This was the last of the One Night Stand production! For two weeks everyone, Paige, Surabhi, Dev, Kunal, Laura, Yamini, Manisha, Amrutha, Anusree etc etc etc worked hard on putting this event together!
As a result we had a good turn out of about 50 Action Heroes!
Here's what we do and why we do it:
Brigade road , just like any other road is male dominated- whether in numbers, attitudes and hence the power dynamics.
The railing was probably constructed so that people did not spill onto the road but over time it became the place to hang out, lean back, relax, check out, make deals, be idle. However all of this was allowed if you were male.
As a result a woman's experience of walking down the street was to look down, be anxious, and walk as fast as her legs could take her. This does not imply that every man by the railing was present to violate a woman, but in general it was just a very male dominated sight.
Of course there have been instances of a man standing against the railing and rubbing himself off on every woman passing by. I would not have known this until an Action Hero experienced it. A self explanatory video will be uploaded soon.
The point is not about the railing, nor is men vs women. We are attempting to question women's relationship with public spaces.
What would happen to the street if for one evening women took over the railings?
What if we were 50 or more?
What if our only intention was to do nothing, lean back and relax?
What if we looked back at passersby?
What if 50 women stopped walking and stood straight, firm, shoulders head and feet in one place?
What if we decided not to give way, dodge and twist our bodies for others to move?
What if, for one evening every body else moved around us?
In an ideal world there should be no reason and no need for this performance. But the fact that 50 women by the railing doing nothing becomes questionable, generates curiosity, becomes a public debate, is reason enough for passersby to get familiar with the idea.
It was a noisy exit. We left the street with an alert alarm that was almost deafening. 50 shreaking whistles down Brigade Road.
Here's what the Action Heroes had to say about their experiences on Feb 11:
This was my first Blank Noise intervention. It felt so good when I maintained eye contact with a guy and he looked away. I felt so empowered! It was a little unsettling at first to be stared at as if I was a freak show but I soon got into the spirit. I can’t wait for the next time!
This was my first Blank Noise intervention and it really built my confidence. I really hope this can be carried forward in Yelahanka, where we really need it.
The whistling thing really worked for me! It made everyone curious and they actually made way for us, which in the usual circumstances wouldn’t have happened.