BLANK NOISE HYDERABAD: DISPERSING TESTIMONIALS
Blank Noise Hyderabad Team participants for the first public intervention included
1. Ratna- also from Blank Noise Blore
photos by Uday and Ambrish
Blank Noise Hyderabad intervened at Eat Street and an open ground adjacent to it, by giving random strangers letters. These letters contained blogger's testimonials of eve teasing (from the blogathon).
A more detailed account from email extracts:
Blank Noise Hyderabad met at 5.00 p .m at ES, began working on folding the letters etc. Later we found out that the ES security guards weren't going to allow us to distribute pamphlets even on the pavement outside and also that distributing pamphlets itself was banned in Hyderabad!
[ES is a food court type thing- partly open air, on a road by the lake that also has parks etc, so we started outside ES and walked along the road through the park and also through an exhibition. Outside ES and along the road the people were - a lot of young men and some older men and families too, but the area wasn't crowded at al
The women stood along the wall and stared/ tried to keep people’s gaze.
The women volunteers leaned against a wall and gave a letter bearing an eve teasing testimonials to people amongst public (mostly men) who responded in some way.
The group also went to a mela ground like place and the women volunteers just hung out at different spots maintaining eye contact. The men played the role of passive observers, spoke to people, photographed and distributed pamphlets/testimonials to people who they thought were responding to the situation or even ‘checking us out’
To begin with it was very difficult for me to stare back at men. Even after trying it a couple of times I felt really uneasy when one person continued looking at me, rather scanning me up and down. On giving him the letter he continued smiling, as if I had handed him a love letter. I stood across the path to see his reaction. While reading he kept biting his lips, winking and showing it to his friends. The letter did not seem to affect him.
After a while he noticed the other women around me and men carrying pamphlets, some clicking photographs. Then probably out of fear or curiosity he began a conversation with Uday and (Ridiculous enough!!) even showed interest in joining BNP.
I had to give him the "unwanted" sticker. This time he did not make any eye contact and looked apologetic. Next time I'm sure he would think twice before indulging in eve teasing
Some of the comment heard yesterday:
1. "What are you guys doing about Adam teasing? You guys need to keep track of the trends. As one of the victims of it, I can tell you its more of adam teasing that takes place these days." - This came from a guy who was obviously trying to hit on one of the participants, while the intervention was on, so I stepped in to talk to him.
2. "Which newspaper are you from? Plz dont publish our snaps, plz understand we come from respectible families and it will get very embarrasing if you publish our snaps."
3. "They are asking us not to tease girls who wear bad clothes (?)". This came in response to a question from a passerby as what we were doing. The question was obv aimed at us, but this decided to step in and answer it for us. Incidentally he was a buddy of the guy who made the statement in 2. He actually said this in telugu - "chadda battalu". When asked what he meant by "bad" clothes, he listed, sleeveless tops and mini skirts. The person who asked what we were dng there said "Being a man, if I can wear a ull shirt and trousers, why do the women dress themselves in such short clothes?"
more coming up...
The act of dispersing testimonials in the form of letters also took place in Delhi and Chennai on the 28th of May.
Thankyou for reading...
Blank Noise Hyd.