Blank Noise DedicationSo blank noise project is a team of energetic people who want to protest against sexual harrassment. Sometimes they even photograph offenders and put the photos on the web. Good work! Noble idea. Their message is actually different. They feel the word "eve teasing" is actually an euphemism which dignifies what is actually sexual harrasment. The web page was interesting because women all over India have basically poured in incidents from - all over India. Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi Madras - every place seems to try and better each other in hurting its women.
Unfortunately male bloggers have taken upon themselves to play the "i didn't steal his pencil teacher". Men reacting to women complain about eve teasing is funny. They suddenly become the voice of the world females population and say "how dare he? how can anybody do this?". And we'll see them talk and act like they lived through and know what the women's perspective is. Suddenly they'll get all moral and say "It happens like that in Mumbai. No way! I never knew about it" ( He'd say this after he personally laughed at 2 guys making fun of a girl in the morning train journey). The other popular routine is "I didnt know it affected you so much". The point is men do pass obscene comments at women. They is no point in pretending that this never happens. The issue is what should one do about it. What did I personally do about it? If the offending male is old/small or someone whom I can beat up, I'll probably try and do something. But if there are a group of boys who are thugs, I'll cooly walk the other way. I never pretended to be a courageous person and dont want to play that game either. I know that I'll certainly get beaten up if I raise my voice. I have had my share of stupidy standing up for justice (incident narrated below) and I know better than indulging in more of it. The only person who can save the girl from that point onwards is some undercover female police or the bus conductor.
I have some advice for Blank Noise. The point of the blank noise thing is that it should be more focussed on how to systematically internalize values in the society that such things do not happen. How do you knock sense into a boy who is 3rd year mechanical engineering but is so sexually repressed that he has to make comments at a girl who happens like wearing pants? I personally prefer violence to knock some sense into him - but then that is not realistic. If the blank noise team can come up with a clear implementable idea then they can consider themselves to have done a god job. And dont ask men not to ogle. That is not realistic. I ogle. Ogling is known to be the chief cause of love marriages. So that cant be a bad thing. It is the intrusion of personal space that seems to be the offending element there. If a thug passes a comment on a girl or pinches her breast, there is no accountability, no way for the girl to prove it happened. So in effect creating a deterrent for doing this is difficult. So this team needs to mull over what an effective deterrent could be? If punishment 9after the fact) route is ineffective how do you prevent? I am not sure how you can go to a village in Gujarat (which in my opinion is worse than any other place mentioned in blank noise) and teach somebody to behave well with girls. Can somebody contribute a bright idea to this cause? The point is instead of narrating personal incidents (which I am pretty sure some men will read it just for the sexual kick) or useless rhetorical threats (Some men do this - "kabardaar! if you do it I will come and protect my sister and rip your throat off" ) - people should come up with solutions that are realistic.
The other "things to think about in the future" for people like blank noise is - (1) To systematically act against "Vice-Chancellors" of institutions who design taliban like dress code for women (and men). This is the chief cause of many men being the idiots they are. And according to me these dress codes amount to sexual harrassment. (ii) Educating village men on marriage. In situations where the groom and the bride have never seen each other before marriage- having sex on the wedding night is tantamount to rape. Any non-profit group should teach such categories of people to encourage bride & groom to talk to each other before marriage (or) postpone having 'the sex' until they know each other very well. Without touching upon these two topics groups such as blank Noise would leave things half-done. They can start by catering to middle-class, rich girls who can already speak for themselves. But they should complete by helping women who dont even know what their rights are. Thats really stopping sexual harrasment.
I had written old piece on "sex and india". I will provide an excerpt from that as my contribution to blank noise project.
Hey! I drool at girls. Every man who walks abviously does. But there is a difference. "Looking" is different but commenting loudly is something else. It is bad, invasion of privacy, abuse, and should never be allowed. I think people down south TN are complete "pattikaadu". And this fact has been largely ignored because we feel some desparate urge to show support for people from villages and small towns. Now I can already see comments like "how can you say such things.. villages are the heart of India etc". Nobody has travelled around TN like I have. This topic is different from engineering entrance exams topic. So I suggest such people keep their patriotism to themselves and shut up their asses. People south of Madras are backward, primitive and barbaric. You disgaree? do this experiment. Send a very good looking girl(dressed in western outfits) out for a walk on the roads of madurai, trichy or thirunelveli. In less than 2 minutes you would notice everybody in the road staring at her, talking and smiling among themselves. In 10 minutes there will be 2 derogatory comments and a whistle. This is 100% true. Go to anywhere in TN you will get a 100 on 100 success. Even better make a boy & girl walk on the road holding hands you will almost see a riot. A girl wearing sleeveless, jeans or slightly western dress is a "sole" (prostitute). A girl who talks too much with guys is named "despo". I hope people from these parts are reading this. I desparately want to insult them.