#MeToo: Can men gain something from it?

I hope #TimesUp for those who create a toxic work environment


As the world came to grips with the Donald being elected US president, there was widespread debate about the mental state of the man. The unhinged and erratic behaviour seemed to be matter of particular interest. He can’t be mentally stable they said.

All the while, I kept thinking how in many ways he is similar to one of my old bosses; an old man with almost unlimited wealth acquired through murky channels, who believes in own competence with utmost conviction and everyone else is there to serve him to no end. He would turn any story to make it sound like he is the victim. It would defy logic but no one called it out. His favourite tactic was to try and shame people by saying they are laughing at us. Does it sound like the Donald? So it just went on until, I got another job.

During those times, I read this wonderful article by Phil McDuff ‘Donald Trump isn’t mad – he’s the arrogant boss we’ve all seen before’. It resonated with me. I felt empowered and it was good to know that this behaviour is not out of the ordinary for rich men with clout. It’s something faced by people across the globe. With money, or semblance of a unique skill we create these cult figures who have absolute power of people’s live. Their behaviour is justified because the end justify the means.

In the backdrop of Metoo movement in India, I feel that it is these rich men behave like monsters because they have built the image of a cult, or an evil genius. What if he is a sexual predator, he brings in the money for stockholders. His fans revere him, and flock to cinemas, we can just replace the actress who is more willing with his ways. He treats humans like shit but he makes them work hard for the company, why change it? This is the argument presented in decision making circles.

The capitalistic system especially in the 3rd world is supremely exploitative and these beasts feast on it. This happens irrespective of gender. Perhaps, men are not abused physically as much. But they verbally abused wherever and whenever. Working hour are as long as the boss wants them to be. There are no holidays. Your service is not rewarded and compensated for, because your boss has eyes for this young 24 year old female. ‘Discussions’ with her are for hours and all your legitimate queries are shot down. If the girl in whatever situation agrees to his advances that would mean men suffering. And the sword of on the spot firing just hangs there.

So how does Metoo relate to this situation? With metoo women are speaking out against this system which empowers and emboldens such behaviour. It is asking for systems to be made in organizations where right abuses are not allowed. It is demanding change in a system which works for whosoever has power to influence your career. This won’t remain a women right’s things. If you feel that someone is getting ahead because of their gender, a more transparent system would allow you to expose this marriage of convenience and personal gain. It’s not about females accusing innocent men, to gain fame. Even if a few individuals exploit it for personal gain, men aren’t going to jail for false accusations. Their career rarely take a hit until there is absolute clear evidence like Harvey Weinstein.

If Sajid Khan was so abusive to her female assistant, there is no doubt he would have been a nightmare for male employees or worse not hire any because of their gender. This isn’t about just females. It is about this system which creates cults not bosses like the boss I mentioned earlier. So for everyone’s sake, I genuinely hope that time is really up.

the authorAsjad Khan

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