Sunday, 11 January 2015

Social experiments:- Do they work?

2014 was the year of the social media. Sometimes I can' t thank the world enough for the internet and it's optical fibres connecting all of us together. One small voice can snowball into a movement in no time.

Social experiments have been put to use since as old as 1960s. These days, a few "social scientists", organizations, filmmakers and bloggers are all posing the questions that many are finding hard to answer. Indeed it is easy to speculate about what one might do in the situations posed in these experiments but what happens when the situation actually arises? Do we really live up to our own ideals of who we think we are? Some of these experiments are merely for fun but a few indeed make you stop and think.

When people forget to think and reason for what they do, out of conformity and inertia or both, some of the most horrible social changes may begin to take shape and become tolerated. Here are five social experiments that took the internet by storm and forced us to think, one more time.

  • Eveteasing. Eveteasing is the reality in several countries. This video shook the world when one woman decided to show a mirror to the ugly side of the society women face, daily, across the world. It's very simple. A woman just goes around New York city for 10 hours. She gets more than a 100 catcalls, winks and whistles from all classes of men throughout the day. Does it have to be so hard to be a woman!? The situation is similar if not worse in our country!

  • Swachh Bharat AbhiyanThere's a saying, everybody's responsibilty is nobody's responsibilty and we Indians excel at it. We keep our homes clean but are the quickest ones to judge our cities as full of litter and irresponsible people. However, we will not blink an eyelid before turning around a corner and throwing litter around. The common excuse. No dustbins. The girl who keeps her litter in her bag till she finds a bin is laughed at. Really how difficult is it to not litter around?
  • A drunk woman is easy? A social experiment in the US made us think of our stereotyes and whether we really do judge drunk woman as "asking for it". Women who have had too much to drink become easy targets for sociopaths and criminals. But do the onlookers help? Everytime? In India inebriation becomes an easy ground to blamethe vitim for her mishap.

  • A road accident injured asking for helpWe have read several articles about how people have bled to death on the streets after having met with an accident with no one coming up for their help. After the brutal Nirbhaya rape incident, with her friend reporting that nobody stopped for their help, a group decided to stage a mock event on the streets of Delhi when a young actor pretended to be seriously bleeding and asking for help from passersby. No vehicles stop. Even as he pretends to die, people only gather around to say , "mar gaya shayad!". I only hope humanity is not dying.

  • A virgin bride. Thus strange phenomenon is found in men across the world but most particularly in the Indian subcontinent. Most men are open to multiple relationships for most part of their single life but will want an "untouched girl" as a wife when they settle down so she does not cheat. Watch this unique logic and shocking responses of the men in a social video in the link below.

All these experiments ask one hard hitting question: are you a part of the problem or are you a part of the solution. These are simple everyday situations one comes across but social experiments like these make us stop and think that the change indeed begins with our own selves. Social experiments are the new generation vehicles of change. I hope the internet continues to be their voice and 2015 lays the ground for for a more humane, empathic society. Better than 2014 and not any worse!


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