M.A.S.E.S – Movement Against Sexual Exploitation and Sexism
மாசெஸ் – பாலியல் சுரண்டல் மற்றும் பாலியில்வாதத்திற்கு எதிரான அமைப்பு
“The determination to fight begins at the point where the tolerance breaks upon realization of the cause”.
A very few people would have had the sense of insecurity and guilt, every time when they looked beyond the materialistic needs and mean intentions of the capitalistic masses – It’s time to join hands, if you are one of the few…
On April 11, 2011, Nirmala who writes in the pen name Kotravai was reminded of the forced insecurity and guilt caused by the mean intentions of a male chauvinistic advertisement – ‘Fair & Handsome Fairness Cream for Men’, portraying a man being teased for using a cosmetic cream labeled for women. She realized that the forced insecurity is due to a broadly accepted and absorbed idea of gender / sex and the ultimate roots of discrimination on those pretexts. The guilt of not doing anything about these representations left her in unrest. The point break – she decided to take up the fight against the cause of Sexual Exploitation and the chauvinistic ideas of sex.
As a first step before a leap, she started the Facebook page, to identify the like minded people, who have a synchronous vision on opposing gender discrimination and capitalistic representation of Women, Gender queer and Race. She gathered 140 of her Face Book network, initially, creating an awareness about the need to address these issues. The group showed enthusiasm in fighting for the cause. The group has gradually grown into a body of 185 members. The early enthusiasts sprang up with ideas to document the opposition through proper channels – like Resp. Mayoo Mano who referred the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). The founder, Kotravai took this forward, filing an online petition signed by 23 individuals, adhering to the schemes put forth in their website.
Few weeks later, it was apparent that the advertisement was significantly restrained from broadcast, except for a very few occasions. Despite requests for reply from ASCI with regard to that petition, we were left in dark – if that was a fruit of success from our steps.
Further, Resp. Kavitha Muralidharan took keen interest in taking the activity forward – a Democratic call was made through group page and Penniyam.com for a meeting to device the group with its agenda and activities. As usual, Democracy returned poor response. Resp. Geetha Narayanan actively dropped in for the meeting, proceeding with exchanging and reinforcing the synchronized thoughts. Kavitha remained insistent on being up-to-date of the happenings. Discussions continued on the Facebook page, reaching far to rename the group to “Oppose Male Chauvinistic Representation in Media”.
Resp. Bloorock Rav (Kishore) initiated yet another attempt to set up a meeting during the 35th Chennai Book Fair. The second meeting was fairly larger with a 100% rise in the number of attendees – from two to four! The meeting did yield a fruit – a proposal to form a Movement with a drafted agenda being mailed to few of the members. Resp. Bala Bharathi shared his valuable ideas in drafting the agenda of the movement. On December 9, 2011, the Movement Against Sexual Exploitation and Sexism was declared with its agenda. A closed google group was created with scope of its contents limited to the members and the members being added only through invitations.
With high hopes of relieving everyone from the guilt of being deaf to the atrocities of male chauvinism, discrimination on sex, gender queers, and a solemn pledge towards a better fraternity, the march began…………