In the glamorous world of Bollywood, Taapsee Pannu has broken clichés of a conventional Hindi film actress and has emerged as the torchbearer of women’s safety who is outspoken about women’s rights. She rose to fame with Pink and in her recent movie, Naam Shabana she plays the hero in the thrilling plot.
As part of the promotion of her new film, YouTube channel Blush released a video titled ‘Hit Back’. This video has women’s voice playing in the background apologising for doing things that led to sexual violence, like watching a late night movie with boyfriend (referring to Nirbhaya incident), for wearing a mini skirt, for attending an office party, for tolerating domestic violence, for getting drunk and so on and so forth.
Viewers get to see glimpses of Taapsee, and the voice continues saying that she is sorry for taking years to apologise and that this apology is not for the world but to ‘herself’.
Then the tonality of the video changes and the voices start apologising for not knowing how to defend themselves while facing the different scenarios. The video ends with a statement ‘forgive me because nothing happens by screaming’. With this, Taapsee Pannu with a fierce look leaves the screen, and a note appears ‘you owe your body an apology, for not arming it. Self-defense is not just a sport, a summer hobby, and no longer just and option’.
The video is powerful and definitely talks about empowering women and speaks against blaming the victim. But, it again puts the onus of women safety on women themselves.
Will the world be a safer place for women if everyone learns a martial art, arm themselves to fight every molester, abuser, goon, stalker, a misbehaving office colleague, or anyone else posing a threat?
Can gender-based violence be abolished by hitting back in a society where almost every woman is a victim? Is self-defence the last line of defence for a woman in a civil society or is it the first and only way to deal with a situation? Also, why the safety of women should be a sole responsibility of women?
Women safety in India is a systematic problem that involves caste, race, marital status, societal view, traditional upbringing and by and large society’s outlook of women safety. Asking all women to learn a martial art is like asking a homeless person to buy a home. Both the problems have much deeper complicated implications.
Also, the video speaks about victim blaming but how ‘apologising’ is going to help women to understand that there is nothing wrong with being a victim?
The video fails to offer a real solution to women safety or even address the issue with a dose of reality. It gives a very flimsy solution to a problem that requires the awareness of the society, better action by authorities, and overall change of mindset of everyone in the society. Safety of women is a responsibility of a society and also of individuals, it is important for people to come together and extend help when anyone is victimised.
Watch the video here:
Image courtesy: Blush/Facebook