After MeToo, comes MenToo; the movement spearheaded by Pooja Bedi, meant to counter false charges of sexual harassment levelled against men by women. Tanushree Dutta, who pioneered the MeToo movement in India by sharing her ten-year-old story of alleged harassment she suffered at the hands of veteran actor Nana Patekar, says she is amused and angered by Pooja Bedi’s initiative to protect men against false allegations of harassment. “You know, I can't help but laugh when I hear such a ridiculous thing such as #MenToo and it makes me angry that women in positions of public domain and influence will still stoop to massage the Male ego to find their acceptance.”
Tanushree admits that she is uninformed about the Karan Oberoi case which triggered Pooja Bedi’s counter-movement. “I'm not aware of the details of the case in question and clearly don't want to comment on it without knowing much as many #metoo cases are not so black and white and hence need be reviewed carefully before jumping to conclusions.”
However, Tanushree fails to see the need for a MenToo movement. “To jump to start a movement protecting men is at best seems to me to be foolish and self-serving. The law and order, psychology and mindset of our nation is already in favour of men so the great patriarchy already protects our male counterparts, to a large extent. This is evident by the fact that none of the men accused in the #MeToo are anywhere near jail or punished by law for their misdeeds. They are being chastised socially and publicly but the law is yet to hold them accountable.”
Tanushree has some unsolicited advice for Pooja Bedi. “I would suggest to all these wannabe activists to hold their horses and do what's most difficult to do in India. Work towards the liberation of the oppressed, be it women, men and children. That’s when you show your mettle and take the blows. Big fancy words don't change the reality. It takes a martyr to change the status quo, someone who willingly puts herself in the firing line to raise and uplift those that have fallen and persecuted and defeated and have lost hope.”
In a patronizing tone, Tanushree implies that Pooja is making this issue a personal affair. “I understand the need to support your friends because you believe that they are innocent and no one knows the truth except the two parties involved unless it was a public event with several witnesses. But to call it a movement is a bit of a stretch! I'm sure even the men are having a good laugh at it too as the good ones know they don't need a #MenToo.”
Interestingly Tanushree compares Pooja Bedi’s initiative to Raakhee Sawant’s. “Last time I remember Rakhi Sawant tried to start a #MenToo but failed miserably. I’m done with this comedy circus. Our country needs a revolution of conscientiousness so both sexes can co-exist peacefully without oppressing one another in any way,” she said.