12.12.06

ACTION HEROES IN BANGALORE








Action Heroes include:
Ratna Apnender
Laura Neuhas
Soumya Chandra Shekhar
Kripa Jaganath
Radhika Miglani
Priya Thangarajah
Ponni
Kunal Ashok
Tharunya Balan
Vinaya
Vani Subramaniam
Anushree M Jois
Sujata Bhatt
Shobha Vishwanathan
Rachel



An Action Hero wore the arrow and stood by the railing. The other Action Heroes went about dispersing testimonials in the form of letters. The receivers of letters were asked to identify the girl with an arrow and join her..

Dear Stranger


It was always a feeling of shame. Shame that when 14, a passing cyclist grabbed me. Shame that in the school bus, the driver always fiddled with the rearview mirror so he could look at my chest. Shame that men leered with smug smiles when I walked past. Or tried to brush up against me. Shame because I felt it happened only to me and only because there was something wrong with the way I looked or dressed or walked or talked or was. Something wrong - terribly, terribly so - with me.

And the only reaction seemed to be silence. Because confrontation might lead to attention being drawn to a dirty experience I wanted to keep secret. Because speaking out meant acknowledging that something was wrong when I could cloak it.

You will see me. I am the girl by the railings wearing a red arrow. If you know what it means take an arrow from me, wear it and stand with me. I will be around until 7 this evening.

Sincerely,

A girl

The arrow symbol definitely got the team some attention. Some responded but not too many actually joined us...moreNitesh( boy in mustard shirt) joined Kunal Ashok and began to distribute pamphlets. It was a mixed reaction from women passersby- while most ignored, the others chose to say, ' we are in a hurry'. A woman is unlikely to stand on the road, look back at people in the eye and draw attention to herself, that's precisely why 'eve teasing' is ignored.

Our first time Action Hero Kripa writes:

when i started out giving letters to people a lot of times i felt i have to be assertive but so may people shy away or wave their hands saying" no thanks, we dont need it".. making eye contact is easy.. but persisting at it.. not in a confrontational or retaliating manner but as a way to make that "connection".. thats really tough... that something i need to work on....

standing by the railings.... that got me a plethora of reactions... eye contact here is not tough.. having a blank look.. like i dont really have anything to do.. know what?.. i realized at this point.. i started to like what i was doing. i dont want to perform anymore. i want to be... like how i was at the railings.. i faced mockery, genuine interest, active participation, negativity, in difference,curiosity, intimidation created because of the "performance",humour,and some times just plain idiocy of some people and most importantly questions in my mind.. to which im still finding answers...

Soumya C Shekhar writes:

I loved wearing the arrow. It was a pleasant change to be looked in the face (eventually). I really enjoyed this intervention and somehow wearing the arrow really helped me be in the "performance" mode and use my body as a statement better. I thought claiming space in front of mota arcade with a "follow the leader" plan rocked! Really wish we do more of those. Maybe next time I'll be at the pamphlet/letter distributing end and see what insights I can gather from that perspective. It was also nice to see a decent number of girls turning up at events and encouraging people to join us and be part of BNP even if it was just for a minute was again a great idea which I hope to see repeated very often. All in all very very enjoyable.


Next Bangalore event is on Jan 7th 2007!

24 comments:

  1. awesome!
    n i love those glow in the dark arrows..(where didja get them from???)

    great way of making a statement..hats off tu u guys!!

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  2. Interesting!. How to participate?

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  3. I read about the blanknoise project and I think its a brilliant idea........kudos
    I wish there was something like this happening in Dubai as well....
    though it is considered to be a safe city.....women are not spared from men leching

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  4. hi there, 'hiya' , dont just wish, let's make it happen

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  5. thej. to participate mail us at blurtblanknoise at gmail.com

    do get in touch! thanks for writing in...cheers

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  6. trauma, we made them! ratna came over that sunday afternoon and we made a couple :)
    see u the next time!

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  7. Anonymous6:41 am

    Hi.

    I stumbled upon this website by chance.

    All I can say is , I differ on many view points here.

    This is a classic case of sensationalizing a whole issue as common as "eve teasing". It is ubiquitous and it is going to be there as long as humans exist.

    "Eve teasing" and "looking at a female" is more of a biological behaviour rather than a societal one.

    Picture this:-

    If ANY OF YOU "harassed girls" were a GUY , you wouldnt start such a project, because you would be one of the guys teasing a girl. It is natural.

    The very nature of eve-teasing is analogous to a like a "clap" which requires two hands. If you contribute and act as a superior species, you tend to get teased more. Unfortunately god did not create "permissions of visibility" so that , if you dress up well, ONLY the guy who want to see you can see you in that attire.

    By promoting such ideas, by saying powerful words like "trauma" and upsetting the "mental health of women", you are just taking a small thing to ridiculous proportions....

    Ironically this word is coined by Indians ONLY. Not because guys in other countires dont lech, but women there dont make a big deal out of it, like all you trauma queens and drama queens out there....

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  8. Anonymous11:00 am

    Hi Sudeep,

    With people like you around, the world wouldn't change, everybody would retain their biological characters, grow a tail and live like savages.

    We are looking for progress, a complete evolution into Human Beings from animals. You may ask what's the difference, and may say we are and we will always remain animals.

    I'd say the difference is in our behaviour, our polished mannerisms, the control over our animal instincts, the will to suppress actions which cause inconvenience to others and a regard for other person's personal space and independence. That's what makes us human beings different from animals. And history is proof to it that we've evolved and we're evolving.

    If you're saying a girl wearing a particular attire will make me tease her, I wouldn't agree, that's because I'm ahead in the race to become a complete human being because of my upbringing and socialization than those who tease or let their ego be affected because somebody is trying to act as a superior species and cause them inconvenience and by doing so appease their own animal instincts!

    You fail to empathise with others, which is one of the main characteristics of a human being. Since you are not a victim of eve teasing, the problem seems to be very normal to you and you feel that there need not be any action taken against it and that it can be allowed to grow to any proportions which will not matter to you. So you're expecting the victims to behave like as if they aren't victims but beneficiaries who are being admired by their patrons! There are places like the dance bars where you can go and patronize those damsels who don't mind, but why the streets?! You're applying a rule in the wrong place.

    I saw your blog, full of logic, but of what use is it if you geeks don't understand a simple logic as this one. High time you evolved.

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  9. Anonymous9:33 am

    Hi Blinkdreamz,

    Thanks for the Darwinistic observations....But remember one thing...Savages show their animal instincts upright in their actions unlike their counterparts, the civilized and smooth hypocrites. The more savage you are, the more directly your motives are conveyed.

    Let me clarify folks, by "eve teasing" I exclusively referred to "staring" of people NOT any other physical contact or some kind of harassment.

    Staring can be caused because of many cases.These are the following :-

    a) "Staree Z" wants a "Starer X" to notice.And some other "Starer Y" else notices and passes a remark to Z causing mental torture to Z.

    Whose mistake is it ? Isnt it both people's ?

    b) "Staree Z" doesnt want "Starer Y" to notice
    There are two cases here :-

    Case 1 : If Y is a daydreamer who is in the perpetual habit of staring things while getting lost in thought, and his intention was not to cause discomfort, it is not his mistake

    Case 2: If Y purposefully wanted to stare, which may be some kind of offense (yes I completely agree with it).However, here everything depends on the way a Staree handles her/him in this situation. To give an analogy here :-

    You have a diamond necklace you want to wear to a party which catches immediate attention.There are 10 robbers on the road who will snatch it if they see it. It is your responsibility to either wear a sweatshirt and walk across to the party or take a gamble with the robbers.What will you do ? Will you make a propoganda to the robbers about your rights of wearing a diamond necklace? Ofcourse you may do it..But everyone may not be as enterprising or as you are.I may sound caustic, but it is the truth.

    Note that a diamond necklace may be a dress which catches immediate attention.

    And about savages.Savages dont have anything else in their minds other than their actions....

    Just check out this poem which many of us have read in school :-

    What is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare

    More of the poem here

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  10. Anonymous9:34 am

    Hi Blinkdreamz,

    Thanks for the Darwinistic observations....But remember one thing...Savages show their animal instincts upright in their actions unlike their counterparts, the civilized and smooth hypocrites. The more savage you are, the more directly your motives are conveyed.

    Let me clarify folks, by "eve teasing" I exclusively referred to "staring" of people NOT any other physical contact or some kind of harassment.

    Staring can be caused because of many cases.These are the following :-

    a) "Staree Z" wants a "Starer X" to notice.And some other "Starer Y" else notices and passes a remark to Z causing mental torture to Z.

    Whose mistake is it ? Isnt it both people's ?

    b) "Staree Z" doesnt want "Starer Y" to notice
    There are two cases here :-

    Case 1 : If Y is a daydreamer who is in the perpetual habit of staring things while getting lost in thought, and his intention was not to cause discomfort, it is not his mistake

    Case 2: If Y purposefully wanted to stare, which may be some kind of offense (yes I completely agree with it).However, here everything depends on the way a Staree handles her/him in this situation. To give an analogy here :-

    You have a diamond necklace you want to wear to a party which catches immediate attention.There are 10 robbers on the road who will snatch it if they see it. It is your responsibility to either wear a sweatshirt and walk across to the party or take a gamble with the robbers.What will you do ? Will you make a propoganda to the robbers about your rights of wearing a diamond necklace? Ofcourse you may do it..But everyone may not be as enterprising or as you are.I may sound caustic, but it is the truth.

    Note that a diamond necklace may be a dress which catches immediate attention.

    And about savages.Savages dont have anything else in their minds other than their actions....

    Just check out this poem which many of us have read in school :-

    What is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare

    More of the poem here

    ReplyDelete
  11. the sad thing about dubai is that the freedom of expression/speech is controlled....

    I guess what is lacking here is the willingness for people to act...and think that being viewed as a piece of object rather than an individual is "acceptable".....

    I hope I can come to India and be a part of blanknoise

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  12. hey sudeep.. yeah i had some of the same questions myself and i'm glad u've thought about it so much (and that's more than we can say about a lot of the "anon" comments we get here) but answer me this..

    you are walking with your cute really smart looking 3 yr old daughter/sister/niece/friend you are really fond of.. and you see a man staring at her. Not touching her.. or hurting her.. but just staring at her with only one very obvious intent in mind. you notice him staring (and ofcourse the kid is too young to notice anything). so do you feel enraged? if not.. good for you u've got ur defense mechanisms perfectly placed. But don't you think it's "normal" to feel enraged?

    Do you still think staring is just 'harmless' and we are sensationalizing it?

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  13. ok in addition... :) sorry had to write more..

    the "diamond necklace" thing is a weird analogy coz acc to that only skimpily clad women should get harassed.. right? Not 8-16 yr old school girls right? not women in salwar kameez (yeah yeah the "respectable, fully covering" kind).. not the kid in a frock who has no clue why one uncle keeps touching his "dirty part" when ever he sees her..

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  14. travis sherman2:10 pm

    love the shirts with the arrows

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous8:58 am

    Blanknoise is a great idea. The opportunity to join the activists is terrific; even if only to stand for five minutes is to cause someone to think....

    To Hiya... I have been reading in the news about the patrolling of the beaches in Dubai to prevent male-to-female harassment. Any word on that? (I think I read it in the New York Times in the last month or so....)

    About all this staring business... what's wrong with men at least being educated that the staring is often considered annoying and rude (as if they don't already know??)? What's wrong with starers having to acknowledge the reactions they provoke in women who are being made uncomfortable? Nothing wrong with a little accountability.

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  16. indistructable attempt by u guys. hats off. keep it up. i have nothing to say or comment cuz i believe everyone has the right to say or do wht he/she wants. wud like u guys to organise the same in agra also. i can only contribute grafixes if u want. cheers!

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  17. hey vishal. thanks! we hope you are going to be the one to get the people there interested and ready to take it on :) keep us posted.

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  18. Hi Sudeep -

    Just a quick comment refuting one of your earlier points... (I see that blinkdreamz already answered your "savage" analogy and Anonymous questioned your grasp of respectful social etiquette).

    To address your sweeping mis-generalization that Indian women are more prone to "dramatizing" men's "romantic" staring, possibly this observation of a young American woman may enlighten the situation: In all of my living abroad experiences (West and East, secular countries, for a prolonged duration) there is no other country on this planet in which more blatant and rude public leching of women's bodies occurs.

    You may also be interested to know that also, abroad, women's rights and issues are taken very seriously. You can bet that the women of these countries will most certainly "make a big deal out of it" -- and especially your unwelcome lecherous staring.

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  19. Anonymous3:42 pm

    All of a sudden, it seems like Mumbai is milling with gropers out to grab at innocent females. There was this case of a girl allegedly being groped at Mumbai's Gateway of India, followed by reports of a policeman, (aka guardian of law) molesting a woman besides a teenager attempting to grope a foreigner in the city. The city newspapers and their readers are all turned on by the gripping news on groping.

    http://bullshitpress.blogspot.com/2007/01/molestation-rocks-mumbai.html

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  20. Tomahawk8:30 pm

    Agreed with all the NOs that you put up in the banner, but "No Looking" thats streching it thin.

    Anyways chicks also do perve, (aussie slang here http://chickybaberules.blogspot.com/2006/01/meaning-of-perve.html), i sure have experienced it. But as a guy you feel flattered so i guess its different.

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  21. Chinna8:17 pm

    Really appreciate ur efforts..
    It takes a lot of guts to stage such performances!!
    hats off to u guys..really great!
    I really wish to be part of this when i m back to india :)
    and hope all these moves of urs do help men realise how irritating 'eve teasing' is!

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  22. Strange that when public stripping and molestation happens on new year, you are bothered about staring men.

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  23. Anonymous10:23 pm

    ever wondered why people look for hours at the mona lisa.

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  24. Anonymous10:30 pm

    mmm legally what constitutes as a stare or as looking, do we put the cut of at say 1 sec or 10 or maybe a 100.doesnt anyone think that that particullar 2 phrases in the law is a bit ludicrus.i do agree on the rest though,but looking and staring??????????????

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