I used to sit on the 21st floor. Now I am retired

Friday, December 30, 2005

Sexism at IIT

"IIT men suck—they can be pretty desperate," says one second year student. "They hit on you all the time and try to approach you, especially on Yahoo Messenger.". Check the recent article in the Tabloid of India.

We have had this debate in our team over the last few months. Are IIT students sexist? On the issue, there is the liberal colleges point of view (BITS, Stephen's, Xavier's) and there is the IIT point of view.

Liberal: Diffe
rences, conscious or sub-conscious, in behaviour, language & thought towards the female gender, is sexism (Okay, this might seem absolute, but the spirit isn't). Most Indian men grow up in a sexist environment, during their schooling. In smaller towns or lower income classes, sexism is even more pervasive.

Behaviour, language and thought undergoes change during college, where beliefs are formed. The environment during college determines the extent and type of change. IITs offer a skewed sex ratio (1:10 is not uncommon)and thus, girls are not viewed as normal (normal is defined as average/ common). IITs also have a larger proportion of students from small towns/ lower income classes, and hence the initial position itself is more 'sexist' that others.

Hence, most IIT men continue to remain sexist/ become more sexist.
This is different in liberal colleges, where regular interaction over professional/ extra-curricular situations removes the differences in behaviour/ language/ thought.

IIT: Girls in IIT suddenly find themselves in a monopoly situation!! As they suddenly become the cynosure of all eyes, they encourage sexist behaviour. Thus, men who would be normal towards all other women, behave differently towards women from IIT.
Other than that, IIT men are only as sexist as any other colleges.


Blogger Ravikiran said...

BITS! Liberal!
Request rigorous reconsideration.

IIT Students being sexist - may have an element of truth. If you had said IIT men (the tabloid did!), I would vehemently disagree. This is a matter of growing up, and is bound to happen, sooner or later, all it requires is more interaction and experiencing a relationship or two.

I agree, losing the sexist streak, that is inherent in our general environment, for many, happens during college. However,Your argument does not consider the amount of interaction that can happen between the IIT students and the rest. I admit, this is much lesser compared to the "liberal arts" colleges(is that what you called them?)

The situation is different from when I passed out in Y2K. This is on two counts -increased intake due to various other programs (BBA,MBA etc) and increased interaction (social events et al).

Even so, I believe the the tabloid article has made a grossly incorrect generalization. I speak from personal and empirical evidence.

All said and done, it is a part of the price one ends up paying for a brilliant academy to grow up. Perhaps, that of studying and living in an otherwise complete environment!

DhoomK2 - my contact info rss.ravikiran@gmail and 9223300446. What about you? Would like to speak with you on a separate matter.

Friday, December 30, 2005 1:49:00 AM

Blogger Mr. D said...

BITS is a liberal college???

Friday, December 30, 2005 3:18:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Godd to hear from you.
I just wanted to be charitable to BITS!! No, seriously, I have heard that they have a ratio of 2:1.

Empirically, I am low on facts as I haven't interacted with enough number of BITSians. The 3-4 I have met were 'normal' though!

By the way, I still haven't seen enough impact from the increased interactions. Maybe another 4-5 years?

Saturday, December 31, 2005 4:16:00 AM


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