Moral Policing: A stereotype doesn’t decide us!

By – Mourya Koundinya

The world has suffered many types of pandemics, wars, droughts, all kinds of hideous crimes. None of them united people to help each other to get out of the problematic situation, no matter how many people died or suffered. But there is one thing that brings most of the people together no matter their religion, caste, creed etc., that is moral policing. People come running to defend their “believes and traditions” in such a way that they feel breathless. What is moral policing? “It is an umbrella category of vigilante groups which act to enforce a code of morality”, this is the definition from google and dictionary. Let us discuss some scenarios, where moral policing is done against law and constitution.

Individuals and their clothes (especially women):   India has “right to freedom” as its fundamental rights according to the constitution of the country. One of the most bizarre things that oppose that is judging people, especially women, based on the way they dress because it is wrong according to some so-called “culture and tradition.” This moral policing mostly happens in social media.

When a celebrity or women posts a picture, there will be at least 5 out of 10 comments on her dress. The thing is their clothing is not the issue; the issue is with the people’s mindset. They say that we respect women a lot, and treat her as a goddess, do not wear short clothes. It ruins our culture. They talk about treating women as goddess and clothing in the same sentence. Who looks what kind of clothes a goddess is wearing other than a pervert? What kind of sick mentality is this? It’s her money, her choice on what she wants to wear. Who the hell are these people to comment?

When there is rape news, you will at least find 5 out of 10 comments about the victims dressing. It is very sick and bizarre. If a person thinks women way of dressing is the reason for rape, he is no less than a rapist. Not only men, but even fellow women also comment the same. It is disconcerting and hideous. 

Marriage: The average age of a boy to get married in India is 26and for a girl, it is 22. If there is any deviation from this age, there comes moral policing. This moral policing happens mostly by family members and relatives. Questions like ” are you ok down there?” “Do you want to get tested for any problems?” “How dare you disrespect the culture and not get married ?” And many more are to be faced. People have responsibilities or dreams to fulfil, but no, our culture is more important than that.

Imagine a guy sitting there and getting questions like ” are you sterile?” Imagine what goes in his mind when someone asks him this. It is awkward. Why should one answer about himself to some unknown or known relatives? What kind of emotional torture is this?

Individual choices of careers:  The employment rate in India is 46.8%, in which women percentage is 23.6%. BBC surveyed this in 2017 on why is this very low. The result was due to marriage and cultural issues. This moral policing happens mostly by family members and relatives. If a woman wants to work; achieve their goals and dreams, and some culture/tradition is coming in between, Then the problem is with the culture and the people spreading it.

If a woman wants to work at odd hours, it becomes worse. “What if some boy does something to you?” “Women place must be in the kitchen” these types of dialogues come into the picture. 

In the end, it is very simple. If you want to do anything which is legal and is not hurting anyone, Go ahead and do it. If culture or tradition is judging people for what they like and is legal, then you need not care or follow it. Moral policing is useless because morals are subjective, and actual ethics are based on laws.

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