In wake of #MeToo, Kashyap addresses consent, male-privilege and complicity
As Bollywood's #MeToo snowballed, Anurag Kashyap dissolved his production house, Phantom Films, as co-founder, Vikas Bahl was accused of sexual misconduct. The reports and media soon accused Kashyap of complicity and failure to act on time. Following this, he decided to step down from his Mumbai Film Festival duties. He also took to Twitter to educate men on behaving around women. Here's more.
A vehement denial of complicity
Kashyap stepped down from his MAMI board duties in order to not discomfort anyone who believed he was complicit in silencing the issue of the woman who accused Bahl. However, he denied the allegations violently and blamed 'due process, legalities' for the delay.
Spare the rod and spoil the child
Kashyap grew up around women who slapped him now and then for improper comments, like telling a girl at 18 what women should not do. Interestingly, if they had sensitized him to how patriarchy assigned fixed roles to women, instead of slapping him, his cheeks might have hurt less, and his perceptions might have been clearer.
Thankfully, Kashyap understands his male privilege and entitlement
Apologizing for 'being a man', Kashyap said that despite making progress, he still felt he was not sensitized enough in gender politics. Since most woke people are only 'pretending to see', Kashyap called for severe conditioning and claiming sensitization was neither simple nor easily definable. One must appreciate Kashyap's identification of male privilege, entitlement and the attempt to reach an ideal degree of sensitivity.
A request to embrace individuality, not objectification
The most important thing Kashyap mentioned is needing to respect a woman's individuality and right over her own body. This addresses the roots of objectification. It is through the objectifying male gaze that we view women as conquest motifs. The extreme end of this behavioral spectrum is sexual misconduct. Start with recognizing women as independent individuals. Becoming a feminist is a small step thereafter.
The ambiguity and nuances of consent
Addressing the difficult issue of consent, Kashyap said that his 'greatest and simplest learning' was that consent came in many forms before uttering 'yes' or 'no'. He further added that consent varied from person to person. As a species capable of empathy, we must not let momentary subjective desire eclipse our consideration of another person's discomfort. Body language provides an understanding of consent.
Criticality and introspection are the best tools we have
Calling for introspection, Kashyap said he questioned himself on his recalled past interactions with women to ascertain where/if he went wrong. He smartly noted that men often enable exploitative patriarchy through silence, imposed by fear or choice. While Kashyap's process borders on obsession, self-criticality and introspection are the best tools for men to analyze behavior, actions, and verbally acknowledge times they exploited male privilege.