It has been more than a year and it is time for me to revisit my post Understanding #MeToo as a Revolution. What had I said?
Almost for the first time abusers have been sacked or had to step aside. But here is the thing. One year down the line, many of them are likely to creep back. The power structure is still there, and it is still owned by men.
Depressingly, this is true. Abusers have crept back. Anu Malik is revisiting your living rooms through TV. Many, many other examples have been painstakingly documented by @IndiaMeToo twitter account.
What about this?
One totally unintended and depressing outcome would be even more bias against hiring women. Because people don’t change that easily. All the existing biases against women will continue working, and now men in power would “fear” being “outed” for “even smiling at women”. So, no wonder if such people come up with the solution of not hiring women in the first place.
A new kind of horror will, of course, be if too many innocent people are consumed by the fire that is spreading. There are a very small number of cases that look like it, but the attempts of high jacking the revolution by vested, conservative interests are obvious. I won’t worry too much about individuals trying to get personal vendetta out of it – I think those die down easily. But institutional bad faith can totally destroy it.
This, I am glad, hasn’t happened.
Overall, in the light of “not much has happened” many prominent media reports are only too happy to write #MeToo off. Indeed not much has happened to the system and to the patriarchal sanction granted to powerful men. But with Priya Ramani fighting a lawsuit and Chinmayi Sripada not getting work, much has happened to the victims. They are still being victimized and they are still speaking up. And it is all a bit too much!
I did say this the last time.
For those asking “What will come of it?” as persistently as the men mentioned at the beginning of this article asking “Where is the proof?”, it’s not going to become a gender-egalitarian world right away. So, don’t bother declaring it a failure because “x hasn’t changed” and don’t pretend to be wisely annoyed when another fight is started.
I am not happy about it, but I have proved myself fairly prophetic on this issue, even if it is mostly on the negative or non-outcomes.
As to, what should you be doing with it? Still the same!
If you aren’t an abuser, congrats! Sit back, relax and make sure you don’t look the other way the next time an episode of harassment is going on around you. It might have been uncool, unsporting, puritan to protest it in past. Now you have the excuse of a revolution. And yes – stop being sexist in every other way too.
#MeToo is still a revolution and it may resurface, again and again, if the system refuses to budge.