When people interchange and confuse concepts like misandry and feminism, the result sounds something like this: a man-free festival.
Why is there such a man-free festival?
Following the rising cases of sexual assaults against women in Bravalla, Sweden’s largest music festival, its organizers have decided to cancel the event next year.
According to the local police, there were 4 rape and 23 sexual assault reports during the festival weekend and 5 cases of rape reported the year before.
In light of recent events, Emma Knyckare, a Swedish comedian has posed an interesting solution to the problem: banning men from festivals altogether or rather a man-free festival.
In a tweet, she said: “What do you think about putting together a really cool festival where only non-men are welcome,” adding that the festival would run until “all men have learned how to behave themselves”.
The Pros – Why we need a man-free festival?
It’s a great idea to have a celebration where women can act in defiance of traditional norms. It is a direct blow at the patriarchies that have been dictating what a woman should and should not do since ages ago.
It symbolizes freedom and safety, where women can enjoy without the fear of being groped or touched inappropriately.
This idea will initiate a dialogue and for once, it doesn’t tap into victim-blaming logic.
The fest would go on to promote female line-ups and greater participation of women organizers.
Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple!
The solution posed by the comedian does little to solve the underlying issue of rising cases of sexual assault.
Not only does it deny the rights of an entire gender to attend an event because of the wrong-doings of a few, but also ignores the possibility of a woman committing the same crimes.
This drastic measure is a confusing approach to tackle a problem as serious as this. It somehow implies that the two genders can’t co-exist peacefully and need to be segregated for the other gender’s safety.
Worse, it might exacerbate the issue and give feminist movements a bad name.
Sweden v/s India
If you compare this solution with India’s, a significant difference between the two countries’ thought processes can be noted. In Sweden, women chose to create a separate fest to stay away from the wrong-doers.
In India, women are told to stay cooped up at their homes during festivals like Holi just because the perpetrators roam at large.
This doesn’t imply that either one is a good solution. Both are temporary, ineffective fixes with an inherent fallacy, which dodge from the actual problem in hand.
What should the organisers do then?
To solve this, the organizers need to work much harder. Dealing with crimes like sexual assault at music festivals means 24-hour security on campsites and arenas, maintaining close working relationships with police and other relevant agencies and a complete review of the judicial system.
The local government needs to adopt a zero tolerance policy on such acts.
Organizers should work towards creating a festival space that respects the personal boundaries of every participant. And above all, it requires teaching the principle of consent and the art of respect to everyone from a very young age.
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