LawSikho, is a “leading online education company that creates advanced and practical legal courses”, as per its web page. They recently hosted a webinar on “How can busy professionals have a dating life”. The hosting was done for sole viewing purposes of “men”. This communicates that apparently either women aren’t professionals or simply never busy enough.
Absurd Justifications by the Hosts
This was later justified by the guest speaker, a self-styled “Love Guru” and “dating expert” Mr. Kshitij Sehrawat by claiming “it is always men who ask out women and hardly the other way round”. To his credentials, he claims to have “field experience” with women, a portal he runs called “Iron man lifestyle”. He charges a sum of 15,000/- to teach men to talk to “the cute girl you see in class every day”. In addition to this, his recent tweets range from “drunk South Delhi girls on Indians Vs Foreigners”. Also, how men looking for dates should see themselves as “car buyers”. Therefore, aspire to buy a Mercedes/BMW and not a Maruti.
The Beginning of the Controversy
On top of that, we have, CEO of LawSikho, Mr. Ramanuj Mukherjee, allegedly a moderator who hastily transformed himself into a co-speaker. Consequently, taking it upon himself to qualify the degree of sexism in the content of this webinar.
The webinar was supposed to help balance work-life stress along with dating as a law professional. But altogether, quickly degraded into basic tips on how to ‘get women’. Mr. Sehrawat continued droning on and on about how men must aim to be alpha males. He advised to not care about grades since women like men who are into sports. Further, he says how men must be funny to attract women. Since this wasn’t enough, he says how women are like football where the more you play, the better you get.
Sehrawat perpetuated the notion that to “get women”, men must be alpha males. In that case, a woman is to be seen as a quest and dating as a game. Shockingly he says that men shouldn’t ask women for advice, as women clearly do not know what other women want. To make matters worse, he used an analogy of “bread”. Those men should “close the deal” within 3-4 days, or else the “bread” becomes stale to hint at the fizzling out of attraction.
A Female Student Speaks up
What actually managed to still steal the despicable show was a student. A young student of Jindal Global Law School, Avanti chose to speak up. She let them know that they owed a responsibility to young men. That firstly, they cannot perpetuate sexist notions. Secondly, they cannot objectify women. Thirdly, the content being discussed needs to be checked.
Sadly, instead of correcting themselves, the moderator kept interrupting her. They kept demanding she complete her accusation but kept cutting her off repeatedly.
Naturally, when Avanti had had enough of these two, she requested he cut her off if they had no intention of letting a dialogue take place. Unfortunately, the men did. They began mansplaining sexism. Despondently, they say about how she had no grounds to call them out long after she had been cut off.
Upon the controversy, numerous students, legal professionals and lawyers called out LawSikho and demanded an apology. This, their Facebook page updated their status stating that they apologized for the harm that was generated. They also apologised for suppressing Avanti’s voice.
The shocking “Bois Locker Room” incident is still fresh, and everyone is still recovering from it. Not long enough, and this incident emerges. We should see the underlying issues persisting in our society. A bigger question is, “what business does a legal online education site have in hosting a dating webinar in the first place?”. We notice how such frequent incidents point to deep underlying issues of misogyny and rape culture.
At the very least, the bare minimum we can expect from an organization that is allegedly training the future lawyers of our country is that it would stand against objectification and respect the concept of consent, much less perpetuate these ideals.
When social media posts of Sehrawat treating women as tchochke exists on a public platform, it is implied that he advocates objectification. If a legal education organization claims that it did not know of his leanings, then it did not fulfil its due diligence obligations. Whereas if it did possess knowledge of these, and still hosted him, then the organization even more alarmingly can be assumed to be proponents of such narrow thinking.
These are difficult conversations that need to be had and instead of dissuading those who initiate these we should be encouraging them. We need to stop absolving individuals and enterprises that propagate such a sexist and toxic culture for both women and men alike since such ideas have extremely far-reaching consequences. We as part of the legal fraternity should be holding ourselves to a higher standard and reflect on how troublesome the most innocuous ideas end up being if we don’t check ourselves.