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20 Apr 2024, Edition - 3203, Saturday

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“We didn’t expect Karutthu Kannammaa to become a movement”

Indrani Thakurata

Image credit : Illustrative Image


Bengaluru: Don’t even ask why it is important for women to bond in a man’s world. You have the answer already. But did you say it is difficult to gather like minded women under one roof,not anymore in this digital world. With more than a lakh followers Karutthu Kannammaa is a vibrant page that has it’s heart in the right place. Leaving no space for ambiguity, Karutthu Kannammaa spells out its intention very clearly. “We are a page who promote equality for women in all aspects of life. Every person who shares our belief against gender biasing and hypocrisy of certain classes can like us.” Elaborating on the same, the founder of Karutthu Kannammaa, who is although a loved admin of her community , on conditions of anonymity says, ” We found this page because there was no page for Indian women where they could freely express their side of the story in our patriarchal, sexist and stereotyping society which operates on the basis of culture. There are innumerable pages that we call ‘Tamil Taliban’ where the admins shame and police Indian girls for their dressing and other forms of self expression – no one was collectively calling the atrocities immersed in cyberbullying and online slut shaming. We decided to call it out – sorta like Anniyan the female version.”

Giving platform to numerous voices,calling spade a a spade–it takes empathy, courage to host so any people; but it often stems from a place of frustration,and disillusionment with the society. “If a trigger needs to be disclosed, I was voicing out these feminist and rational thoughts through my own Facebook profile much to my family’s disapproval (the biggest hurdle for Indian women remains their family). I stopped as I can’t go against my family but there was this nagging feeling of being cowed and containing my thoughts within me was unbearable. I flirted with the idea of starting a Facebook page anonymously and casually told it to my best friend. One day, we decided to go for it and Karutthu Kannammaa was born.” She further adds, “Karutthu Kannammaa is the need of the hour – we didn’t expect that what we created would progress to become a movement and that we will win so much support and love from people along with disdain and hatred from the Tamil Talibans hung up on protecting culture that is biased and constricting women – we are a team of diverse backgrounds, countries and gender. We address a myriad of issues on a daily basis – from how certain cultural practices need to go to what women should do to empower themselves. Add parenting tips, dissecting Tamil movies, the importance of sex education, etc, in between. Also, pointing out the hypocrisies of our society. The most fun part of Karutthu Kannammaa is the comment section – the responses we get include people saying that natural calamities happen because culture is being forgotten, the ‘science’ behind Indian culture, the ‘what about men’ when we discuss women’s issues and personal attacks, the worst being rape and murder threats. We also get factual and rational responses – in a sense, this keeps us going.”

And no wonder, if women indeed start pouring out their grievances, there would be too many. We don’t have equal pay, dowry deaths, child marriage, rape, harassment at workplace and so on…But in all of this, it is difficult to pinpoint the most important issue of our time, just as it is difficult to articulate how women perpetuate patriarchy as much as men do. “The burning issue of our time is the failure to recognise women as human beings who are autonomous entitled to human liberties, human rights, freedom of choice and freedom of expression. We posted that women should not have any marital insignia on them and few fellows asked us how would men know that a woman is married. Now, can’t a woman open her mouth and say whether she’s married/going steady/single just like a man can? A quote that encapsulates this is, “A man is considered human. A woman is considered female. Thus, when a woman behaves like a human, she is said to imitate man.” Oh, yes, of course, women are guilty of perpetuating patriarchy as well – they have internalised patriarchy and have no bones blaming women’s dressing for rape and that oppressive culture is ‘good’ for women.”

Sometimes, it is important to have these discussions, put a context to a material and debate on issues that needs attention. But there are some news that just devastates you. And she recalls one that got her recently. ” In Malaysia, a father raped his daughter more than 600 times – he was divorced and that daughter was living with him. The girl only opened up to her mother when her father wanted to take two of her younger sisters with him. The nature of the case shook the entire nation, yet, there were men who blamed the girl who was just a child!”

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