An Apology to Men, from a Woman

Have you ever had an experience where you, or someone you know, has reacted in a situation purely because of a stereotype you or they may have created about a certain person, or a certain kind of people? Have you ever judged anyone, not by their own actions, but by the prevailing atmosphere surrounding such persons?

In short, have you ever been a Lizzy Bennet to a poor Mr. Darcy?

While I’ve had, sadly so, some experiences like that, the freshest is the one I’m narrating today.

A while back, me and my husband and our tot had gone out to a popular, busy mall in the neighborhood for some shopping. And as is the case in most such expeditions, it was mostly my desire to go out and shop for some knick-knacks for our house. So my dear, bored husband was just roaming around, pushing my daughter’s pushchair around the mall and hoping that I would just get done with my shopping so he could get back home to his PlayStation. Lucky for him, it was a small day at the Mall.

I came back with my purchases and we were about to sit down to order lunch, when we witnessed the following scene –

Two girls, decently dressed, in their early twenties were walking by, chit-chatting and window shopping. One of them, I’ll call her Curly Hair, was approached by a guy, I’ll call him Boy, about the same age as them, also decently dressed.

This is how the conversation between Curly Hair and Boy went –

Boy to Curly HairUmm…Excuse me! (Gives her a wide and friendly smile.)

Curly Hair Yes? (Looks him up and down, clearly alarmed, shrinking from him, who is unknowingly invading her personal space. The other girl braces Curly Hair with her arm between Boy and Curly Hair, a protective stance.)

BoyHi! Could I talk to you… for a minute? (Looks from girl to girl, gauging if they were offended or if he could go on.)

Curly HairI’m not interested… Get lost!! (Literally shouts at him. The Boy is taken aback. Some other heads turn towards them. The Boy looks around, scared, ashamed, but tries again.)

BoyBut, I just wanted to talk… (Says so in a very gentle, passive tone)

Curly HairI told you I’m not interested… Just get lost! (Getting even more worked up, her voice rising with every word.)

Boy Okay, okay… (Boy shakes his head in disgust and just walks away, out of the mall altogether.)

The two girls talk furiously about the incident, looking back every now and then, to see if the Boy is coming back.

Even half an hour later, while we were leaving, Curly Hair was still looking around trying to see if the Boy was coming back….

After we left, me and my husband had a furious debate all the way back home over which side was right. My Husband was fuming over how rude and judgmental the girls were, how this is mostly an ‘Indian’ thing, how girls demean guys for just being ‘guys’, how the fairer sex has created unreasonable stereotypes against the other gender. And I was trying to defend that by saying that the girls may have just been scared owing to the recent incidents in the country (the Bangalore Mass Molestation incident), or because of how generally such conversations turn out to be. I am saying ‘defend’ because I genuinely could not find reasons good enough to justify Curly Hair’s negative reaction to a guy who neither came across as lewd, nor tried to take advantage of her, nor looked like someone who indulged in singling out girls and scaring them off. He actually looked like a normal, well-behaved and well-meaning guy who was only trying to make conversation with a girl he fancied. And if I am to be very honest, had I been in her position, I would have said no too, BUT only after hearing him out, AND I would have been flattered that he found me attractive enough to come and talk to me.

There were so many other ways in which she could have reacted – she could have politely said no, or heard him out till he got done, or just smiled at him and told him that she wasn’t interested.

Why be rude right off the bat?!

Some of you may say the Boy was right and Curly Hair wrong; yet some may say it’s the other way around. And I’m generally the kind who defends my kind because women in our country are particularly wary of any men approaching them, sometimes, make that mostly, for good reason, but in this case, I had to agree with my Husband. Not only was Curly Hair rude, had over-reacted, but she ensured that the Boy would forever carry a negative impression of girls, may have been scarred by the incident, or may be one of those unfortunate ones to get enraged about the incident and do something foolish. I think you can fathom what I’m talking about.

So am I saying “It’s Curly Hair’s fault?”

In some ways, yes, I am saying exactly that!

This is a plea, and an advice, to all the girls out there – 

I know you get scared when incidents like these occur. You have good reasons to be, judging by the ‘indecent incidents’ reported by the dozen every day.

But PLEASE there’s no need to be rude to someone. There’s no need to let paranoia get hold of you. There is no need to live in fear. There’s no need to pander to stereotypes. And there definitely is no need, neither any justification for you to treat the other gender like they are criminals or subhumans.

Not all men are rapists, molesters or abusers. You have the brains and the comprehension to understand when you can turn down an amorous advance by a polite ‘no’, or when to be on your guard. Don’t use your femininity as an excuse for your bad behavior.

Use your judgment wisely and please, have some faith in humanity.

And this is my Apology to Men –

We may have been very unfair to you. We may have judged you by the far smaller number of miscreants among you. We may have called you names that you did not deserve at all. We may have created ideas about you that are downright disgraceful. And we are sorry for it…

No one, not man, not woman, deserves to be labelled, judged or shunned only because of the actions of another of his/her kind. That is just unfair, inhuman even.

Sometimes our demands from you become unjustified. So you end up having to defend not just your actions, but your own honour, your very gender itself. No one should have to go through that ignominy.

We are sorry and hope you won’t give up faith in us, unlike how we seem to be doing these days.

In the end, I’d like to leave you with this quote to mull over –

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Have a Great Weekend!!

©Pradita Kapahi, 2017.

Picture Credits: http://www.pinterest.com

87 thoughts on “An Apology to Men, from a Woman

  1. Hi pradita.yes you’re right.especially I liked the last picture.I just now had a fight with my friend and it’s refreshing to read your post.yes there is no need to be rude to someone and you’re the right person to say it.you have always been a sweet,charming girl around.I’m just leaving this wordpress today so I thought of telling you before I leave.my best wishes dear.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hey!!! … that was too good of you to write about this incident. I am not taking any side but still i would say that a girl can jugde a guy who approaches her!!! That what are his intentions and what is he upto.
    So its not necessary that girls need to be rude to every other guy approaching. I know that girls hesitate because of the environment and society we will in, but still all guyz are not the same 😊
    Have a nice day . 😊

    Liked by 6 people

    • Hi Deepika… Its nice of you to point that out and while I agree with you, I still maintain my point – if you have to judge, do it rationally, and don’t make prejudices about people. Give them time and hope for the best.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Like any other stereotypes, gender stereotype is a reality and ingrained in minds consciously as per social rules and conformity. Being too obsessed with ‘gender’ we forget, we are humans first and there is a basic philosophy of life where we share a common consciousness on this ’till now’ only inhabitable place we know. But these fault lines cause more harm that we can imagine. It is how ‘social psychology’ have been working and whether we realise or not, we have become more unaware of ourselves as individuals and ‘common sense’ that we can apply to make life meaningful. We create these prejudices and accept them as our only way to perceive people and world around us.

    This is a wonderful article from you, with a fresh perspective and I hope such stereotypes will be erased. Good to see that you are doing so through this article and a clear message to live life consciously.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Pradita, I’m gonna say first that I loved this post, every word of it 🙂 My way of looking at it was, I think Curly hair over-reacted, she should have at least heard boy out (like you said) the whole thing could have been so much better.. who knows!
    Apart from all the drama on this post, I enjoyed the fact that the hubby, wifey and the tot were out together shopping, you had to drag the poor husband out- didn’t you? How old is your little one?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post Pradita and a brave one too! I am very pleased you have not had loads of abuse which you probably would if you posted this on Twitter. We are all products of our environment and Curly Hair is no different. She lives in a society where too many men are not to be trusted and maybe her parents brought her up this way. Certainly though she will experience peer pressure to behave like this, “cool, assertive, in control, …. whatever.” Also maybe there is a wider issue here related to the global phenomenon of feminism. Last week millions of women marched in protest Women Against Trump. But was was the focus and goal of their protest, and did they represent ALL women? On reflection what weren’t they united about countries and one religion in which women are lesser beings, not allowed to go to school, must cover their faces in public, or are enslaved in sex gangs as actually happened even here in the U.K. In Rotherham. These are all truly shocking crimes against women globally and Curly Hair and the Women Against Trump would do well to shift their anger and behaviour in a different direction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much 😊.

      ‘Brave one’… I dont know if it was brave or not but I was bracing myself for some negative comments but so far so good. I hope that only means women agree with me. I admit, Curly Hair may have reacted that way because she was brought up in a certain way or has had bad experiences. Had she been in a country where society is a little more open towards male-female relationships, she may have reacted differently. And yes, again she may have behaved that way because she was expected to. But my point is – must we always give in to what we have been told or what we’re expected to do, and not use our judgment to assess the situation? The answer – we must always use our mental faculties! That’s what a civilized society is. And as for the women who were enraged about Trump’s sexist remarks and behaviour, anger and action against an injustice is justified when there is an actual wrong, not so much for a perceived one, which in my opinion is what you have rightly pointed out in their context. There are crimes against women much worse but let’s not blame every male for that.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Nice reply, thank you.
        I believe you are asking too much of Curly Hair to think, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense. Her behaviour is conditioned by her values and belief system, deeply ingrained. In turn this gives her attitudes and almost a conditioned response when she is approached like you describe.
        Her personal values (morality?) are reinforced daily by her immediate friends, her peers generally (young females) and by wider society (culturally) in which she lives. Social media plays a big part here too!
        In my very long life I have seen societal change around me across several generations, some for the better, but not all. Simply put, when I was the age of girls like Curly Hair, girls would NOT have behaved like that. Girls in my day didn’t think more (probably less) they just had a different value system with quite different norms of behaviour. B.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I agree, Doctor, when you say that the way we act is to a large extent conditioned by our belief systems, social expectations, and our personal values, but I beg to differ in one respect with you, and I take my own example in this explanation. I am a woman of the same nationality, same background (judging by the way Curly Hair was dressed and carried herself), same basic educational level and am nearly the same age as she. And I would not have reacted that way to the Boy. If it were my Help, who we had a discussion about earlier this week, taht kind of reaction may have been justified because she is unaccustomed to such behaviours, but in a ‘so called Modern Indian Woman’, not so much. At the same time, I have seen women who are much older than me, have traveled the world, have had their belief systems altered in material ways, and have yet come back to blame it all on men (the person concerned was a professor I had at law school). Its like feminism has become a tool for them to extract anything from Men nowadays, which is just wrong. Also, I am not just pointing at how Curly Hair has reacted in this situation, I am pointing out to the whole of womankind that maybe we should think a while before we judge someone or lash out someone. It only takes a few seconds of our time to be patient and polite but it could leave a lasting impression of a different kind on the person at the other end, man or woman 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • “I am a woman of the same nationality, same background (judging by the way Curly Hair was dressed and carried herself), same basic educational level and am nearly the same age as she.”
            Thats because YOUR belief system and values are different from hers. You may look the same on the surface, and make a number of assumptions about her….. but you CANNOT know anything about her background or upbringing. For example I dress down mostly, jeans, plain shirts, sweaters etc, I speak with a broad Northern English accent, I drink cheap beer in a pub ………… and people have absolutely no idea about my strict upbringing, my wealth, my education, or my values and beliefs. But I do agree about the whole of womankind thinking more, though the whole planet needs to think more. Curly Hair’s behaviour is the tip of a very large cultural iceberg and what is “valued” today is very different from what was valued say 50 years ago.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post Pradita. Some things are ingrained so deep into our minds, that many a time we refuse to look above them. In this case, the curly girl could have just heard him out before rudely dismissing him. Not all men are bad and not all women are good.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Finally after a long time I found something questioning the stereotypes. You described it the right way…there’s nothing like a girl is always a victim or a man is always the person with wrong intentions. It is about what is right and what is wrong. Nothing more. If someone can’t even politely speak to another person just because they are the opposite gender, then it is futile to talk about the love and respect for each other. Great post!Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a really interesting topic you wrote about as it’s something I’ve also witnessed many times.

    Ironically the opposite has always happened with me. As I give almost everyone a friendly chance, being naive in my younger days and ending up in a creepy situation(only because I love conversing with people and ignored the warning signs) but for a situation such as ‘curly hair’, a calm “sorry I’m not interested” would have sufficed ofcourse. Great idea to post this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks a lot Sonea for your response. I have also been in similar situations as you, yet I never thought that I should be rude, judgmental or unforgiving right off the bat, except where the guy was found making indecent overtures or had been pestering me for long. It’s not just curly hair I’m reffering to here, but all of womankind, to use their judgment and think before they react in some way. Thanks again for stopping by 🙂

      Like

  9. You have discussed a serious issue I think if a man try to point out this thing then sure people will call him rude and blah blah
    But you took it seriously and slapped them who said all men are dog
    Actually some men are dog and some girls are bitch 😂😂😂
    I am so sorry about it
    But bitch word is going on trend , every second close friend call each other by this name .
    Thats all
    You described beautifully
    Thank you for
    Don’t use your femininity as an excuse for your bad behavior.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Haha i’ll tell you a similar incident that happened with me. I was standing in line to get inside a cinema hall and a lady came and stood behind me. The line for women was on the right and it was empty so i figured i would tell her so she wouldn’t have to wait. I did just that with a smile but she completely freaked out and gave me a nasty look and walked off. I was shocked but laughed it off. You’re right, in a country like india, women can never be too careful. It isnt safe sadly. But thanks for the apology.
    Nice to visit your blog.

    Like

  11. Frankly speaking, you make a lot of sense and I agree with you on all levels. But I believe that girls, in general have formed this notion that a guy approaching them has bad intentions. The circumstances that keep happening around us don’t do us much favor, but just solidify their stance on this. Hence, from men to all the women out there who feel threatened by men in any manner, I apologize.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Long time, Ajay! Thank you so much for that heartfelt apology. I agree that’s how women have started perceiving men and it’s very unfortunate that they do so because you guys don’t deserve it. The point is, both genders should trust and respect each other. The notion of respect is what makes us a civilized society. You can’t have a foundation built on mistrust and hatred and you certainly cannot extract respect from the other without first offering it yourself. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Someone had to say it, and you did. Not every man is a molester/rapist and yet, see the way men are stereotyped whenever they even try to talk to a girl/woman or simply complement her on her looks or good dressing sense, even people who aren’t complete strangers. Your husband is right, this is an “Indian” thing. And that same girl might go on and croon “Blue eyes hypnotize Teri…,” but then, that’s what we are as a people. We stereotype others and we take pride in our hypocrisy, as if that’s the most natural thing to do. Goes for all, men, women, rich, poor, everyone.
    Great post. And this is a conversation-starter. Maybe bring it up when you’re with your friends and see the mayhem. 😝

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hope all my friends will agree with me when I say that we women should not always criminalize men. Its appalling how men have been subjected to intense shaming, legal and moral restraints especially ever since the fiasco in B’lore. While some men may be at fault, lets not blame all of man-kind for it. We must learn to have some faith in the opposite gender, and above all, respect each other. We’re humans afterall. Thanks for the post and that encouraging comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Either side can be wrong not MEN are wrong always :P – Menz world

  14. Why should “a normal, well-meaning, well-behaved” boy take advantage of two girls who are totally strangers to him? Remember the fish and the women are hooked when they open their mouth. The “well-behaved” boy was only starting his operation gambit. The girls were quite right in rejecting him outright.

    Like

    • I do not agree with you, I’m afraid, Sir. Should being introduced by someone else be the only way of interaction between people of opposite genders? Do men not approach unknown men without an introductory and become acquaintances? And what about women? Don’t women ever make acquaintances like that? Why should there be a difference between how the opposite genders interact, with the sword of that unspoken, unholy word ‘sex’ hanging above their heads? And yes, that boy may have been interested in the girl, but he was never, I repeat, never discourteous, lewd or forceful. And we may never know what he wanted to say. He may have only wanted to make normal conversation, he may have known her from somewhere, there may have been any number of permutations why he approached her. But she was rude, right from the start. She had no right to be rude. Yes, she had the right to reject him outright, but not that way. That was discourteous. We owe it to mankind to be kind, patient and courteous to one another. That’s what makes us different from animals. She treated him like one and for what reason? For trying to talk to her? Would you have done that if some girl approached to talk to you? I don’t think so.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Unfortunately, in nine out of ten cases, a young man (or even an older man for that matter) try to strike a conversation with a young woman only to test if she would be pliable. No wonder almost all women react on the cautious side. Remember the proverb – a fish is caught when it opens the mouth and a woman when she shuts her mouth. Let us agree to disagree.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose this is a personal comment on me and how I understood the situaition. I wouldn’t say you are wrong. But i’ll turn your words around and apply them to each and every individual out there. We should never be judgemental about anyone, period. Thank you for expressing your opinion here.

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      • It ws not the personal comment on you… You were right abt what you’ve said abt beaing girl how u defend a girl..because situationally we react , right… What i realky meant was for everyone… A kind of message…
        We must nt be judging people bcz we do know people can judge us too..may be they too are wrong…am i right

        Liked by 1 person

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