Skip to main content

Culture & the reason for the obnoxious rage at Ranjini Haridas

Sandhya's assessment of the Malayalee man's anger at Ranjini Haridas may be spot on, but it misses out one key variable that's at the root of such anger.

Culture.

Before I get to explaining why a resident culture is to blame for such obnoxious anger-behaviour, let me first address the shaping of the human psyche. To evaluate an underlying psyche that gets exhibited via behaviour one has to make an assessment of harboured attitudes. Attitudes people harbour are a result of learning. Much of social attitudes come via social learning. Such social learning starts within the family and gets extended to what's imbibed via community. Communities in turn draw from culture. In fact such learning at a personal level combined with inherited genes are pretty much why people have personalities, including obnoxious ones.

If you live in Kerala (extend that to India) you are almost all the while taught via culture that women find value only through their 'conformance' to masculine norms. Note such norms are in place legitimised by what culture considers appropriate. (Also note such norms even extend to people of lower castes.) Therefore what is appropriate in India is for women to stay submissive to men, operating within strictures laid out by men. Step out of such norms legitimised by culture, meaning if you flirt with or live out non-conformance you will be branded not worthy enough. Not worthy enough automatically means you are subject to scorns, the way Ranjini is. Note the judgers of non-conformance aren't just men, they include as many women too (though they may not be as vocal). Also, non-conformance is always judged on a relative scale, which explains why the scorn heaped on Ranjini far exceeds the kind Manju Warrier is subject to. You see, Ranjini is out and out non-conformist in Kerala's eyes. Manju on her part is currently lurking on the edges, which is why she isn't subject to the the filth Ranjini is.

In my the book, the principle reason behind the anger against Ranjini is her abandonment of conformance to cultural norms, and her merry acceptance and exhibition of her non-conformance (way to go, Ranjini!). You see, for the likes of Ranjini to find acceptance, Malayalees (men and women) must alter their current obnoxious attitudes, which will then automatically see an abandonment of their obnoxious behaviour. That, ladies and gentlemen, is an impossibility as long as current cultural norms operate. Which means a new set of norms must arrive and take root for Ranjini to expect better behaviour.

I am convinced a change will happen, and is happening. The change I look forward to isn't happening because reformists have sprung up within the current cultural set-up. The change is happening and will be completed over a few future generations thanks to technology and its applications. Rapid changes in the media landscape have ensured a quicker arrival of a foreign libertarian culture into India. Such a foreign culture that stands for libertarian ideas, that puts in place values and beliefs that give women the right to choose, is why attitudes have a chance at changing in India, and of course in Kerala.

How long will such change take is debatable. In my book, it will probably take another two generations for us abandon what we currently hold as the base to our obnoxious behaviour. Until then the likes of Ranjini will be 'subject to' what the Kerala populace sees as wilful abandonment of our 'cultural values'.

Pity.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Situational Involvement of Consumers

There are two types of involvement that consumers have with products and services, Situational and Enduring. Situational involvement as the term suggests, occurs only in specificsituations whereas Enduring involvement is continuous and is more permanent in nature.

Decisions to buy umbrellas in India are driven by the onset of Indian monsoon. Monsoon rains arrived in India over the South Andaman Sea on May 10 and over the Kerala coast on May 28, three days ahead of schedule. But then, after a few days of rain, South India is witnessing a spate of dry weather. Temperatures are soaring in the north of India. The Umbrella companies in the state of Kerala are wishing for the skies to open up. So is the farming community and manufacturers of rural consumer products whose product sales depend totally on the farming community. The Met. department has deemed this dry spell as 'not unusual'.

India's monsoon rains have been static over the southern coast since last Tuesday because of a…

Prior Hypothesis Bias

Prior Hypothesis bias refers to the fact that decision makers who have strong prior beliefs about the relationship between two variables tend to make decisions on the basis of those beliefs, even when presented with the evidence that their beliefs are wrong. Moreover, they tend to use and seek information that is consistent with their prior beliefs, while ignoring information that contradicts these beliefs.

From a strategic perspective, a CEO who has a strong prior belief that a certain strategy makes sense might continue to pursue that strategy, despite evidence that it is inappropriate or failing.


Ref : Strategic Management : An Integrated Approach, 6e, Charles W L Hill, Gareth R Jones

Wearing Cuba means Walking Cuba

There's something ethereal about wearing 'Cuba'. Suddenly its the streets of Havana, smoke filled and lit by the groovin', more than the lights. The bars are packed to hilt and dreamy women seem to glide by. The feeling's beyond magical.

How did I get there?

Before I explain, I gotta tell you about the power of brands to take you places. Brands bring with them an ability to prompt you to conjure up the unreal. They can transform your reality into fantasy. And consumers are more than willing partners to brands as the drudgery they face in everyday life begs an injection of fantasy. Brands that operate in a zone of the unreal do the conjuring act as there's nothing else that consumers can call for, while making judgements. For instance, what should I be judging the lip paint on? Its colour and tone or its ability to turn me into a diva?

Cuba's a perfume. The moment I wear it, I am traipsing the streets of Havana. Its smoke filled bars I see. Its music I hear and…