:::all things bright and beautiful:::


Hanging out... Down the street..

Me: ask me where I was last Saturday..
Imaginary Friend: where were you last Saturday?

M: on brigade road
IF:

M: I was just hanging out on the street by the railing, watching people go by.
IF: …and the point is…

M: well… how many women have you seen just standing around on the streets? Not soliciting, not waiting for a ‘somebody’ but just hanging out near the railings, just looking and being.
IF: now why would you want to do that!

M: to see what it felt like to own the streets, to assume power, to subtly change the whole atmosphere from male dominated to just a lot of people hanging out on the street, to make the men who try and take advantage of vulnerable girls on the streets feel that they may just have committed the worst blunder.
IF: and you think you achieved all that by just standing around and staring? That too just one evening…

M: yes to some small degree we did. We didn’t set out to eradicate harassment on the streets in one evening… we did however make some people think a lot about their attitudes, scared one or two men (men who deliberately stared, leched and harassed girls), and liberated ourselves.
IF: hurray for you. So what else did you do?

M: we walked without twisting and swerving on the pavement. We did not jump out of the way just because a man doesn’t want to change his path and doesn’t mind bumping in to a female form. We fought with a guy who had harassed one of our girls. Dealt with sentences like “This is India. Men will stare.” We attracted a lot of attention and opinions, which hopefully will stay in those people’s memories… it will certainly be an evening to remember for me!
IF: So what did you take away from that evening apart from the memories?

M: I learnt that a small group of 10 people can make an impact with just their eyes and presence. I learnt that the best way to deal with people who have something negative to say is to say is to hear them out and present your case as lucidly as possible. Sometimes though, a very aggressive approach is the only way you can make your voice heard. It is all about power play after all!

11 Responses to “Hanging out... Down the street..”

  1. # Blogger gullu

    my comment is not directly connected to the post, but very much related to the point made in the post.
    I am sure, you would have watched the coco-cola ad which is aired every 15minutes in a channel chosen at random. It actually promotes eve-teasing, and to top it all aishwarya rai comes back and gives tips on how to do it. A really pathetic ad. Am sure that instead of selling coke they just added the "umar hai solah.." comment to the dictionary of eve teasers. movies are no exception. every third movie made in india either has a rape scene or a road side romeo stalking a woman to prove his undying love. to point out a few, tamil heroes like simbu, dhanush etc thrive on such subjects..their movies invariably promote or encourage the road side romeos. I remember this movie called '7/g rainbow colony' were the main subject was how our dumbass rowdy hero wins a girl just by stalking and literally eve-teasing her. Wonder wot the hell was the creator thinking before making this movie. yes the movie had something sweet to say at the end but half the movie was in the negative side. Even an average educated man would never have seen the message but would have taken all the vice things from that movie. Humor in movies nowadays is only reading between lines. i mean the guys who make such humor grew up wathcing NS Krishnan and Chandrababu, making us laugh and read between lines for the hidden message to improve our society.I can point out n number of scenes how these two gems of tamil cinema were solely interested in improving our society to a better tommorrow.Watching the present day comedians i wonder, is this all they could get from their ancestors. All they try to do is infuse as many double meaning dialogues as possible in their humor.
    The point i am trying to make is, in a society like india where we make idols out of the silver screen, people who literally live the fictional picture being painted there, the creators must be more responsible on what they are portraying. The media is all gaga over banning smoking on screen which is pointless in my view, instead they could fight over banning rape scenes, rowdyism, blind superstitions, appealing to treat women with a little more respect and not just for skin show...which will take our country a step further towards the india as dreamed by Gandhiji.

    Sorry for taking so much space. All the best for your blanknoise project!  

  2. # Blogger sou

    Don't apologize for taking up space!!

    Ok i tried searching but i couldn't find that blog/post where the commenters had discussed this aishwarya ad. My take on it is .. that it is actually all about power play. In the ad the guy teases her.. but she has the power to turn back and give him as good as she gets. So just because they don't show her as a weak meek person, I don't find the ad very offensive. However, I do think they could have done away with it coz.. like you said, viewers might actually just go away taking just that new comment "umar hai sola" with them.

    yeah, movies *sigh* they are realllly a big factor in this. They make harrasing a girl on the streets a "normal" and "accepted" .. hell.. they even make it a "rewarded" behavior! And rape scenes!! god how they make my blood boil! why don't they just go buy p0rn? why sully a "family" movie with it! sheesh..

    (ok.. i need to take a deep breath..) :)  

  3. # Blogger gullu

    the coke ad is not from any post/blog...its my personal opinion...actually i dont know if there are other people who think this way about the ad.
    abt the women not entering the lift thing...even i was surprised to see such people...prolly they have their own reasons for doing so :)  

  4. # Blogger sou

    hehee.. no gullu i had previously seen a discussion about the coke ad on some blog/post.. since u brought it up in your comment i thought i could give a link to that coz it was a pretty interesting discussion. Still haven't found it.. and yes there are others who think what you said about the ad.. (me included.. partially)  

  5. # Blogger Naresh

    True that when you stand up and assume power, the world surrenders! Its always important to feel the confidence and take control of the situation to win it!
    Cheers to you!  

  6. # Blogger autogato

    ROCK ON, SOU! I love it! I've never see Indian movies, so cannot comment to them, but I think I would be angry if what gullu says is true about them - rape scenes and romeo stalking.

    But rock on for standing by the road! Way to empower!


    This is exactly what I needed today after becoming downtrodden about corporate America's image of women.

    Way to kick ass!  

  7. # Blogger KP

    studies revel men think abt sex every 11 min ,
    rape is sick , worst thing that can happen to a women
    but watching beauties walking down the street, no words to describe.
    why cant ppl stick to basic.
    instead, group of beautiful beings of this world go on a power trip,
    babe get a life  

  8. # Blogger sou

    @ naresh - hey thx.. most of all for understanding the post exactly how i meant it.

    @ autogato - yeah.. it's sad but true.. some Indian movies have such amazing trash in them. It is changing ... at snail's pace.. but it's changing...

    @ kp - what was that! I had to read your comment some 5-6 times before I could understand what you were trying to say. Anyway..

    "studies reveal men think abt sex every 11 min" hahaa.. which amazing scientific study / research paper did you get that one from.. and how does that even remotely relate to empowering women to walk on the streets with courage and dignity?!

    I'm glad you agree that rape is sick.. but we are trying to bring to public awareness that street harassment is sick too..

    I don't think staring can be neatly categorized as harassment on the streets.. hell.. even I stare at beautiful women.. coz they are beautiful (not coz i'm a lesbian) .. but there is a BIG difference between staring and staring disrespectfully. However, since it is not a black and white area, all we did was to try and help the women/ourselves learn to stare back. You still wanna call that goin on a power trip?!

    Last point I have to make.. staring is just one diddly li'l thing that we women have to put up with on the streets.. there are things far worse than that you probably wouldn't understand coz you are a guy and you mostly wouldn't have faced it. Don't debunk an entire issue just coz you can argue and defend one li'l grey area.  

  9. # Blogger Trauma Queen

    applauses to u soumy

    and for constantly keeping ur cool even when u meet "im an indian i can stare" type people on ur blog

    im very proud of u :)  

  10. # Blogger autogato

    Oh sou, you are correct. My latest posts have been colored with negativity. Uck uck uck. I don't like it either. Too much stressful stuff happening all at once! It's like I've got a Stressful Stuff Vortex, sucking stress right into my apartment! YARG! Do you have any suggestions on how to deal with stress? I need to get happy!!!!!!

    Additionally, as you said, there is some "trash" in Indian movies. Do you know a title that I might be able to rent here in the U.S. so I can watch it to see what kinds of things are in your movies? I'd like to see what kinds of images are presented in your culture about women. Do you have a recommendation?  

  11. # Blogger autogato

    I read about this at the Blank Noise Project blog. Again, I'm still in awe of what you all are doing. Please don't stop until the oppression ends!  

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