There are somethings in life which never goes out of fashion, conveniently termed classics. Everyone loves them; that little black dress, your grandmothers old ring, roses, gifting chocolates etc. Always present in every era, always in vogue and never wrong.
Similarly, there are some concepts in life which have been there since long before your great-great grandfather was a fetus, one of them being — the concept of misconception. No matter how young or how old one is, how educated or how illiterate, from any corner of the universe, everyone loves to pet misconceptions.
Someone dense enough might retaliate back by saying everyone has the right to have an opinion. Might I clarify that ‘conception’ and ‘opinion’ are two very distinct and different things. Opinion is your point of view towards something, and the former is your awareness or perception.
Everyone in this world is allowed to have a belief or an outlook towards anything and everything to the point of invariability. That’s their choice after all.
And now come up the real topic, misconception. There again, one might say what does that matter to you, as it is their delusion and not yours. But let me once again explain to you that this beautiful redundant routine of fallacy if allowed to grow, becomes a belief and that’s where the problem lies. In the light of recent events, I’d like to give an example to explain myself further.
In one of Jamia’s Outreach Programme, a discussion was held, were three extremely talented (and very good-looking I might add) ‘contemporary’ writers came to talk about “Women gaze in popular culture.” [Link] The conversation was followed with questions asked by the audience to the panel of writers. The questions after the topic of discussion came down to the questions about the writers themselves. One of the major questions was their genre of writing, namely ‘chick-lit.’
Now note the fact that I haven’t specified the gender(s) of the writers. But as soon as I mentioned the genre, 90% of the people reading this, pictured female writers. Not that what they thought is wrong, they were, for a fact, three woman writers, but the verity that 90% of the people thought that on the basis of my mentioning the genre ‘chick-lit’ is wrong. That is exactly what one calls a misconception – The ‘belief’ that this genre of writing, i.e. chick-lit is clichéd the women’s department.
Who says men don’t write chick-lit? Like honestly, have you read Vikram Seth? And lots of other male writers whose name I won’t take just on the basis that I do not want to tag them as writers of only that specific genre.
Another question was about the mistaken belief regarding “Serious-fiction” Indian or rather sub-continental women author’s writing only limited to domestic life.
Honestly, are people that unsighted?
So putting my argument before you I would like to make you understand the repercussions that occur due to such fallacy. People might be reduced into believing things which are perpetually untrue leading to the unpopularity of something which might be worth much more.
One needs to understand that misconception is like a deadly disease that grows with stealth, and slowly obliterates a lot which might be worth conserving.
[Aisha Afaq Hasan is a graduate student in the department of English. She can be reached via email at: ayesha.afaq.hasan[at]gmail.com]