Tuesday, January 15, 2013


 A mid-morning coffee break in Dubrovnik.... please note : no lipstick! No bob-cut. Painted and dented? Who me?????
                                                                             *********************

This appeared in The Week.....
                                 Lipstick and Coca Cola….
Abhijeet Mukherjee’s crass remarks about ‘dented and painted’ women who go to discos, made me think of my father who belonged to another century ( he was born in 1910). I figured my Baba was ten times more modern and progressive in his thinking than this  52- year- old M.P. claiming to represent the 21st century. My mother did not wear lipstick. One of my two sisters did.And I have always had a love-hate relationship with it. My father may not have ‘approved’ of lip colour, but he didn’t stop us from using it. Nor did he make us feel diminished because we did. But others around him certainly didn’t camouflage their attitude, which was one of  undisguised disapproval. To make matters worse, I sported what was termed ‘bob cut’ hair. And dared to expose my arms in sleeveless frocks. This shocked the neighbourhood and led to several unflattering, unsavoury comments that questioned my character. Seen in the context of the giddy ‘60s, such  narrow minded responses are understandable. But when an elected representative of the people shoves not just his foot but the entire leg in his mouth in this day and age, he cuts a very sorry spectacle indeed. What an embarrassment Abhijeet Mukherjee must be to his father, who is not just any other dad of a gauche son, but the President of India himself!
Perhaps Abhijeet was not really himself when he was caught on camera uttering those foolish words.But when he refused to express support for the protestors at India Gate, his apology was rendered instantly insincere and meaningless. He uttered the words in an emotionless, robotic manner, like he had been coerced into doing so.  An apology ‘under orders’ has zero worth. But let’s forget this solitary sorry specimen for now. Abhijeet is representative of countless men, and yes –  a fair number of women, as well  - those  who pass judgments on women who refuse to conform to prescribed rules. These rules include wearing make- up (“paint”) and increasingly, jeans. It is automatically assumed that women, who present themselves in a certain way, are  in reality nothing but bar hopping nymphomaniacs out to destroy our precious society with their wayward ways.
We have been brainwashed over decades to think of ‘fashionable’ ladies as harlots. Or at any rate, women whose moral codes are dodgy. Despite the vast number of  crack women professionals in every conceivable field in India, the silly perception still persists – a lipsticked mouth spells trouble. It remains a strict no-no. Closely followed by long painted nails and kajaal. This is before we even get to the women’s apparel. If it is fitted and reveals body contours, the woman stands little chance of being taken seriously by anyone. Never mind, that a saree draped in a certain way, can be far more revealing and seductive. This sort of ridiculous stereotyping of our women folk, has led to a host of social issues that go well beyond ‘eve-teasing’. When Abhijeet mocked what he dubbed the ‘pink revolution’, he was tapping into something deeper and desperately serious. Misogynists  like Abhijeet ( too many of them!), cannot and will not accept that a great deal has changed in Indian society since those distant days when women had no choice but to go along with society’s archaic laws that dictated the way women lived their lives – from their appearance to their conduct. Abhijeet’s arrogance is the arrogance of the ruling class ( not politicians alone, but men). His unguarded but essentially nasty insinuations may come back to haunt him later. In the interim, it is his stoic father who will have to keep his chin up and stay out of this messy fracas.
When I shared a TV platform with Abhijeet the night all hell broke loose, I actually felt sorry for the man. He looked drugged and robotic as he obstinately kept mouthing the same prepared lines. His expression was impassive. Most times he appeared bored. There was no reference to the horrific rape that had triggered off the protests in the first place. The subtext was clear : women ask for it. Especially those women who dance in discotheques and then turn up with candles because it is a trendy thing to do. The disconnect with Young India could not be more blatantly expressed. His idiocy will go down as one of the most chauvinistic comments of  2012. The world will move on. But I still wonder whether Abhijeet and others like him ever will.
Peace and safety in 2013, readers!

28 comments:

Martina said...

Oh that's a classic!

Sanjana said...

Death to Misogyny! Why do I have a feeling that 2013 will bring no change? :|

cinemacorridor said...

That was wonderfully put.

shreya said...

I totally agree.... this man belong to dark ages but unfortunately are out here....

Tsomo85 said...

You see with that "mindset" all that trip to strip club in his adulthood and boys scouts in his childhood (JUST TO LOOK COOL) all went in drain! :( Poor Abhijeet. Once a loser always a loser. But I'm sure his remark sure tingled and put colors/smile on some women that shares a similar impression of dented and painted as Mr.Abhijeet himself.. Those self proclaimed intellectual with ༼make up & fashionista phobia༽. Bechaaaara they don't know what they're missing. Intellectual my futeeeeeeོ

Swaminathan Neelakantan said...

Shobhaaji, I think you reacted pretty late to Abhijit's comments. The topic has now become dented and painted!

Aashi said...

Abhijeet reflects mindest of typical indian men having rusted minds ..

Anil Kumar said...

May be Abhijeet was trying to deflect the weakness of Congress party by this cheap comment.

But he forgot that most dented and painted women are from developed world and Sonia and her family back in Italy must be hurt by his comment.

Having said this - I still find it hard to digest that not a single woman politician, woman writers or woman who is in media (electronic or Print) openly criticize our entertianment industry and TV editors when bollywood portrays a woman like a bitch followed by a pack of dogs during mating season in broad daylight and every dog is trying to make out with her at the same time. Yes...songs like Sheila ki jawaani, munni badnaam hui does create MEN who behave like those pack of dogs.

May be if they openly endorse this - they may not get free tickets to travel abroad, free invitations and their TRP may go down since they will sound too narrow minded. There career will be ruined !!

Its a slow poision and we are manufacturing millions of CHUTTAD citizens who are a burden on this planet earth and believe me the civilized world will have even less respect for Indians in 21st century as they become more and more aware of our dirty linen which were hidden and we are adding more scums through these cheap item songs.

Jogeshwar said...

I also feel very sorry for widows. Society imposes so many restrictions on them, about their dress, whom they can talk to, where they can go. Even Women around them openly disapprove of a widowed woman not adhering to society's provisos.
p.s. You look astounding, especially with those aviators.

Reincarnation Of A Dead Man said...

Dear Shobha,
As always i liked this post also. But i'm afraid that you think majority of the men are hypocrites. I'm a man with all the feelings and emotions. But i never concur with "INTERNATIONAL WASTES" like that politician. Like once the pop icon Madonna said, there are certain things that are worse than racism, they are ageism and sexism. Successful women will always be criticised by the society. And no doubt, it will be the same even after million years. Sad, but true....
Just before a few days, i went for a movie with my younger sister. She was just 12. She was wearing a t-shirt and jeans. But unfortunately, i didn't know that the particular movie had contained a number of ADULT JOKES, and obviously there were only 2more women other than my sister. My young, 12year old sister was "visually raped" by a large number of b@$£@#}s. Even though i tried my best to controll my anger, i had to abuse one of those animals at last. This is the India that boasts about its culture...

Pooja Rathore said...

For Abhijeet women dont exist so the question of respecting them or standing for their causes does not arise and its true there are many abhijeets and rightly put somesection women too...its really sad.Damn them!

Tsomo85 said...

Word. That's why only selfish people should be dented/painted with black coal rest we don't really give a damn. Perhaps that's why it's such a joy to bully them when they get expose because they can go to any extend with their superiority complex in their imaginary world. In Tibetan we call these items "Nga-Rinpochen" directly translates as "Me-holiness." Nobody exist but themselves so forget about standing for their cause.

Sameera said...

The protests are dying. The politicians have moved on. Nothing has changed at the outset. If anytihng changed it is two things within me: 1. Never ever overlook a person in need even if it puts you at risk a bit 2. Speak up at the slightest slight even more faster than before.

Ofcourse this means I will have more arguments with my father and father inlaw. But so be it.

sushi k. said...

I actually saw the Newshour debate that night you came on, Mrs. De. You are so right. His expressions were robotic, and his apology emotionless. What is the point of such a sorry anyway? It is a shame that these people think so. And it is not just him. We've seen a parade of stupid, sexist remarks from people at really high posts. Sad.

Pooja Rathore said...

i forgot to comment on your photo by the way De you look beautiful anyway!!!

Arjun Anpat said...

It was very sad to hear what Abhijeet Mukherjee the son of our Honorable President said; very well put forth and real. I don't understand how can they even think of a developed India or India 20-20 when the women of the country are treated in this 'dented-painted' way..

Vinay Bhushan Bhagwaty said...

you are looking gracious, homely and lovely sans lipstick and bob-cut.

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Divya Virmani said...

Mrs. De, very well put! But I highly doubt things will change that much in 2013. The youth has just realized the wrongdoings of our country; we don't know if they want to continue this revolution? If they stop now, there's absolutely no hope for India or Bharat! So let's just pray that the 'dented n painted' women stand up for their rights and show to the government that 'they can and they will'!

http://divyavirmani.blogspot.com/2013/01/recap-of-2012.html

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