I had my epiphany about braving insults when I visited India over the winter break in 2010.
During my junior year of college, I had gained some weight and developed blemishes on my face owing to a poor diet. Today, I am in better shape but at that time, I truly felt like a pile of doodoo. At my cousin’s home in Delhi, one Uncle did not hesitate to tear apart my self-esteem to bits by stating – “Kitni moti ho gayi hai Minni, haina?” and laughing out loud among a group of relatives.
I did not want him to have the power to make me feel ugly so my retort was a simple — “Thank you Uncle.”
Later that day, my cousin sister smilingly said, “That was an awesome answer. You really shut him up.”
Braving Insults as a Feminist
It has been my endeavor to use the platform of my blog to address as many taboos related to women and empower our presence in society and media.
In this effort, I have received tremendous support from men and women alike. And the bits of constructive criticism I have received have done wonders to improve my writing.
In some rare instances, I have received insults.
Below is a narrative from my senior year of college.
A group of my friends were sitting at a table in a friend’s apartment and playing a game of ironically, ‘Taboo.” One person, whom I did not know very well kept using the word “rape” repeatedly to signal how poorly he did on a recent exam and how much the professor had raped him, on account of it.
I mentioned to him, in brief, that by using that word, he was belittling the suffering of actual rape victims.
His response was “Shut up bitch. You need to get laid.”
At that point, everybody at that table grew silent and stared at me for a response.
Somehow, I came up with, “Thanks for the tip. I’ll keep that in mind.”
The funny thing about insults is that if you don’t give it any importance and take it as a compliment, the person gets confused whether or not he/she was actually insulting you.
A week later, I ran into this guy again near a pizza place on campus with some of my friends.
And a miracle occurred.
He apologized for his words and acknowledged that his lack of sobriety was no excuse.
So folks, the next time you are called something offensive about your appearance.
Try smiling and say, “Yes, I know I look wonderful today. Thank you for acknowledging it.”
Or if you are ever hurled an abuse like slut or whore.
Say, “Thank you for your kind compliment. I am quite confident in my sexuality.”
And even for the men – if you are ever ridiculed for expressing sensitivity or being too “girly”
Say, “Thank you” as seen in the cartoon depiction below.
(Props to teenage girl and young baseball star Mo’ne Davis) 🙂
Love and peace,