The M.A.S.E.S. against ebay January 31, 2012 By Chandini K. DC chennai
When ebay posted a promo that was sexist, M.A.S.E.S. or Masses against sexual exploitation and sexism member Nirmala, protested against the site by creating a petition.
The promo categorised gadgets like tablets, mobiles and laptops as ‘For Him’ and clothes, cosmetics and jewellery ‘For Her’. With several prominent writers and feminists signing the petition, the protest caught on rapidly and response was prompt.
The spokesperson from ebay then referred to the guideline which says ‘sex sells’ so use it to your advantage. That did not stop the M.A.S.E.S. and after several more signatures and individual letters, ebay had finally pulled down the ad on their site.
Nirmala, a literary Tamil writer who goes by the pen name of Kotravai, founded M.A.S.E.S. for the fight against Sexism. Because of the tremendous response she had for the Facebook petition she made a small group of people join MASES and now there are more than 400 members.
When asked how M.A.S.E.S. was started she replies, “A complaint was sent to Advertising Council of India on the ebay promo, but there was no response from the council. At last I decided I should start a movement and that’s how M.A.S.E.S. was formed on 9.12.2011.”
Several prominent Tamil writers have also joined M.A.S.E.S. and signed the petition; some of them are Senior Human Rights Activists like Prof. A. Marx, Karthik Navyan, Ko. Sukumaran (Federation for People’s rights, pudhucherry), Senior Feminist Writers like Taslima Nasreen, Malathi Maithri, Jamalan Jahir, among others.
Finally due to the pressure ebay had pulled out the promo to be replaced. Seeing that the first attempt was successful, Nirmala says, “I take this opportunity to thank everyone who had signed the petition and joined M.A.S.E.S. I have networked with a few International Organizations. I have also started a blog to create more awareness on this issue: www.masessaynotosexism.wordpress.com. This has surely empowered me.”
In a century where values are changing constantly gender equality still seems far from reach. Sexism and Feminism has always been an issue since our society is ruled by Patriarchy.
When asked Nirmala if she sees changes coming with 2012 she says, “After several feminist waves, yes there has been some impact. Women need to be respected. To attain this I think that Women should first start questioning everything around her like ’is this my choice’ or’ have I been taught to think so?’ and with that slowly in time hope to empower women to help change the world!”