Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Concept Of Hierarchies

pretending to be a Lollywood Hippie
pretending to be a Lollywood Hippie

Or as I call it - the battle of the old vs new media platforms.

I am aware of hierarchies. I know they exist in the mind. I also believe they are stupid.

Context - I went for an interview with one of the most hated media houses in Calcutta to please my mother. I was told to let them know, if after the life lesson disguised as an interview, I wanted a different role than the one I had applied for. It astounded me somewhat the arrogance with which he declared this being pretty much the only competent media house in Calcutta, something he rectified soon even though grudgingly. Take your guesses.

We all know about the privilege enjoyed by the old, white, male ones in our society. It is not simply about the colour of ones skin or gender. The old male is generally considered wise. His advice, his decisions are of prime importance. Some people who tend to be working in certain print (news) publishings tend to believe theirs is the most worthy, the only one which matters. To this individual, who is quick to dismiss the "Buzzfeed generation", even blogging seems like a joke. (If it were so, then bloggers would not be getting murdered around the world right now. Just a pointer.). Only certain things - positions, types of work, life choices, etc. are meaningful to them. The attitude is - "I would not have done that."
So, when you encounter such an individual, who is bored out of his wits at an interview session, what should you do?

Well as for me, I listened, albeit skeptically as he gave me life advice to get over my "existential dilemma". He told me if I wanted a career I couldn't expect a cushy life. I have to struggle. I have to make sacrifices. He defended himself by saying he was a good son who visited his old, ailing parents every weekend; the very ones who were supportive of his career ambitions to be chased in a different city. Even a slightly touchy (petty?) comment at the end, "I had my doubts before coming in for this interview," fell on an ear that wasn't really listening. That generation loved telling the young ones how to do things, they never were experts on really listening.

For a while it seemed like pearls of wisdom scattered towards a young newbie in the media industry. And I felt a sense of gratitude towards him at the end of this session. But, as the days rolled past, I couldn't get over the fact that I wasn't really told anything I didn't already know, that I wasn't already mulling over in my head for days. Maybe hearing it from another helped fortify my resolve to stick to Delhi, even though it keeps kicking me in the balls every so often. But, had it been me giving that same advice to someone else, would it still have the same value that it did coming from him? Would he have shared such a private story about his early days, his parents in the very first meeting with a total stranger if he were a she? Would I have been less skeptical about getting lectured if he were a she?

I do not know.

As someone who has been bullshitted by older, 'wiser' men all my life (do I need to add #notallmen here so as to not hurt any egos?), I have a natural tendency to have more faith in the old, 'wise' woman's words. She after all understands the will to fight the traditional, the patriarchal, she understands responsibility in a way a man does not (even now in Indian society). I believe she will wink at me and tell me how to do it like a woman. 'How to conquer the world like a woman' - naani edition. He looked at me like I was a directionless child. But, I am 25; I am a grown woman. Would he have looked down on me the same way if he were a she? And would he have added at the end of his long and elaborate lecture that, "after all women have different pressures from society which I wont (don't) understand," would he...if he were a she?

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2 comments:

  1. Do I fall under the category of "old, wise women"? :P

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    Replies
    1. Yes you do...not so old yet though...

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