘imperfections’ in it. He was afraid that media houses would not even look at it if it didn’t have those ‘imperfections’ inbuilt in the project.
If one views this to be a requirement to balance the work to bring in other side perspective that would be wrong. A pure misandrist work wouldn’t have bothered to bring men’s perspective at all. My Choice, I am Not a Woman, Boys don’t cry, India’s Daughter etc. never included men’s perspective in them and they were all super successful.
Dr. Partha Chattopadhya, first professional Indian writer to write about men’s issues who wrote an excellent book titled ‘Purush’, told me once that many of his followers went against him for taking up such a matter in favor of men. Most of those were men. They thought it was degrading to write for a professional writer to write about men and their issues.
While working for the creation of content for the global project I realized that the creative world requires content written in a particular manner. This project made me realize that people read and watch content that they want to read, watch or share what they think is right or what they want to believe. For example, if we look at the way media creates rape stories it is more often funny. Badaun rape case was first reported in Times of India as confirmed rape while only some villagers complained about it. Bulandshar rape of one-month-old baby was reported as rape simply when the mother saw a man roaming near her house.
As many in media would agree that we have become voyeurs and we like that type of content. A man being oppressed does not sell, however, any crime against women needs to have some sexual connotations attached to it. So harassment no matter what needs to be sexual harassment if it is against a woman.
The recent controversy related to the documentary Martyrs of Marriage is another example. The docu-film stated in the beginning that ‘section 498a was made with noble intentions’. The docu maker might have done it to balance the documentary and get wider acceptance but the reality is she got beaten up by both feminists and MRAs.
Feminists’ problem was even though the movie said this, it showed only one-sided picture of law misuse and didn’t show women suffering. Problems with MRAs were manifold including the high misandry injected through the line.
If we look at the issue from MRM lens, we will find that these individual creative artists are too small to battle with the existing misandry prevailing. It will definitely not happen in one day and by one’s efforts. It needs sustained campaigning and die-hard efforts to uproot this misandry from within us. An industry that does not give any chance to an artist if s/he talks only about man’s issues, a society that does not pay any attention to such work, needs to be changed before we expect such artists to change their work. It is too huge a task for an individual to accomplish and the change process is slow.
The reason none of the pure MRM content can ever be popular is this. It does not matter how logical or how correct they are. The moment one tries to make it big for MRM, the external forces will force one to resort to misandry; because the popular creative world is misandric and that misandry appeals to people more than anything else.