I tend to be a generally accepting person, irked by little and don’t find it hard to relate to others no matter how different they are from me. I find new personalities and ways of life intriguing but one characteristic that I have a hard time getting past is entitlement. When one starts to act as though they are better than the rest, especially when one is condescending to one or a group of people in particular, I have a hard time interacting with that person. Entitlement tends to be rooted in a general lack of respect for others and for me, I just can’t comprehend that method of thinking.
I have found that I confront entitlement on a daily basis here in India, but this form of entitlement has manifested itself in a new way: sexual harassment. The blatant, harsh stares. Shouting from across the street. Howls from men whooshing past on motor bikes with smirks plastered on their faces. I just don’t understand why there seems to be a general consensus that a man has a right to do that. When I stare back, yell at the man who just groped me, or confront the issue in any way, there tends to be a look of shock on the man’s face. For whatever reason, many men here feel entitled to objectify anyone and when I react they have to look me in eye and realize I am a person. I can’t be mad at each individual because this action has been demonstrated, taught, reinforced, and ignored by the public, but I can however feel upset with society about not doing anything about it. There is something wrong with not feeling safe walking home at night, let alone at 8 pm. There is something wrong with not being able to wear what I want because I fear that strange men will sexualize my exposed calves. There is something wrong with the smirks that do not subside when clear discomfort is expressed. There is something wrong with society. The problem is that many men in particular have been taught that they are entitled to do or say whatever they want to women, especially here in India and to be honest I am so so frustrated.