Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Blank Noise Dedication

So 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.

I think 99% of people in India are "pattikaadu" (country bumpkins). For example Madras has its share of pattikaadu but the more south of Madras (and into south TN) you go the more pattikaadus you see. Seriously! While I have appreciated south-of-Madras folks for a lot of things, I have to say that they are pretty shitty when it comes to this topic. Madras isn't much different. Some 3 months before I went to Ooty with my family. In Pykara falls, there was a reasonably good looking girl (who had come with her parents) dressed in western outfit. It was nothing great. She wore a short-sleeve T-Shirt and jeans. Students from Sun College of Engineering & Technology ( Address Sun Nagar, Erachakulam Post Nagercoil, KanyaKumari District, Tamilnadu. Phone: 91-04652-26335 Chairman: C.Thayaparan, M.E. Trust: ACP Educational Trust, 10 Kalaimagal Street, Nagercoil - 629 0001: Call the college and curse the chairman for enrolling shameless students - these were students who visited Ooty in July 2005) had come for their class tour to Ooty. From the way they behaved on seeing this girl made me feel that these people had never seen good looking females before, leave alone females in jeans. They called her "thambi" ( which means 'brother' because in their retarded minds only men wear jeans) etc. They made funny noises until the girl and her family left in embarassment. They literally ganged up and harassed the girl. Even the most impotent tiny balls bastard in that group began to see an opportunity to show his manliness. In my view 99% of males from 15-25 in Tamil Nadu falls in this category. I went looking for a female police station so that they could book these people for "eve teasing". I shouted and called a couple of guys "bastards". I kept calling them that until it diverted the undersexed assoles and made them look at me. Two of those students got offended because I revealed their birth history to the general public and tried to pick a fight with me But alas! my father dragged me out of that place.

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


The.Grey.One said...

True Hawkeye !!!

What is needed is an effective solution and not some meloncholic (or titillating) stories from the affected females. And i also feel that having a too feministic attitude towards the issue wont help in addressing the real problem. It will help only in blaming the males & society, and will truly achieve nothing.

The real solution can be found only in reforming media, movies,(sex) education and culture as a whole.

- Murali

KS said...

Bravo Bharath!
U echoed reality when u spoke abt letting a girl in western clothes walk the streets in Madurai. U don't even have to wear western clothes. I have lived in Madurai for 5 years during my college years, in hostels & outside. U get teased and harassed even if u wear salwar kameezes that fit u right. Because the rest of the population wears clothes as though hung from a clothes line. For a first year, not instituted into the unwritten rules of Madurai Society, it was very demeaning to be harassed and gossiped about just for wearing what suits me fine. The written rules fared no better. Thiagarajar College of Education, one of the premier institutions and a dote one college specifies that girl students should not wear sleeveless and should pin their dupattas on either side! Bah! Five years of such forced discipline and when I passed out I felt so self conscious & naked without a dupatta. It has taken another 2 yrs & relocating to another country to get rid of that mindset.

These things may appear trivial. But on an everyday basis it is the expression of the mindset of a society that is not moving with the times - that still believes in keeping their women in the dark in order to keep the astray male in check!

The buses are the worst. The worst of the lot who harass are not the students. It is the middle aged men from the so-called middle classes. It is very true what u say - that the men in villages need to be educated on sex and respecting women. I should add that women should be educated too in order to even realise that their freedom is being clamped! Because harassment apart, many of the girls I studied with would not even have given a second thought to the rules that dictated their dress code! It was taken for granted.

Also true - sex on the night of marriage is rape! That experience which is so uplifting and beautiful is more often than not turned into an experience to be feared and resented by these first night rapes. The women only think of it as a duty to please their husbands & have babies - a pain they have to go through, no matter what. If only they(both men & women) could be made aware of how much more love-making could offer, they wouldnt want to do it wham-bham at the first opportunity.

And most importantly it wil make them realise that the pervert pleasure of touching an unknown female in a bus for just a few seconds is worth giving up for the indescribable pleasure of making love to your wife at home with a clear conscience.


Great blog

Casement said...

"People south of Madras are backward, primitive and barbaric."
I share this opinion too! If metropolitan Chennai could be barbaric, I wouldn't be surprised about Madurai being so.

You've made sensible suggestion abt making the vice chancelors aware of their stupidity and educating men in the rural areas. Another possible solution to this could come from good parenting, which includes educating the child on sexual harassment and its consequences, encouraging healthy relationship between the two sexes etc.

Revathi R said...

Yes Bharath.. But this incident can be categorised as an 'adolescent' behaviour - of course this needs to be curbed- when such things happen to a 40 plus woman in a decent music hall... Just imagine! That was not when wearing a jeans, but in an ethnic salwar suit!

So dress is not the 'code' here. All the guys in good colleges now are pass outs from a good co-education schools! Does the college give them the 'freedom', which they were 'deprived of' at school years!

ashok said...

the most sensible writeup i ve read so far on this topic...u hit the nail on the head Barath...

anantha said...

All the guys in good colleges now are pass outs from a good co-education schools!

Revathi: You will be surprised to hear how many of those aren't! And even if its a co-ed school, it might only be Chennai/Coimbatore and in some levels Madurai that have a good level of interaction between the sexes during the teenage phase.

Anonymous said...

Brave attempt!!Anywhere you go,woman has to protect herself.She should be educated towards that.Some tips here, I have used 20 years before which I believe still any one can use.While travelling always keep "pepper spray,Red chilli in a small pack, big sharp safety pins to poke the leg or hand that comes behind you to tease and keep your hand bag heavy so you can hit anyone just by swinging it.
I have noticed onething common for these teasers,they think twice if they see a woman or a girl with her head up and looking straight in their eyes with a big frown on her lips and anger in her eyes, they tease her. Do not fear to give them a slap on their face(heavy hand bag comes handy here).
Thanks,blog hopped here.Nice one you have.Best wishes...Passerby.

Anonymous said...

Hey!!You are set to humiliate all the southies.We are not at all bad.What is wrong in asking you guys to walk NOT hand-in hand, and to wear proper dress covering all your assets.Do you think it will be so cool to wear tightly clad dress and holding your GF/BF hand roaming in the public,Mavane!,Modern thinking irukkalam,but there should be some limit.Theruvil pogum podhu azhaga decent -a pogannumnu sonna thappa?Asingama,eda kodama pannalum kandukkadhenga solluradhu niyayama?

Senthil said...

What is wrong in asking you guys to walk NOT hand-in hand, and to wear proper dress covering all your assets

Theruvil pogum podhu azhaga decent -a pogannumnu sonna thappa?

ithellam solrathukku nee yaaruda - paradesi nayee.

Are you buying the dress for me or are you feeding me? - Who are you to tell me what to wear? i dont understand this. u are educated enough to surf the net - but stupid enough to talk like this. this contradiction is the problem blank noise is blogging about.

Senthil said...

What is wrong in asking you guys to walk NOT hand-in hand, and to wear proper dress covering all your assets

Theruvil pogum podhu azhaga decent -a pogannumnu sonna thappa?

ithellam solrathukku nee yaaruda - paradesi nayee.

Are you buying the dress for me or are you feeding me? - Who are you to tell me what to wear? i dont understand this. u are educated enough to surf the net - but stupid enough to talk like this. this contradiction is the problem blank noise is blogging about.

ashokan said...

i agree with u completely bharath.
Some self finanacing engg colleges in chennai are no better.
four years inb the same class and u MUST NOT speak to the other sex.
Can any thing be more barbaric than this.
ppl suffer tortures like days of standing in the sun or hefty fines for talking to girls.
truly, these ba****** also need to be educated.

Shiva said...

Just curious.. do students of a college in Nagercoil or Madras need to be a native of that particuluar place.. ? You have countless instances of ppl from south tamil nadu studying at chennai and vice versa...

Thalai Ezhuthu said...

Eppo ivanunga ellaraiyum sex educate panni, eppo colleges ellam thiruthi, eppo girls ellam innum confident and strong aaki, eppo Policekaaranunga ellam uruputtu,...! Ennatha solla?

Arvind said...

somebody has said it already but i will say it again. this is one of the most sensible posts i have read on this subject.

on a different note, i think your older post on Rajni vs Kamal which i read around a month ago is among the best of your posts. In general i frequent this blog, but i thought i had to post a comment after reading this particular post... after coming across mostly testimonials and anecdotes all the while.


MGalBlue said...

Bravo, Bharath!!! Being an Indian girl, I know exactly what you are talking about. Well its just not the case in Southern cities, but this phenomena exists every where in India even in Delhi.
And I don't think I blame men completel for this.I think we, women, need to share the blame too. We don't ever encourage our sisters or friends to wear what they want. My attitude to all this crap is that I don't care what people talk about me. I do mything. And this helps me ignore all those oogling eyes. If only women were so confident, men wouldn't derive so much pleasure out of eve teasing. If every one starts to wear short leeves, pretty soon men would become so accustomed to seeing some skin, that it would not be worth commenting. Just my way of solving things.

ada-paavi!!!! said...

very true, except i would add aywhere in rural india, outside the metros, not just tamil nadu

Anand said...

hmm..interesting piece hawkeye!
However the big Q still remains...yes we all need to provide solutions but what are the options?
Completely agree that you cant stop men from leching-however key is how do you ensure they dont cross the line!
One way is to actually treat this in some form right from schools itself-more like a off-beat counsellign subject to help men understand and appreciate the self-respect of women!
It needs to start right from the very beginning and cannot be instilled when the kid reaches an age where he has these urges!

tilotamma said...

OK - so your point is if we can't do somehting about something we should just shut the f... up?

One could say about Indian cricket too over which we have endless debates right?

anantha said...

Tilo: YES, We have endless "debates" about Indian cricket. We take a stand and will tell you that Saurav's inclusion is all that India needs to win. It is that specific and in most cases PRACTICAL! So, a debate is where two (or more) people give you solutions that vary across the spectrum. But, IMHO, in this case, as someone said somewhere, we have been reading testimonials without major exercises in providing solutions. What difference would such an exercise make if the solutions to eradicate the problem discussed were not put forth. And ya, some solutions were put forth, but the majority (for example, castration) are not compatible with the Indian democracy which unfortunately (in some cases) frowns on the "eye for an eye" logic!
And again, if testimonials were what people wanted to provide as part of this project, it would have been better served if whoever put forth the idea and framed up guidelines had put a line that advised posters to disable comments. That way, the whole exercise would stayed focussed! By enabling comments, most discussions got aligned along the lines of the commentor's sex. And that turned out ugly in some places. I am not being sexist (those who know me, know me well enough not to make that assumption), but sometimes opinions of the kind mentioned by some of the commentors/bloggers is way to much for me to take, because I like to avoid cliches and cliches is what everything seems to be!

Anonymous said...

" I am not being sexist (those who know me, know me well enough not to make that assumption)"

Anti ...my help?? :)


anantha said...

Prabhu: Go ahead machi! The world needs to know.. :p
btw Prabhu, fyi, my phone number changed....3 weeks ago! But onnaku edhukku adhellam. Nee dhan eppome india call la irrukara aal aache!

capriciously_me said...

anti & others, the whole deal is about creating awareness...A-W-A-R-E-N-E-S-S....y is that so hard to get? even i did not know that so many of them were affected by it!! & fyi, there are some problems that have simple solutions...u dont need an elaborate debate for ppl to know right from wrong...i expect ppl to know that murder/harassment is wrong etc etc! so, i believe that these issues dont need any solutions from us...now, there are a lot of 19 somethings (reading these blogs) who think that its really cool to pass comments on girls in the busstop & all...this is an opportunity to tell them that unfortunately, for us, its not so cool afterall! its all about awareness!

anantha said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Anti: BTW, how long are you gonna f*ck TMobile? Podhum da ..

Vera post ezhudardhu ..


anantha said...

CM: I understand that. But by inviting comments and replying to them diligently (and stating the same obvious thing that you state in your comments) sorta builds up a us versus them angle there. I hate cliches and don't have to be forced to give constructive opinion just because someone seems to take my silence as a sign of guilt. And I am not going to repeat that cliche here by saying that I am not to blame (shit.. i just said that!), cos indirectly, by standing silently a few meters away when 20 guys rape a gal with their eyes (when its one, its admiration, but when 20 do the same thing at the same time, it is definitely akin to rape) I am just as guilty as they are. And even if you, as a gal, feel otherwise, nothing is goign to change, cos I have felt that myself already.
So CM, tell us whats going on, but dont expect us to comment, because some of us are embarassed and some of us are guilty. And dont tell me, like some have said that you dont want to hear anything from me, because within the 10th comment (from a gal that is), I found talk going to the silent men who read it and dont say anything. Because if those men have to say something, it cannot be anything but a cliche. And saying so aint gonna change anything, because even by thinking about saying something you have acheived your point. So all you had to do was to post and close comments. I have said this again and again and again.
And I know I dont make sense and I dont want you to react. I am just creating AWARENESS myself!

Anonymous said...

hi ppl,

im from bombay/mumbai and what the lady describes is true there too. Seems to me that the root cause of this is the fact that most men do not see women as another person equal to themselves. Just an object of gratification. The other complimentary cause of this situation is the fact that most ppl, male or female, do not bother to weigh their actions from the other person's perspective. both of these put together gives you unfeeling unthinking males with suppressed libidos reacting.

One way to rectify this problem would be for our society to encourage healthy interaction between the sexes. this is something that is starting to happen in the cities and will take some time elsewhere.

hope we start looking into ourselves and the ppl we affect before cursing those we do not know.

Changing society starts with changing myself..

Wishing our society the very best of progressive thought

capriciously_me said...

anti, i agree....a more effective way wud have been to close comments...i personally dont like arguing abt such personal experiences...so, no comments wud have been gud...

but, a gesture from u guys like
wud have also been nice...not that its immediately gonna make this world a better place but just makes us feel better to know we have support and u wanna do something abt it too...& plz lets not focus on the past...its all abt the future...even if it helps some guy reading this to tell his younger cousin not to be a jerk wud help! sorry hawkeye! dint mean to steal ur comment space!

anantha said...

CM: Trust me, there are so many who feel the same way. Personally, I am as cynical as they come. I think my spouting cliches will not do anything. I can understand why Blank Noise is important. But I certainly don't think my reacting to it with a post of my own will not do anything. Because it has been well established even before this project that some guys are jerks and some guys cringe at the sight of such behaviour. You know that and I know that. But if a post will make a difference, I will do so, but not now. I will do as and when I want, probably 2 months from now when this Blank Noise will fade away from everyone's mind except yours and mine if we continue to talk this over till then. That way, I will REALLY make a differnce to keep this issue alive and it certainly needs to be kept alive!

Anonymous said...

i came across ur blog while searchin for a freind's.. n guess wt..read 3 of ur posts alredy n planning to read them all by eod.. Neat work dude..
About Blanknoise.. Its a gud start.. girls shud know wt hppns outside their house and how to avoid it..
My personal take.. slap the bastard or yell loudly so all uncles-auntis can remove their frustration on the dude n u can just slip away smiling :)

tilotamma said...

enna HE allaia kannum?

Hawkeye said...


i have not yer gone from "ik-karai" to "ak-karai" - so i will be AWOL for some time.

to reply to your comment.

/* OK - so your point is if we can't do somehting about something we should just shut the f... up?

One could say about Indian cricket too over which we have endless debates right?


1. you *should* do something about something

2. your cricket analogy has a logical flaw. Think of who is 1st person 2nd person in the cricket analogy and compare it with 1st person, 2nd person in "eve teasing". for example how would you feel if Tendulkar and Dravid spoke at length as to how they got out instead of planning to do something about it.

cerisecarnations said...

This is Gayatri(akshay's friend)..i am leaving a comment to make my presence felt.

Anonymous said...

nice one.btw r u the bharathram who did ur undergrad in singapore?

d_grail said...

its good 2 seesomeone call a spade by its name..although am sure you will be in firing rage for sometime..keep writing!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Hawkeye,

Gud to know how u feel abt this. But I beg to differ abt ur views on TN or Chennai. It goes like this....A gal with a sleeveless top and tight jeans may be well dressed /decently dressed as far as u r concerned. Assume a gal walking around in a bikini..well u might not say th e same abt that now, u wud wish she dresses herself decently[ fo r that matter u may not allow ur sis[cousin] to wear it around nor u will be comfy if they com around like dat b4 ur friends since ur code of accepted level of decency is offended. Now take the case of a guy in US working as an actor in Hollywood, he wud differ wid ur views and say "Wat is so indecent abt coming out in a bikini?!" He may sneer at u for considering this- indecent or atleast nonacceptable dress sense for a modest woman. Now dear friend an Indian gal clad in a normal long skirt walks in a Gulf country without a Burkha- a male well wisher of hers in that country will insist she wear a Burkha since that is :completely/modestly dressed" as per his acceptable stds of decent dressing. So dear friend, U or I CANNOT DEFINE THESE,Just like food, movies, perfume...what is acceptable stds of decency differs from ppl to ppl, culture to culture. SO STOP CALLING ANY PLACE PRIMITIVE OR CONSERVATIVE since each place has a culture of its own."Be a Roman in Rome" wud be best acceptable for ppl. to choose and wear their Dress. Hope I was able to throw a better light on ur attitude of DEFINING PPL/PLACES since dear friend, each one has their view influenced by socio-economic-cultural factors and U AND I cannot condemn them. OF COURSE BRUTALITY/HARM TO ANYONE ANYPLACE SHOULD BE PROTESTED AGAINST But ppl. are free to hold their Opinion WHICH just Does not Deserved to b criticised.!!! And sexual harassment happens anywhere including Western Countries where Women are Supposed ot have more Freedom, Ironically teh Rape % is higher there compared to moderate countries like India!

Anonymous said...

The anonymous commenter logged on Thursday, April 27, 2006 9:23:36 PM has HIT it right.i fully agree with him in that its a matter of pesonal choice as how to see things. Its not that i am endorsing ogling but i simply like to say that insisting only S. indians are pattikaatans is misleading. I stayed for couple of years in a premier institute in N.India (supposed to be best among the 5 of the same name but not in a metro) and can tell the frustrations of the youth there. They are not pattikaatans but the cream of india which as i can see from this post none of you are. (Cos if u had been there u would have commented it in this blog as how these guys are also like others).It was my first time to see guys gossiping about girls ALL time. Back to the point,dont blame on a particular people cos its generic..As for women, even though you knew pattikattaans are out there y u deliberately go for it knowing of all the consequences..i cant comprehend this.