This article was written by Radhika Goyal, (Batch of 2019). She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It took me a while to warm up to law school, sometimes, I’m not sure it has happened yet. Before you start calling me anti-social, let me point out out I wasn’t alone. A lot of my friends felt this way … girls, that is. All the boys we know seemed to be enamored by this place in a manner I could not understand. I still can’t, but now I know that there is a very rational explanation for this: girls and boys simply do not experience law school the same way.
This has nothing to do with boys and girls themselves, and everything to do with the way we have been divided into MHORs and WHORs (of course). The MHORs, with their complete seclusion from campus near the brilliant football field, which us WHORs aren’t allowed to enter for some obscure reason, lead a life that most of us at the girls hostel wouldn’t even understand.
I’ll start with the most obvious: the terrace culture. It could be defined as the habit of gathering at safe spaces, i.e. the hostel terraces at night. People gather in small or large numbers to live the not-sober life, go through existential crises and very often take decisions which may have anywhere between medium to large impact on their lives. This is a part of every MHORs life. An average MHORs story would often begin with the line “So last night on the terrace…” These terraces are the perfect environments to have events ranging from mind-numbingly stupid things like “ulta Himalaya/Ganga/Cauvery” to interesting initiatives like Student Bar Debates or the NLS Film Society. They are safe havens which have been granted an implicit exemption from the Gestapo because after all, everybody as someone put it, needs their orgies. Another striking thing about the terrace culture is that only men take part in it. Before you start getting defensive about this, we are not blaming men for this, we are simply pointing out the distinction. The reasons may be plenty but the reality is clear. There is simply no terrace culture in any of the women hostels. In fact, there is practically no intermingling between the batches, which was one of the very purposes of having hostels with people across batches. Yet sadly, us WHORs do not believe in leaving our comfort zones and meeting people who aren’t already our friends. What these empty terraces depict is the lack of any discourse taking place among the women of this college and sharing of ideas and initiatives in all fields across law school.
Last year, when there was a major outcry out against SDGM during SF there was a blatant lack of girls from the conversation. The insensitivity with which girls were banned from the field in the night was something most of us were extremely slighted by. Yet there were hardly any emails sent by women expressing their disappointment with the way we were being treated. The lack of women in the debating circle is also a testament of this lack of culture to collectively meet and discuss, think, and evaluate the world and our lives. Further, the deserted terraces atop WHOR have missed out on the strong bonds that the ones above MHOR have fostered across generations. Maybe it also often results in the formation of fault lines drawn between men and women of a batch, as is present in a certain senior batch. There can possibly be no positive result of that and we must make an active attempt to prevent such a thing from happening.
There are numerous other things which result in MHORs and WHORs leading different lives. One example is the fact that almost no one from the woman’s hostel has a car. Going out for a drive at 2AM and witnessing BU in all its moonlit glory is part of law school for many members of MHOR. Yet for most women on campus, this along with other such experiences, is unthinkable. The kind of autonomy that men in our campus have is significantly higher than that given to women, which inevitably affects the kind of experiences we have in law school. This becomes a problem because women here are deprived of these experiences that allow men to build a sense of autonomy, confidence and self-sufficiency, all of which are essential to become holistic individuals in modern society. I don’t mean to apportion blame to anyone in this article. Of course, no one is preventing us from exploring the aspects of life I have previously mentioned. I am simply commenting on the situation and the reality as it stands.
I recognise that fixing this is hard in some circumstances. After all, law school is a part of a larger society and the systemic problems of our society, naturally spill over here as well. However, the fact that this is the situation even in an institution such as law school, with students as liberal as they are or claim to be, is a failure at some level, on our part.
There are numerous other examples, which result into MHORs and WHORs leading completely different lives, which often amounts to MHORs and WHORs being different people. These differences must be put to an end to develop an environment that is significantly more inclusive and doesn’t result in the systemic backwardness of one class of people. After all, women need their orgies too.