19.11.06

One Night Stand-( Bangalore)

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Location: Bangalore
Site: Brigade Road
Nature: Cosmopolitan/ Market/ Crowded.Busy/
Actors: Blank Noise Action Heroes
Date/ Time: 12th Nov- 5 pm to 7 pm


How would you react if you were walking down the street and saw women just standing, hanging around, and not waiting.

How would you react if each of these women looked at you, and it was not an invitation?

Women present on the road were handed a letter that bore a testimonial of street sexual harassment. The letter was also an invite to participate in the Blank Noise intervention, ‘One Night Stand.’

One of the letters said:

Dear Stranger,

Who we are, where we go, what we wear, how we sit, stand, talk, walk in our very own cities. When we demand the need to make our cities non threatening , I don't expect anyone to think of me as their sister or mother, but to really look at women as citizens who have every right to be out on the streets, without any explanation. Sometimes we just love to walk, stand around, hang around, without looking 'available.'

If you know what I mean, come and stand with me by the railing between 5 30 and 6 30 pm.

Sincerely,

A girl


Some women responded and we gradually saw the nature of the street transforming as more they joined in.

The public passing by gradually took to notice that ‘something’ was going on. The Action Heroes re configured themselves by standing closer and looking at every passerby,

Soon they were looking as a collective and being looked back and looking at being looked back.

Towards the end there was a crowd watching the Action Heroes watch. Ofcourse, some present in the public could not but help feel and show that they were challenged/ threatened in the eye game.

Not a word exchanged. Who ever said, but it was only a ‘look’?


Action Heroes report:
I thought the action on Sunday night was a terrific success. When we lined the railings in front of the arcade, most people who passed through noticed the change. They may not have realized exactly what was going on, but they could at least tell that something was different. Men in particular would often look back two or three times with a confused glance. I liked the subtlety of that -- no big signs or posters, but a noticeable shift in the gender dynamic of the area. I also personally enjoyed the freedom of staring and glaring back at the men who passed. And while standing in the center of the sidewalk passing out letters, I enjoyed being stationary while other people had to shift around me. I hadn't realized how much I normally skirt around men -- to make room for them and avoid colliding into them -- and it felt good to force them to move around me.- Sujata Bhat

As an individual I must say that it definitely helped. I don't know if I'll be able to go back there tomorrow evening and do the same thing that we did yesterday. But what I do know is that I can afford to have a little more faith in mankind. Because even as I stood there, between two guys, they did absolutely nothing. I got a few stares, sure, but I realised that men will look. It's how you react to it that matters. Am I going to look down and let it get to me? Or am I going to stare right back and let them know how exactly it makes me feel? I've realised also that we don't need to go around beating up men for staring. All we've got to do is let them know that they don't scare us, and that we don't like it.- Sanjana Janardhan

Since it was my first time, it was a mixture of a lot of things... the project was extremely interesting and it felt good to stand up for our rights and do somethin bout wats not right instead of just criticising bout everything thats wrong with the world!- Shreya Sajankila

Blank Noise Project thanks
  • Radio One and Anjaan
  • Radio City and Vasanthi Hari Prakash/ Anjana
  • Midday
  • Smriti Chanchani for taking the photographs
action heroes include:
shashikala, Nishanthi Makkam, Parineeta, shreya, krutika, Payal Kamat, Nisrin Aziz, Yamini Deen, Ratna Apnender, Manju Ramanan, Kadambari Kapor, Anupama Vadnagra, Soumya C Shekhar, Smriti Chanchani, Archana Srinivasan, Sujata Bhat, Tharuna Balan, Madhurya Balan, Anusree M Jois....

Dev Sukumar, Krishanu, Kris, Prasad, Rama Krishna, Abhiji Rai, Kailash Jodatti, karthik subbaraman


28 comments:

  1. Hmmm... okay...

    Having gone thru the Brigade road (12th Nov) account, I think too many girls attracting attention is a bad idea.... hardly anyone would eve tease since it becomes apparant that something is on behing the scenes. The whole point is lost. Just float one bait a time and for all the rest just stay on standby in any nook or corner, preferably with a video camera

    And I think you people need to think out of Brigade road for a while.... go to Jayanagar 4th block or Malleshwaram or how about Shivaji Nagar? Address these crowded markets, not making the act too obvious.

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  2. awesome aweomse awesome!
    love how you have captured that starer due in some of the photos..n love the glares the girls r giving him. two points however (i think hysteria has covered one of them)
    1. BNP is getting popular (yipppee) n since brigade's is the most popular BNP 'haunt', i think most ppl will be aware sumthing is up. Not that anything is wrong with that, but we might lose out on capturing 'natural' behaviour.

    2. brigades/mg might be crowded areas, but its getting repititive, thus stale. does BNP intentionally wnat to target an urban chic crowd only???? you see that is the impression most ppl will get if we r constantly targetting these kinds of areas.

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  3. hey miss trauma. smriti took the photographs.
    1. yes and no- there is a constant moving/ flowing population on brigade road. while our intervention might bring in elements of surprise , we believe that any kind of impact can happen through a series of repeated actions.

    2. about getting repetitive and stale-
    with every action we are learning something new.
    there is also a new set of Action Heroes. Is it getting stale for the participants or the place?

    By intervening on similar urban spaces we are involving one kind of people. We have intervened in bus stands etc, but it is more important to build different communities to work in different kinds of places.

    Our choice of site is also closely linked with it what the bloggers identify with.

    yes we are working on other sites as well. When we work with localities- the kind of intervention will be very different.

    hope this answers you!

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  4. Team BNP,

    not that you are unaware, but you are already past the milestone of getting yourself (and BNP) attention... so just think out of Brigade road for a while... there are lotsa more places screaming for attention!
    It is time for some cleaning act... of holding the broom and cleaning the streets off the scums of society.
    You need to set some examples.... which is definitely not going to happen by snap'em or cloth collection or by handing out pamphlets.... In my opinion you catch them, you do justice, then and there...
    in short go a step or two ahead of Hollaback
    Tell me if you need help with that!! :-)

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  5. Anonymous8:00 pm

    LOL! I think the only people you have managed to convince are you. Who are the starers in the images???
    Standing there and staring at every guy crossing by and if he stares back he becomes an eve-teaser.
    Do you girls have a paying job or have you dedicated your lives to splitting hair. If I was one of the guys in the pictures I would have sued the bloggers here for defamation.

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  6. Anonymous9:34 pm

    Hi,

    I think the problem with the critiques above is that they assume the idea is to get eve-teased and then confront the person doing it. I always imagined it was more to get people aware of the issue, to get people thinking that eve-teasing might not be such an innocuous thing, that perhaps women have just as much right to be there as anyone else.

    If that's the case, then bravo! I think this is wonderful.

    Yours,
    Isaac.

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  7. Fabulous. Keep it up, gang!

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  8. Thanks Roshan!! :)

    Yes Isaac, you are absolutely RIGHT!
    Thanks!

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  9. Anonymous9:14 am

    Hold one more. I want to come!

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  10. Anonymous9:14 am

    Hold one more. I want to come!

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  11. pollyanna we will be intervening in the next 2 weeks again.

    do keep in touch

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  12. Anonymous10:31 am

    good job... hopefullly i would be able to take part in the next one

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  13. Anonymous11:45 am

    Dont think this will have any major impact ... what do u expect men to do, when they see a grp of girl on a busy street? Simply pass away !!

    Thats exactly what they did ... a miscreant will tease a girlonly if they find a girl alone in that street. or if he/they decide to eve tease a group of girl, they wud never dare to do so in a crowded area.



    My point is .. that things happened as they were expected to .. so I Dont see any point of this campaign .. ! Nor wud I call this a success ..!!!

    Since there was no other possible outcome of this.

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  14. hysteria: the whole point is for people to realise that the street is filling up with women. and to hold it again and again in the same place rather than isolated interventions that people mightn't remember.

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  15. Anonymous11:39 am

    hi
    y do guys unnecessarily tease gals when we go out 4 a movie they just follow us want us to give them ur contact numbers make a scene on road make comments on road stare us y???????/
    wat should we do 4 this somebody answer this????????

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  16. Anonymous7:17 pm

    HI !!! wonderful idea... and i wanna bring to your notice this site blanknoiseproject.com which is absolutely revolting and against your ideas (i feel so) . If you can , please do something to get the site down, or whatever is proper. I want your cause not to be misused

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  17. atreyee4:32 pm

    ha ha, the road is filling is 'filling up' with women is rther funny thought, but at the same a very powerful imagery.... road, parks, malls, bazaars, car-parking areas, bus-stands, lonely walkways... should be seen 'filling up' iwth women :)

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  18. Hi, I live and work in Nairobi Kenya and you know what you are doing in Bangalore is great! It happens all the time in Nairobi. Whether you are driving, standing at a bus stop or walking in the streets, you find men staring at you in ways that are uncomfortable. And often times meeting their gaze, draws this stupid stupid grin or smile. . .the man/men think you are approving of their stares. I've learnt to walk with my eyes straight ahead and yet even then it is still very very disconcerting. But after reading about this action, i'll definetely be looking right back at them! I hope it's only a matter of time before we do something similar in Kenya!

    As for whether such actions can be repetitive or are elitist in their choice of locations, i'm a firm believer of small actions leading to big change! So yes, learn lessons from each action, but don't be detracted by anyone who thinks that these actions are aimless! They are not!
    Keep at it! Those photos have made my day!

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  19. Hi. Really commendable job girls. I came to know about the blank noise project recently on orkut by a chance and I was amazed reading this blog. I will contribute what I can from my side - will post about BNP in my Digital Filmmaking Blog and link to it. I hope some reader of mine sponsors you with video cameras - so that you can be even more effective in your revolutionary work.

    All the best...
    Sarthak

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  20. travis sherman10:48 am

    wow. good for you all. keep up hard work.

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  21. Thanks afrofeminista! you certainly made our day!

    Do keep us posted!

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  22. travis! good to see you here! thanks for coming by!

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  23. Anonymous9:32 am

    I was about to say as Isaac. So good work.

    I wonder if you can initiate this in patna. As you have community on orkut it will be great if u post in "Patna Women's College Community" or orkut.
    I am sure a lot would be happy to join you all in this campaign.
    It's just an idea.

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  24. The pleasure's all mine! :)
    & keep up the Great WORK! :)

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  25. Anonymous8:49 pm

    i am 27M from karnataka.I want to marry a poor girl....if any body is there please contact me on.8095256287.

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  26. Anonymous11:54 am

    i am 40M from karnataka.I want to marry a poor girl....if any body is there please contact me on 9611987076

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  27. Anonymous8:26 pm

    hii....

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  28. Anonymous2:17 pm

    their approach n luks are like prostitutes..so who wud want 2 eve tease them in d 1st place ;)

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