Action Heroes in Bangalore

consumption. idle. comfort. stiff. inserted. indifference. stares. glares. question. egoes. courage. dodge. defense. conversations. opinions.

Call it a treat or the aha moment. Finally an entire railing stretch flanked by women, doing nothing, just looking, hanging out, being themselves.

What if?

there were just more women occupying the road?

all looking back at you?

this should not be anything unusual anyways...
and yet if this were everyday there would be no need for Action Heroes .

We were just a group between 20 to 30 people. That evening we saw the nature of the place change, gradually. Jan 28 the following Action Heroes were there to make themselves feel safe comfortable and challenged .

For those of you who know Brigade Road, Bangalore- the photos are self explanatory.

Paige Trabulsi. Yamini Deen. Soumya Shekhar. Surabhi Kukke. Amrutha Bushan. Archana Srinivasan. Chris. Kunal Ashok. Kathleen. Anusree M Jois. Vivek. Neh
a. Smita. Naina Bharni. Sanjana Janardhan. Soumita Majumdar. Shalini Mukherjee + x no. participants from the public.

Here's what the Action Heroes had to say:

I am not used to standing alone. It in begining it was scary. I was finally seeing the faces on the street- Neha

In the begining I occupied the space of the idle guy, cruising brigade road, consuming women's bodies-Surabhi

People were mesmerized. They were curious when they saw Brigade road's railing flanked by women- Paige

I felt empowered when I blew the whistle and we all looked at the security guard- Naina
( the security guard had dared to 'brush' against some of the 'action heroes'.)

Defense is choreographed. It's non verbal and establishes the relationship between looking and power.

We defend only when there is a need.

It results in the person feeling threatened by a group of women who are doing nothing but just looking back. Usually he slips away.

Kunal Ashok shares his experience with someone who was confronted-
There was this one guy (about 25 yrs old) who the girls sorrounded and
stared back at at the intervention. He slipped away quietly. He
noticed I was part of the group too (since i was distributing
pamphlets). And so he came up to me. As we struck a conversation, his
demeanor had completely changed from the earlier gung-ho attitude.

It was evident that he'd fallen from grace as he was being very non
comittal about the whole incident. So, he asked me what it was all
about. I explained to him about BNP and our activities, and what we
just did. He seemed to understand. Deep down inside, he knew he'd done
something wrong... but he wasn't man enough to admit it i guess.

He tried dodging the issue by saying that "These girls are just
causing inconvenience to the public. nothing else". I replied saying
that no one else has a problem with it.

Note: our objective is not to 'catch' men, but to intervene in the streets/ to be ourselves/ to reclaim space/ to confront street sexual harassment.

What if we were a 100?


Anonymous said...

I am not going to miss the next one.

atreyee said...

finally, the dream of women all over the street! can we have more pictures of this on the blog please?

atreyee said...

can we have more pictures of this even on the blog please? it sounds brilliant!

J said...

tharunya! you better not!! you're quite the look back star.

atreyee- yes more photos are coming up!

Purba said...

It breaks my heart to see the look on the faces of the girls. Having lived in Delhi and now in Kolkata, I am more than familiar with what they must have gone through and i feel so proud because they stepped out and did this. For us.

P said...

"He tried dodging the issue by saying that "These girls are just
causing inconvenience to the public. nothing else". I replied saying
that no one else has a problem with it."
And this coming from a volunteer of a blog that maintains that just because women don't speak up, doesn't mean there is nothing wrong with the system.

Ooh, the irony.

Also wondering if 'gung-ho' was really implied. I am hoping the word was not used to imply macho. And while we are there, be a bit pedantic and have 'beginning', 'surrounding' and 'committal'?