Men and Boys rise for Gender Justice in Ramjas College, Delhi University- a brief report on CHSJ, ME-D and Mittika’s interaction
Social change and social transformation are issues that people from all arenas- media, students, families, corporate and communities- have to be involved with. The youth of the city forms a large mass that will be instrumental in writing the future of our society. Hence, it is imperative to involve the young students in a discourse that promotes gender justice.
It is through these sustained interventions- capacity building, mentoring and mobilisations in colleges, that MenEngage Delhi hopes to engage men and boys for gender justice through debunking aggressive masculinities especially within the urban settings.
On 16th of October, CHSJ and MenEngage Delhi in collaboration with Mittika carried forward its first phase of sustained interaction with Ramjas College. The session started with a specially curated forum theatre highlighting the aggressive and destructive masculinities in our society. It began with the sound of drumbeats and was carried forward with enthusiasm. Each play by Mittika is designed to keep the changing audience in mind. They skilfully brought in new segments and nuances to liven up the play.
There were roughly 50 to 60 students in the audience. The interactive play quickly drew in the students and kept them engaged. The play brought out many interesting debates and the students constantly addressed the performing team and shared their queries and confusions. Every pause led to more interaction with the crowd and the size of the audience gradually increased.
Systematically the questions of constructed social ethos of gender stereotypes were put forward during the play. The debate over biological determinism leading to social construction was discussed, for example a student made a statement that girls are physically weak and hence they are bad drivers because scientifically they have less geographical sense. To this statement the facilitator proposed the student to participate in a workshop that Mittika has designed, which discusses and tries to understand such narratives of gender stereotypes.
When the synopses of popular movies were portrayed by Mittika the crowd seemed to get glued to them. They were quick to grasp the idea behind that sequence from the play where the character ‘Gabbar’ was depicted by a women and ‘Basanti’ was performed by a man. Some of the students did make comments like; “yeh kya kar rahe hain? gabbar aur aurat? zaroor yeh nariwadi sangathan hi hoga.” This meant that “what are they doing? ‘gabbar’, a woman? Definitely they are a feminist organization.”
The segment of “mardani and aurtani meter” was hilarious. There was a vivacious response from the crowd to it. They came forward to rate the masculinity and femininity of the characters that were portrayed in front of them.
After the interactive session, a survey was conducted which was designed by CHSJ. The interaction was concluded by members where a group of 10 students registered to be part of the action group in Ramjas College at 4:30 pm.