Women all over the world are talking about men in power openly propositioning them and some Bollywood actresses have also raised this issue without pointing to a single person. In India, the tech world was recently shaken up by sexual harassment cases coming to the fore and the TVF founder Arunabh had to step down after a trial by media and masses on twitter!
In the light of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, when Bollywood movie critic Rajeev Masand asked Vidya Balan for her opinion, she expressed the usual sympathy over the situation but pointed out how she didn’t go through it because she was “so careful” and walked away from projects when she got a “vibe” because she wanted to be “safe”. You can watch the interview here at around the four-minute mark to interpret her comment.
It is sad to see a woman in her position of influence and power indulge in what can only be called victim shaming. If you look at her example, it is nothing but an extension of the same old shit (logic?) where people say things like why was a woman walking alone in a dark lane.
If she says she got a vibe, it means that she was around people who had a reputation or by some word or deed indicated that there were interested in sexual favours. Then why act holier than thou just to prove that she wasn’t touched by scandal. Not all women who came forward have said that they have traded sex for advancing their careers. Many of them have highlighted that it was expected of them but they declined or had to refuse repeatedly.
I was shocked that Vidya would choose to word her reply in such a way. What does she mean? Women who are coming forward have in some way invited these men to proposition them? I do hope someone drums some sense into her and tells her that there is a difference between getting propositioned (read getting threatened to be refused a promotion/hike/job if they don’t give in to the demands made by these men) and actually agreeing to meet said demands.
A successful woman like her need not have trivialised this issue by highlighting how her cautiousness kept her safe. Later in the interview, she mentioned that she was aware that others were being harassed but somehow those men did not approach her. If she was aware and did not speak up then, at least now she could have pointed it out or at the very least condemn the men who abused their power instead of laying the onus on the women who unlike her got harassed.
I wish the interviewer had asked, “‘Coz of what Vidya? Not being careful?” and called out the lie. But, hey that would mean the channel might not get to see the actress again! What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
Picture credit: Screenshot of Rajeev Masand’s Interview with Vidya Balan