My parents had been on a vacation to place X, in India (through an agency that conducts group tours) with my Dad’s school-friends and their wives and other families they didn’t know.
My mom told me they were having a lot of fun with all the sightseeing and with all the jokes going around in their core group.
There were some young girls, about 21 years of age, about whom my Dad’s friends joked. These jokes were flirtatious in nature. E.g. they would say, we want this side of the table so that we could get the “view” (view to see young girls). The rest of this core group (including my mom and the other wives) encouraged this silliness by laughing at such statements and the other wives were like, “We are so sure of our husbands. This is all fake, they will come back to us, eventually”
The young girls were, of course, oblivious to all this.
This did not go too well with me. What made me cringe?
1. Is it because I felt the married men were behaving like single ones with no respect to their own marital status?
2. Is it because the wives were not offended by their husbands’ behavior of openly showing attraction to other women?
3. Is it because though men looked at the young girls, the women did NOT look at the young or old or any guy, perpetuating the ‘virility of man, virtue of woman’ stereotype?
4. Is it because unmarried women were being the butt of jokes (or open admiration), and it reflected the Indian men mentality of “Single? Line maro. Married? Bhabhi samjho”?
5. Is it because old men were admiring young girls younger than their own daughters (and not women their age), perpetuating that attractiveness is based on woman’s age while man’s age doesn’t matter?
6. Is it because I felt that when women encourage such comments from men, they propagate a culture of “Boys will be boys” that eventually leads to everyone dismissing serious crimes like Eve-teasing as something silly?
Well, I think it is 3, 4, 5 and 6. I would have considered this behavior as a fair joke if the wives had said, “You don’t stand a chance with them. I might stand a chance with that hot and young/old guy, though”.
Would this situation make you cringe? Or would you just dismiss it?
[Updated]- Were you comfortable when Amitabh, a widower in the movie, was shown as playboy “Sexy Sam” in Kabhie Alvida Naa Kehna, whereas Kirron Kher, a widow, was shown as the “nice mom next door”? When her son (Shah Rukh) sees her with Amitabh bachchan, he freaks out. Why? Wasn’t she single too?
-Were you comfortable when Reema and Alok Nath, as samdhi-samdhan, innocuously “flirted” in the movie Hum Aapke Hain Koun? (I remember my Dad was very uncomfortable with those scenes, whereas my mom and I were giggling. I can’t believe I loved HAHK then)
-Were you comfortable when Karan Johar asked Anil Kapoor in the talk-show “Koffee with Karan” to rate the actresses based on sex appeal, when all the actresses were his daughter, Sonam’s age? (Then he asked Sanjay Dutt the same question. In all other episodes, Sonam was always a candidate to be rated. But because Anil Kapoor was also on the hot-seat, Sonam was excluded from Sanjay’s question.)