I’m Done Making Excuses.

I am a millennial from India, currently pursuing my master’s in writing and publishing to nurture my love for all forms of the English language. Also, for career progression, for an international education, for global exposure, for a better lifestyle, for several reasons, cliched and personal.

On my first day at university, I met a bunch of people. During a conversation, one of them—let us call them Jessie. Jessie is a Gen Z’er, who has lived with the Internet all their life, is well travelled, has lived through the #MeToo movement, has absolutely no excuse for not being woke—made a comment about Indian girls, how when you approach them for any reason, they shrink away from you assuming you’re trying to make a move, and continued to ponder why they do it, even when they “aren’t pretty”. Would you say this reaction to being rejected, in a way, says something about Jessie’s ego? Shaming a girl for not reacting the way you want her to is so my generation, not yours Jessie. Be better!

But hey, I shouldn’t judge someone based on one comment, I know. So, let me give you more context, and add more to this painting of Jessie.

India is a developing nation; a lot of people don’t have the education required to learn how to treat others with respect. So, Indian girls, like many other cultures of young women, are told to not talk to strangers, to be safe, to avoid putting themselves in any unknown situation. Mind you, they are told this every day. When I explained this to Jessie, they said, “Oh, I didn’t think of it from their perspective, I’m just sharing my experience.” Would you say this approach on understanding rejection says something about Jessie’s lack of empathy? Being ignorant toward your fellow humans’ experiences and living in your own bubble is, again, so my generation, Jessie. Be better!

Let’s complete that painting, shall we? At least, with everything I need to know about Jessie that allows me to realise that I don’t want to get to know them anymore.

After that first day, Jessie reached out to me over Instagram and asked me out for coffee. I said I didn’t want to be taken out for coffee as I just got out of a relationship. Persistently, Jessie continued to try to convince me that getting coffee is just that, getting coffee. I’ve gathered that, to many, asking someone out for coffee the universal expression of romantic interest, including me. And even if it isn’t, I’d said no. Finally, after a lot of back and forth, Jessie assured me that the hang-out was purely platonic and they don’t understand how I’d interpreted their offer. Would you say this response says something about Jessie’s inability to process rejection? Not understanding “no means no” is SO my generation, not yours Jessie. Please, just be better!

Now, let me tell you why Jessie really makes me want to go to a smash room.

All that generational trauma, fighting against societal misconceptions of religion, race and sex to legally be with the people we love, standing up against discrimination, struggling to find our morals among outdated traditions, carving a place for women in society, battling to love ourselves when everyone says compromise, sharing our traumatic experiences, showing out battle scars, paving a smoother path for future generations, people like Jessie are taking us back to square one.

Oy vey!

By Radha Sekar

Header Image via Joey Yu

Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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