This Sunday, Hardik Pandya and teammate KL Rahul appeared on Koffee With Karan for an episode marred with misogyny, sexism, and racism. Hardik, more than Rahul, went on an undignified bragging spree and objectified women to prove his ‘machoism’. His male ego was satisfied by the end of the show, but the country reminded him that the ‘boys will be boys’ attitude is not going to fly.
Image source: Instagram
Just, in case you haven’t seen the episode, here are some of the statements Hardik made on the show.
1. “My family has been open about everything. When I lost my virginity, I came home and said, ‘Main karke aya hai aaj’.”
2. When Karan Johar asked him why he doesn’t ask women their names, he replied, “I like to watch and observe how they move. I’m little from the Black side so I need to see how they move.”
3. “At a party, my parents asked me ‘acha tera waala (women) kaun sa hai.’ So, I said ‘Yeh, yeh, yeh’ (pointing out all the women he had slept with), and they were like ‘Waah, proud of you, beta‘.”
4. “Nahi nahi, aisa kuch nahi hai. Talent pe hota hai. Jiso mila woh leke jao,” when Karan asked what would happen if both Hardik and Rahul hit on the same girl.
Hardik was not reading lines from a script. It was all him and he meant what he said. The ‘locker room talk’ was out in the open for once. And, as we hoped, the next morning the entire country was outraged. How could someone who’s supposed to be a role model for millions of young men say such things?
We felt the self-involved cricketer needed reminding that he’s not any catch, definitely not after he reduced women to mere objects of his fancy. Respect seemed to be an alien concept as Hardik could not bring himself to remember women by their names … only by their ‘body parts’.
And it doesn’t stop there. Hardik seems to be in dire need of some basic education after his net sessions. The part where he referred to himself as ‘black’ and used it to defend his eccentric and flamboyant nature left me in a real tangle. Newsflash Hardik, you cannot go around stereotyping an entire culture.
Image source: Instagram
The more I think about it, the more I realise that this isn’t an isolated incident. Cringe-worthy and all-too-familiar ‘locker room talks’ are a bonding exercise for men, and the things that are said in this social situation make me want to hang my head in shame.
Unfortunately, I have been witness to male friends and colleagues brag about women they were involved with. One too many time, messages have been exchanged on a common group while one ‘stud’ is out on a date with a girl. The conversations start off with ‘where they were going that evening’, and eventually lead to ‘where they would end up that night’. There have been entire weekends dedicated on deciding which classmate from school or college was ‘hotter’ or which single guy in the group was ‘having the most fun’ every Saturday.
One friend even went on to impart his wisdom about the girls he encountered during his time in Delhi. During a wedding, he swung his lanky hands over my shoulder and tried to give a crash course on how ‘all women are on the lookout for sex’. When I argued with him, he brushed me aside and brought in a couple more of our friends to back him up. I was classified as naive and not having ‘that kind of experience’ with women. This also led to my exclusion from hush-hush conversations shared in the corner when I was not around.
There’s more. I’ve know some friends who give ‘tips’ to their bhai in case he was caught in a romantic conundrum. Their suggestions – the more expensive the gift, the higher your chances of taking your date home. Of course, whether the woman liked him back isn’t a real consideration. She would be done for by that Rs 5,000 bouquet and the chauffeur-driven car he arrived in. This was like Black Mirror’s White Christmas episode in real life. No joke.
But why? Why would a group of educated and civilised men talk about women this way? Sadly, their understanding of male identity is faulty. They feel a need to brag in order to feel like a man. Why do we do this? One anagram – FOMO. The fear of being left as an outcast, and not being able to be a part of the ‘guy group’ is one of the reasons. The culture of machohood is validated by the number of women a man has slept with. And Hardik is no different.
But not all men are like that.
For every Hardik Pandya, there is a Virat Kohli. For every Chris Gayle, there is a Rahul Dravid. Both Virat and Rahul are contrasting personalities on the field, but they have similar ideals off it – focusing on their game of cricket, mindful of what they speak, respecting women, and unafraid to show their love for their partners. These are the role models we need youngsters to turn to. These are the people who need to grace talks shows more.
Image source: Instagram
Hardik later apologised for his statements on Koffee With Karan. He said he did not wish to hurt anyone’s sentiments and blamed it on the ‘nature’ of the show.
— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) January 9, 2019
Cricketers have been on talks shows before. They have been asked such questions before. But they either chose to not encourage the line of questioning or did not have anything to add. There wasn’t a gun to Hardik’s head. He spoke his mind freely. It is only fair he freely accepts all the criticism directed his way and stops hiding behind the coffee mug.
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