Sunday, December 10, 2006

I am sorry I can't help having a right arm

I just went down the road from my house today to get change, sleepy , in a skirt and spaghetti. This woman saw me and said something to the effect of ' Shameless,vulgar,blasphemy'..I don't know exactly what but judging from her tone and facial expression -that.
I was so disheartened. Because of years of patriarchy blah blah it has become an unquestioned thing that women have to be apologetic about their body. People who I think are rational in every other aspect of life still don't find that weird.
R was saying that day that she hates stoles and dupattas because they are modesty garments. It is bizzare though isn't it that from the dupatta to the hijab , garments have evolved to shroud women's bodies and somewhat asexualize them.
I am not however saying that it is compulsory for supposedly progressive women to go about wearing as little as possible. The opposite stereotype also is true.For instance if I turn up in this extremely loose kurta I'd be said to look like a cow/old whatever.!
Also what is feminine or 'chicky' would automatically be associated with being 'ditsy' or blonde or whatever. That is because it is stereotypically feminine and hence that is dumb??!
Why ? It's just as simple about whatever you are comfortable with isn;t it. It is seemingly trivial but reflects a lot about societal attitudes.My maid always instructs me to not even go to the corner shop showing extra bits of arm or leg!
Now to talk about blank noise
What really is the point of randomly hanging out at the railings, being yourself, not fiddling about with your phone or bag but just standing around coz you want to.
It is so empowering to reverse the gaze, be unapologetic about yourself and that feeling transcends into daily life.

Once you've overcome physically shrouding your body 'protecting' yourself with your elbows and stoles when you navigate through crowded streets, I supposse you begin to shed the mental inhibitions too and start questioning gender stereotypes with more confidence.

One night at about 12. R and I walked into this really shady tea place called Kohinoor where they were shocked to see women so late at night confidently walking in. I really wouldn't have done that two years ago unless we had guys with us or something .
A bunch of women walking around in the middle of the night is not exactly sanity as many of our self appointed male protectors told us on our night walk.
Male spaces and times are so rigidly defined that to rebel against it is regarded as bizarre naivete.
'It's not practical yaar, night time , you know Bangalore na?'
Spaces like shady bars are so restricted to males and women would be labelled if they went to one of those.
I am also more confident about shedding euphemisms even if it means risking the wrath of my maybe fundamentalist male chauvinistic university exam corrector.


Photos from the blank noise blog


Ruchika said...

Reversing the gaze... yup, adopted that strategy many a times and mostly its been successful... and with a "what are you looking at?" question, the embarrassment or plain lack of answer is rewarding... hehe... though once I actually hit a guy who felt me up randomly at a shopping place.. that was pretty liberating! but sometimes I do get a little scared of going too far...

PritS said...


satyajit said...

Imagine all this in Bangalore..and then extrapolate to lesser cities, suburban and rural areas..

It's a choice between discretion and personal freedom...If something goes wrong, there'll be ways ppl shall invent in which you invited all of it.

Anonymous said...

Why cant men just learn to let the women be... not that ogling or staring is giving them a chance at anything they want..!! that is one facet of the "man brain" i have tried to decipher.. u see someone beautiful .. look appreciate and move the "f***" on... after all we;re programmed to look when we something nice.. BUT NO.. some believe persistent looking or following is going to get the girl to turn around and say.. "oh im so impressed now when can we go out on a date"....
Every time i have to walk any of my friends home or just go out with her since she wants to get a cuppa hot coffee at an unearthly hour... its like being stabbed and apainful reminder.. not because of the walk back all by myself after dropping her.. or for the rude awakening by the ringing telephone asking me to go with her... but for the fact that she cannot go alone anywhere.. for the hell that our kind has made it for them... the fear... is this the world we want??...!!
Why is it that men cannot let the women live in peace.. let her wear what she wants to... and go where she wants to.. some day.. i wish all the men in our collective humanity will learn to let them be...!!
and as for for the section of women who are dictating "codes of morality" when it comes to clothes.. well lets just say.. im sure the wearer is the best judge of what she wants to wear.. so let her be.. and men.. wht can i say..ahhhhh our kind should change the way we think... i havnt given up hope... "hope floats"....!! we were cavemen once but i think some men just never moved on from that era....

moonstruck said...

I have a bone to pick with you.

Anonymous said...

why do some women do this to others...this was hardly the case where she was warning you not dress like this out in the open (which is still somewhat understandable)...its really unfortunate...

Y? said...

@Ruchika: but what is too far when all you want to do is defend yourself?
@satyajit: why is it less in it because the stereotype of the 'good women' is not as strong as it would be in meerut or coimbatore
@moonstruck:pick here gojeeee
@jerry: yeah maybe even in that case it's understandable ..but randomly shaking me out of my sunday morning sleepiness!:)

satyajit said...

is it less in blore cos the ppl there are more accustomed to the sight of women in jeans, tanktops, whatever it is.. in coimbatore, ppl probably arent as mush ,and they wud more readily jump to their own conclusions..