Earlier this week, we read the toe curling story of Rubashini who was cyberbullied for making a Musical.ly video in clothing of her choice. A slew of Tamil profanities and harassing messages in broken English were hurled at her because of her dressing, questioning her morals and upbringing, even calling her a porn star, saying that she deserves to be raped.

Based on their Facebook names and the language used, it is interesting to note that the bulk of these comments came from men and women of Indian heritage, most of whom are Malaysian.

All of which made us wonder, why do some Malaysian Indians feel entitled enough to post such crass messages on a public page about a person they don’t know from Adam? One would think that Indians policing women’s dressing is an issue of the past. And yet, in 2018, people – both men & women – still find it acceptable to tell a woman how to be/dress/speak like a woman.

Is patriarchy the root of all this? Or could it be the male worshipping culture that most Indians are born with? Why are Indians so nasty?

“We are trying to protect women,”

This overused adage stems from the notion that women are helpless, and NEED a man by their side to complete them and make them whole. In fact, this could not be further away from the truth! This ridiculous excuse has also been etched onto our brains thanks to numerous Tamil movies. Every guy commenting seems to think they are a version of Ajith from Vedhalam, trying to protect this girl who so desperately needs guidance.

Dear self appointed heroes, women do not need protection, nor do we need providing for.

“She was asking for it,”

Do you honestly think that Rubashini woke up one morning and thought, “I wonder what it would feel like if I was cyberbullied by vulgar Indian lechers?”

Victim blaming is a lame excuse. You wouldn’t blame the owner if a car gets stolen. You wouldn’t blame the deceased in a murder. Then how in the world can anyone say this victim of cyber bullying asked for it?

Let’s get this straight, nobody and that means NOBODY who is a victim of cyberbullying or any other crime is or was ever ASKING FOR IT.

“So what if I commented, nobody cares!”

Yes, people do care. Her parents care. And while you are hiding behind your screen of hypocrisy, your actions have consequences. You drove this girl into depression with your hate and negativity, and caused her parents heartache. Nobody deserved to be spoken to like that.

“She should dress more respectably,”

Oh, when did you turn into Vijay’s character from Sivakasi? In the movie, Asin walks into a crowded marketplace dressed in shorts and a tank top, only to be harassed by a baddie. Vijay then saves the day before briefly reprimanding the lecher. He then confronts Asin in front of the crowd telling her that she shouldn’t be wearing a bra (her tank top) and underwear (her shorts) to a market. He basically said that if you’re dressed like this, you’re asking for it.

Quick question to all the men out there. Do you have absolutely no self control that a girl dressed in clothing of her choice is enough to arouse you to touch her without her consent? That is wrong on too many levels, and you know that.

“Boys will be boys, and they will comment that way,”

This inane, overused statement is guilty of perpetuating bad behaviour among males without putting a stop to it. The kid is naughty? Boys will be boys. A man stops his motorbike and stares lasciviously at a girl as she walks down the street? Boys will be boys. A guy commenting that a girl who posts a video of herself in shorts is a slut? Boys will be boys.

In Kavan, Vijay Sethupathi utters a loathsome line when his girlfriend catches him kissing another girl. “A scorpion is known to sting, and a man is known to do things like this,” Is he indirectly saying that all men are imbeciles who cannot keep it in their pants?

This ‘trend’ of letting boys be boys needs to end. Discipline that kid. Ask the lecher “What are you looking at?” Report those offensive comments. Stop rationalizing atrocities by attributing it to the way a gender works. Bad male behaviour cannot be shrugged off as ‘fun that sometimes gets out of hand’. Men are not hardwired to be jerks. Call them out on it!

“We are trying to preserve our kalacharam,”

Wow, is your culture so fragile that it can be decimated with the widespread usage of off shoulder tops? At this juncture, it may be helpful to understand that cultures are constantly evolving, and adhering to one rule for all of eternity will never work in any society. Besides, if you are so interested in preserving your culture, how come we don’t see you doing anything for that purpose?

Rubashini DID NOT MAKE A MISTAKE. Making a Musical.ly was something she enjoyed doing, and there is no reason for her to be shamed for that. Her dressing is her perogative and she looked gorgeous. And yes, an Indian girl can dress in whatever she chooses to and take a video of it. That choice is entirely up to her.

The fact that some parties think she has brought this onto herself is proof that patriarchy  has creeped its way into the recesses of all our brains. Think of it this way, if a good looking guy posted a Musical.ly in his boxers, the comments would have been on the other end of the spectrum.

As a society, we ethnic Indians have grown terribly accustomed to the idea that the women are ‘the other’. When we think of race, it is black that is marked. When we think of sexual orientation, homosexuality is the other. It is so easy to poke and prod and say nasty things about the other, and to tell them how to live their lives. We easily forget that the ‘others’ are humans with rights too, and we need to respect that. We need to give due regard to the choices people make, and if it is something you disagree with, keep scrolling!

We are aware that the temerity some Indians possess extends beyond policing random Indian women’s dressing in the name of culture. We are also aware that not all men think and behave this way. Regardless, this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Fellow Malaysian Indians, mind your own business lah. Surely you have better things to do than to comment and share a video of a girl doing a Musical.ly! If Tamil culture is so important to you, off shoulder tops and shorts should be the least of your worries at this point of time.