Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sluts are us!

I avoid writing about issues being discussed in the media and at large. I am simply scared of voicing my opinion. I hate being wrong and hate being told so. More than that, I hate sounding pretentious. However, this issue has annoyed me for far too long to not write this. For those in India reading this will assume this is about Anna Hazare (and rightly so!). But no. This piece is to air my opinions on the possibilities of Slutwalks in Mumbai and Bangalore. And obviously the debate around the Delhi one.
I have read so many pieces, pro and against the slut walk that I now know with no doubt what my stand is. My darling sister, Pratham showed me a video that made me realise how silly I am being for not saying what I feel. So here goes:

Why I think Slutwalks are important..
It is essential for everyone to know and understand that eve-teasing is not part of our imagination. It has happened to most women, some men, various number of times. I have been teased or groped on the streets (or buses) in attires where you would have to guess if I had any breasts. I have been lucky to have only been groped. Lucky I say cause nothing else has happened yet. Despite it never being my fault, I have felt for most of my life that I attracted that 'unwanted attention'. I want to stop feeling like that. Reason number 1: Women and men need to talk about harassment of all kinds seriously. They must raise their voices about it. Together. We shouldn't, needn't be ashamed or afraid to say 'it has happened to me'.
The statistics about rape in India will alarm anyone. Even the educated. But honestly, how many report it? Not all for sure. It is still regarded as shameful, don't forget that. Things are changing and more have come forward to talk bravely of their experiences. But unless we are bold enough to discuss rape openly, it is surely not going to end or reduce. After all, anything taboo seems more alluring it is said. But, most women don't bring it up to avoid the attention they receive hence forth. To get a sneak peek into what could possibly be the life after rape of a victim, read this post by a blogger. What comes when the worst is overReason number 2: The women and men walking are willing to discuss the issues at hand and in detail. And will continue to do so. They will assert their opinions as the issue is one of importance to them.
The debate during the Delhi walk focused on the word 'Slut'. This I feel totally avoided the bigger picture (trust the media to find a way to always miss the point). By making a big deal of it, the point of the 'Slutwalk' was reduced to 'Shhh. Don't say slut, it is a bad word'. Forgetting the original point behind the walk to remove all such notions.
Here I would like to paint you a picture. I have what they call a night shift in the media organisation, a sub-editor's job. So, I leave work usually after 12. Since I joined, I have always been dropped home first in the car drop we have. Out of the blue, one of the women wanted to be dropped first for the past week or so. So we changed our route. This meant I would be dropped last. I must admit I was scared. I had my phone in hand and had pre-dialed the number of one of my colleagues. Nothing did happen. But I still clutch my phone dearly and cannot even enjoy the beautiful silence enveloping the city at that hour. I don't dress provocatively to work so I had nothing to worry about eh?! The driver just had to be a man, that frightened me enough. I just want to not have to be scared to be alone in a car with a strange man. That isn't too much to ask is it? Reason number 3: If 'Slutwalks' mean we will continue to discuss the issue of harassment and not pretend its nothing or hush it up, then I am fine with that. I might be a fool to hope this, but I hope for the day that I don't have to live in fear like this. Always playing the worst scenarios in my head. Just for that, I want to walk in any of the 'Slutwalks' to happen. I will walk with my head held high too. I encourage all those interested to look beyond everything else and march with style in the 'Slutwalks' to come. I think the cause is definitely worth fighting for.

I will leave you with a few interesting links:

  • An article by Nandita Das- The sound of silence 
  • A post by my darling sister on the same topic. It is well linked so do read all the links she provides.
  • Finally, the video I was talking about earlier. A hilarious talk by a lady stand-up comedian.

                 Luce Tomlin- Brenner- Slutwalk DC 2011 via Slutty Feminist



20 comments:

Chintan said...

hmm....i somehow objected the idea of slut walk, well because i have lived in north india most of my life and then south india and both places are so different! the men i have from north india would never change their opinion based on slut walks, the men from south india, well they i think are so much better though i was teased by north indians in south too....i know its not a story about north/south, it is about india...but the point i was trying to make, some men are bags of crap who smell no matter what perfume you use on them...

http://chintangupta.blogspot.com/2011/07/and-sluts-walk.html

here's what i had to say, self-defense is what may make more sense in india, than walking on streets...indian men (at least the ones we want to teach a lesson) won't learn by walks....

:) and dearr dahling, you are in to media, and a blogger!! you must always voice your opinion xx <3

Chintan said...

sigh, the men i have known from north india, not the men I HAVE, what was i thinking...typo!

Psych Babbler™ said...

I agree with your points. The slutwalk world over was a brilliant idea in that it attempted to change the definition of the word as well as educate people over and over that what women wear is not the issue! You have outlined your thoughts very clearly.

P.S. Why do you shy from commenting what's in the media? Everyone has an opinion...go for it! There are always going to be one or two people who are going to disagree with you but that shouldn't stop you from voicing your thoughts... :)

Priyanka said...

Though I'm all FOR being able to feel safe at night, I don't feel that in the Indian context Slutwalks will do much to change perspectives.
While I was excited about the prospect in the beginning, after I read the comments posted on the Slutwalk FB page, I was disgusted and put off. No great changes in attitude I'll expect.

But the idea itself is applaudable for we NEED to get down the numbers in crimes against women. Not because it'll scare people but because each number is a woman, a mother, sister and wife, just like you and me. And that's what makes me sad and pissed off at the same time.

Srinidhi said...

@chintan:You are right in terms that a movement will not change the entire situation. This movement I felt helped women break away from their fears and voice the traumas they have been through. We talk too little about this issue. And movements like this put focus on the issue. :) Sometimes thats enough to help change a few peoples lives. :) Thanks of course for dropping by :)

@psych Blabber: Thank you for dropping by and your warm comment. :) Thats why I am for such a movement.:) I think it makes sense to talk more about it. :)

@Priyanka: Exactly no? We have reduced all discussion of rape and harassment to numbers. This movement brings the importance of discourse forward. I just think any reason to talk about these issues is a good reason. :) Disgusting men are far too many. Hopefully, there are as many brave women to counter it. :) Thank you for dropping by :)

Prathm said...

The SLUT WALK is mistakenly thought to target ONLY men. It is also and probably more so for women, it is to change the message that there is anything such as "dressing provocatively".
Only the perpetrator is to blame, it is NOT the fault of the victim.

The SLUTWALK is the beginning of a self defence class, it happens to all women and when you know that you feel more safe to react and not quietly bear the harassment!

And when men on the street get punched by women they harass and when police stations are bombarded with complaints from harassed, assaulted women, then may be it will begin to make a dent. Till then As Slutty Feminist says Walking will never go out of style.

Kunnu said...

Hi,

I am a male..so trust me..when I say this...some men are difficult to change, their perceptions of women as a commodity and something to be taken advantage of...is probably not going to change due to slutwalk...and men with ideals, educated..who understand that women deserve respect as every human does...well..will still be same...For raising awareness among all classes of society and to encourage people to come up and speak, Slutwalk is a fine initiative...and deserves support...it is a movement to increase awareness and asks for a rightful place in society for women...arguing on the name of the walk..is just plain non sense...

And by the way..I am not in India..still I thought this post is going to be about Mr Hazare. :)

I have still to catch up on the links which you gave..

Kunal

Sindu said...

Hi Srinidhi,
Writing here for the first time. Interestingly, a post on the same got saved in my drafts folder last night. The main point of Slutwalks is to prove that rapes are not triggered by how we are dressed. It is against the mentality of blaming the victim for having brought it against herself rather than the rapist. This cause, I wholeheartedly support.

This cause slowly evolved to encompass another statement - Freedom of Expression of Sexuality because it is true that we will continue to be harassed whether or not we wear skin fitting clothing, as you said.

However, walking on the streets is, IMO, not going to change attitudes. It could, at the max., only prove the point that we will not sit like lame ducks, tolerating silly notions.

Parth Jhala said...

Insightful and completely agreeable! Like Kunal above me said, as much as I would like to believe in the contrary, there are men that this wont have any effect on. I am hoping it does. That the slutwalk sends them on a trip of introspection. And if even a few of them view women differently it would have done its job. Such innovative campaigns must be supported if we really care about making our streets safe for our women! :)

Red Handed said...

We say nonono when men walk around us in underwear and then we do the same and when they dont flinch but approve of it and drool, we call them despos. Dint we start it first? I am not asking to wear a mask and astro suit and walk around but the way of fighting against wht the Policeman said and to reduce rape...i find this not to be the proper method. Maybe i am wrong.
You have every right to put forward your expression and if anyone objects, come to me, we shall sue them! :P

D!! said...

Agree with you on all counts babe! I remember not listening to music while i walked on the road because i felt i would not hear someone walk up behind me! its a free country supposedly..so wheres my freedom i wonder!!

T.M.Naresh said...

I would like to first congratulate you for being
bold enough to take this subject and let me tell you that you handled it very nicely.
Hope to see you writing more on such subjects in the future as well,as of now...WELL DONE!

Ananya said...

I somehow have lost all my opinions.. a part of me is dead.. sometimes I feel if am more happy in my world of daydreams and fairy tales where I don't get to learn that a 10 year old girl has been raped and murdered..

Srinidhi, glad that you gathered up courage to vocal your thoughts!!

Srinidhi said...

@Pratham: I agree with you. Thank you for dropping by :)

@kunnu: The walk alone is not going to change anything. But it is a start for women and men to voice that they will no longer put up with it :)

@Sindu: Welcome to my blog :) Thank you for reading. You should post it. This one was in my drafts for ages. :) But as being troubled by it, we should write about it. At least. Agreed that it could at least voice our opinions. :)

@Paarth: Thanks for reading. Yes. Lets hope for more such movements :)

@Red: I agree that the walk alone wont change anything. But unless we talk about rape or how common it is, will it ever change? :) Thats just my thought. :)

@D!!: Thanks babe :) I know what you mean. It is very freaky.

@Tm Naresh: Thank you so much for visiting and your compliments. :) Keep visiting :)

@Ananya: Welcome to my blog :) I know what you mean. The emotions get zapped out of me too sometimes. Keep visiting :) Thanks :)

♫♪♥PhilO♥♪♫ said...

This is a topic everyone needs to discuss.
(some) men won't change their perceptions and yes, I totally agree that women must come up and give out their views. And they must stop being scared!
"Remove the 'R' from F'r'ight. We must FIGHT against eve teasing!"
Loved the post :)
Keep it up!

Rishika Sharma said...

nicely written :)

KN. said...

Well that was something I might wanted to talk about for long too, but as you said, I find it hard to be objected over my opinions. Indeed men and women are needed to sort out this matter in the most beneficial form.
But what about human nature?
It's not like awareness has not be promoted. It's not like people have not been told about the pros and cons of Slutwalk or walking with high heels and half t-shirts. It's just that women is an object to remain hidden. Her beauty is indeed an asset and her body is a treasure men long for.
It's different for men though. They, if slutwalk they won't be objected since, they rule us. In the matter of physical strength. So i would just say that patience is virtue and awareness is handy. What we, women need to do is to stop giving them chances to be magnetized to us. And that can be done to some level by being a bit careful in our clothing and actions. :)

Anu Krishnan said...

Every woman has at least one incident of molestation to talk about; I don't understand why people think it's a part of life; men cannot keep their urges under control, and women are supposed to accept that? I totally support the cause!

♥●• Izdiher·•●♥ said...

I can not disagree with you .Every point you raised has some logic. Well written post .

Follow each other .

j. littlejohn said...

slutwalk... i'd never even heard this term before. thanks for sharing about the sensitive subject