Twinkle Khanna Wrote Astutely About TVF, Being Harassed, And How To Compliment Women At Work
"‘Sexy’ is an acceptable compliment within a work environment only if she is a stripper and you are her pimp trying to boost her confidence before she takes the stage."
On March 12, an anonymous post from an alleged female employee of entertainment network The Viral Fever accused founder Arunabh Kumar of sexual harassment.
Former actress, interior designer and author Twinkle Khanna wrote a column for TOI, addressing the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace, in the context of Kumar's comment.
"...A single comment attributed to him, ‘I am a heterosexual single man and when I find a woman sexy, I tell her she is sexy. I compliment women, is that wrong?’ doesn’t just make alarm bells ring but is more akin to the hooting of the siren on top of a politician’s car that speeds through traffic lights and pushes its way through crammed spaces, declaring that here is a privileged someone who believes that the rules are meant for everyone else."
On calling a woman "sexy" in the workplace:
"By calling a woman ‘sexy’ in a working environment, you are undermining everything she has worked for, the stereotypes she has had to break, the pride she takes in her abilities, and the inevitable guilt that she feels about not being home with her children, just to be there in that office, trying to make her place in the world."
On being exposed to harassment herself:
"A few years ago, a message on my phone reduced me to tears in the car. I had reached breaking point after months of suggestive messages from a wealthy, powerful client that I had been pretending not to understand because all I wanted to do was to complete the project in a professional manner. And so I ended up as a statistic — the 38% of women who faced sexual harassment at work, according to a survey done by the Indian National Bar association."
And on men needing to give more appropriate compliments:
"Do not stalk her, touch her, send her lewd messages and emails. And as far as compliments go, try telling her about her great presentation skills, her way with numbers, her astute negotiations. ‘Sexy’ is an acceptable compliment within a work environment only if she is a stripper and you are her pimp trying to boost her confidence before she takes the stage. Telling a woman she is sexy in the bedroom is fine, telling her the same thing in the boardroom simply deplorable."