Make no mistake, this is a story with more than one side. Indeed, more than even two. Simple binaries of black and white will not capture the large zone of grey that lies between the two. On the one side, there’s an organic revolt against institutional patriarchy—empowered by a simple war cry, #MeToo, and amplified by the enabling tools of social media. On the other, there are troubling questions. Both motivated sceptics and an honest devil’s advocate could ask these questions, and they must be honestly confronted if the #MeToo spirit is to continue speaking in the name of justice.
Some questions are of a general nature that involves us all. Beyond the open-and-shut cases of outright predation from positions of power, does it confuse flirtation with harassment? Where’s the line to be drawn when everyone has a different line? Does it victimise men for playing initiator? Is this Men vs Women? (It is not; for one, there are men and women on both sides of the argument). Some questions flow from the very limitations of the format of revolt. Doesn’t it leave too much room for fake allegations? (Yes, it probably does. One case of a senior journalist, Siddharth Bhatia, seems riddled with genuine doubts. One from the world of entertainment, Varun Grover’s case, awaits a final word). And, as an extension, can’t it become a tool for the play of agendas? Can’t it become a form of ‘exemplary’ and showpiece justice, and thus be selective?