- Nov 8, 2017
While Indians – and particularly the insufferable Bengalis – were celebrating Abhijit Banerjee’s Nobel Prize for Economics, an old article written by the Nobel Laureate surfaced which shows that he has some rather problematic views on sex and rape. The article was written in October 2012 for...
Dude is an economist and clearly knows his shit about inequality. And yetIn an article for HT in 2012, he wrote: “I don’t always agree with Mamata Banerjee but I don’t see what’s so bizarre (as the headline of the India Blooms news story reporting on her statement insists) about her suggestion that the recent rash of rapes in India has something to do with public displays of intimacy far more graphic than the one that so upset me.
There are few forces more powerful than sexual desire and few forms of inequality more palpable than inequality of access to sex: all the rich guys, to a first approximation, get all the pretty girls, at least if pretty is what Bollywood (or Hollywood) tells us it should be.”
He went to write: “Having that inequality being thrown at your face, day in and day out, by a language of the body that leaves little to the imagination, cannot possibly be pleasant if you happen to be on the wrong side of that divide.”
While explicitly arguing that he wasn’t ‘defending rape’, he wrote: “But it highlights the fact that there are more forms of inequality to worry about than just money.”
"REEEEEEEEEE women don't owe you sex evil INKWELL!!!"Unsurprisingly, Banerjee’s piece never ponders about women at all, as if their sexual desires or consent has no bearing at all. On the other hand, his argument about the ‘inequality of access to sex’, sounds terribly like the arguments found on incel reddit threads in which ‘involuntary celibates’ believe that women own men sex and that it’s a fundamental right.
Perhaps the key takeaway is that no matter how far a man has reached or studied, the deeply ingrained views of misogyny and patriarchy are cultural mores that don’t always go away.