12.2.08

YOUR TURN NOW: ASK US A RARELY ASKED BURNING QUESTION


Over the last couple of years the Blank Noise project has devised several strategies to trigger debates on street sexual violence/ 'eve teasing'. We have been seen as clearly- feminist, interventionist, participatory, community building, agency building, empowering. etc etc. On the other end some have unfortunately perceived us as man-hating, angry , blindly extremist!

The comments on the blog will speak for themselves. We are happy to receive a reaction from you which is why almost ALL comments get published. We are averse only to indifference.

With this blog post, we want to open space for dialogue. If you have a question for Blank Noise, or even an area of doubt send it in right away. Your questions could be simple- but we must feel challenged to answer. For the first time, we are screaming out loud- QUESTION ME

Send in your rarely asked burning questions about Blank Noise to us at blurtblanknoise@gmail.com or leave it in the comments section below.

New volunteers are requested to participate more so, because with the answering of questions and clearing of doubts we will be able to hopefully move forward. It is always exciting and challenging to work with volunteers from all over the world because every individuals brings in his or her enthusiasm and interprets Blank Noise in a unique way.

At the end 20 questions will be selected and answered right here on the blog! All questions will be shared on the blog. Terribly tough questions are highly encouraged.

you can see some of the Blank Noise work here:
I never asked for it?, Blank Noise Action Hero Testimonials Archive, Blank Noise blogathon, Cheap Girls, Stencilling testimonials, Street Actions across cities, Blank Noise Opinion Poll ( continued project), Walk the Night, I wish for my city and more..


All questions asked are going to be posted here:
  1. Chaitanya K asks: have you ever considered getting religious establishments(churchpastors, temple priests, priestess's, etc..) involved in blank noise related activities?
  2. Ashamed asks:
    1. I read that you were a victim once upon a time and that you started this initiative because of that. Could you please let me know what happened , I mean the actual incident that happened.
    2. Does being so actively involved against eve- teasing and subsequently against men prevent you from having good friends in the opposite sex? I mean guys would be scared to come and talk to you if they know that you photograph people and put them on the net.
    3. When you are with colleagues or friends and a casual physical contact by a male happens. Say like patting your shoulders etc... How do you differentiate it from eve-teasing? Since you are so actively involved in this, do you tend to misinterpret casual things as eve-teasing?

18 comments:

  1. wasted8:26 pm

    Hello there,

    I want like to know what is your perception of Simone de Beauvoirs' book "The second sex"?

    I truely hope that Indian womens right will improve.

    Greetings from Germany,
    wasted

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think you girls kick ass. You're awesome, all of you.

    Here's my question: Do you ever feel scared of standing up to eve teasing the way I am whenever I go to India? I see your projects and I feel so empowered and inspired, but when I hear a whistle or see a guy staring at me, I freeze up with fear. How do you do it?

    ReplyDelete
  3. coffee boy10:05 am

    Hey gals,

    As a man I am telling this - Ally yourself with moderate feminist ideology. Moderate feminism is progressive and its proponents are many intelligent and intellectual women (and men too). I read some of the debates and discussions between women who are moderate feminists and they were really thought provoking. Moderate feminists are genuinely interested in the emancipation of women. They see decent men as allies in their battle. I would go ahead and say that many men (including me) are moderate feminists.

    But don't go for radical feminism. Radical feminism is not just an extreme version of moderate feminism. The main agenda of radical feminism is not empowerment of women. It is oppression of men. If you go for radical feminism you would only be harming the cause of women as there are dangers of provoking a backlash.

    It might be tempting to convert this into a man vs woman battle, but one needs to resist such temptations. This is applicable for both men and women.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous10:48 am

    Why the change of heart now?

    For years people having be shouting them selves hoarse trying to tell you woman. Making flashy "what are you looking at?" campaigns and not really having a group where woman(men who support woman causes) can really come together and talk about issues.Instead of all the campaigns through out the years.
    But guess that is just stubborn jasmeen for you. ;)

    If you really care about the womans cause (even teasing ) . Start talking instead of static photos on your site. mannnnnnn :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Here is my question to blank noise:

    What is blank noise’s plan for moving from a fringe urban phenomenon to the momentum of a true national grassroots movement? In other words, what is the plan to inject this into the consciousness of the main bloodstream of India’s social fabric?

    In the process of thinking this through I posted my own comprehensive thoughts on this at blog.murm.in

    ReplyDelete
  6. coffee boy1:12 pm

    I previously wrote here under the name "caffeine whatever", but somebody (not from here), who did not know about caffeine, asked me if I was a drug dealer (which I am not). So I am using a less pretentious name.

    My Questions -

    1. Given that eve-teasing is only (or mainly) directed at girls/women, do you believe that only girls/women have an absolute say over what types of situations should be considered as eve-teasing? If yes, then do you also believe that only girls/women have an absolute say over how to deal with eve-teasers? Why? Why not? etc.

    Let us go to one extreme - Now I have heard many times here that men don't understand everything that a woman goes through, especially in the context of eve-teasing. May be it is true or may be it is not. I don't know. But if you really believe that men don't understand (at least some things), then you are effectively claiming that only girls have the right to define what situation should be called as eve-teasing. And if only a girl has the right to define what situation can be considered as eve-teasing, then only she has the right to define the "level of seriousness" of the situation, which naturally implies that only a girl can decide what punishment to hand over to the eve-teaser. Comments?

    On the other hand, girls can avoid the above extreme by making men understand. So here comes an example question -

    2. I am guessing that you girls consider certain forms of staring as eve-teasing because it makes you feel uncomfortable. I am not questioning your judgment/claim here, but if you can explain how you feel when men stare amorously or intimidatingly at you, then may be more men will understand your point of view. Can you please do the same? What level of seriousness would you attach to such stares? Can you also explain how to deal with staring men? What is the immediate solution to this problem? (I have asked the last part of the question before but did not get a response from any girl here).

    In the above staring scenario, is it only the knowledge and the type of the stare that made you uncomfortable, or does even the possibility of a stare make you uncomfortable? Consider the following question -

    3. If a man wears dark sun-glasses and stares at you, you wouldn't obviously know whether or not he is looking at you. But you might feel uncomfortable because of the possibility that he could be staring at you. Would you still consider it as eve-teasing if such a man stares at you? (I am just trying to stare at girls without being labeled as an eve-teaser :). Ok, ok I am just joking).

    4. Final question (for now). Do you think that eve-teasing should always be seen necessarily as an assertion of male power over the female? Or do you think that in some scenarios, there could be other reasons for eve-teasing? Why? Why not? etc. And if you think there could be other reasons, what could they be?

    ReplyDelete
  7. The poll gives ridiculous results. Seems "staring at breasts" has 90% votes. Are the girls out of their minds? Making lewd remarks and making uninvited physical contact can be termed as eve- teasing. The rest, like staring at breasts, or ass is freaking natural. Nobody can stop that! If you people disagree with me, you are crazy!

    ReplyDelete
  8. does blank noise take up the cause of transgender/transsexual men as well? as far as i can see, in kolkata, such men are often subject to as much street sexual harassment as women.

    ReplyDelete
  9. @coffee boy-

    Tell me how does one feel... could be anybody...when you are subjected to a stare as soon as you enter a room... you feel as if you are being stripped naked and are being laughed at because of your assests...!! This is how I feel... whenever travelling in the bus I come across at someone staring at me. I feel that I am being subjected to severe harrassment and not only staring... this staring is often combined with drooling... and making lewed remarks or gestures.

    My question is-
    Why is it that whenever a girl is teased,harrassed...or molested the blame is put back onto her...telling her that it might have been she herself who must have provoked the man/men?

    Why isn't the very mentality of the men questioned?because, even when a woman is in burqua..or a salwar kameez or a saree... she is teased.

    shouldn't blank noise start with sensatising the males so that the very root of the problem can be looked at?

    I cant understand...what is the pleasure...in passing comments...if this comes from a absolute dehaat... though not justified but still we can say...he might have not seen modern girl... but whats with the rich and the bratty... driving in swanky cars...who is to blame...the parents or our education system..or the confines of the so called moral values that make the young men so sexually frustrated that they resort to all this...!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am glad that there are so many sides of this burning issue now being commented on publicly. It is a very positive result and so you may say that your ongoing efforts are beginning to yield greater attention.
    What you really need to gain and hold media attention must now be found through a prominent spokesperson at a national level (for starters, international will surely follow). Ideally it would be someone who is in the news as often as a Bollywood celebrity, since it seems that the whole mentality of the media is focused on what the celebs are doing. Celebs keep them in business. Will any of them ever consider this issue a burning question and use the Bollywood platform to help their fellow Indians ? Maybe, but how far away is that ? So in the meantime I suggest the making of Independent films by the Blank Noise Group - an unabashed, no-holds-barred, insiders' look at what's really bothering you. Who knows, you may be invited to an International Festival like 'Vanaja' was.

    http://www.vanajathefilm.com/festivals.html

    ReplyDelete
  11. coffee boy7:01 am

    @sakshi

    Believe me, what you said is like a revelation to me. I knew staring makes you uncomfortable, but I never guessed the magnitude of discomfort. And our situations are not comparable. I can't speak on behalf of all men, but I, as a man, am almost completely indifferent to stares. No wonder, not many men understand you. But sometimes, the intellect is better than the heart. So if girls are complaining that staring hurts, then it is better for men to ponder over why they are doing so rather than brushing aside their complaints in a cavalier manner.

    Regarding the last para you wrote - Money doesn't necessarily buy ethics. Given that both eve-teasing and money can sometimes give a person a sense of power, it is not a surprise that some of the rich guys eve-tease.

    PS: I guess your questions are not directed at me but at blank noise.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @ Coffee Boy-

    I am glad that you foun out time to read and ponder over the thoughts. I agree with you when you say that money and eve teasing gives a sense of power to those lousy brats. Anyways- another thing that for the past few days that I have been noticing is a lot of school children are also resorting to weird things ( I dont know how to put that in one word... )
    In delhi, thanks to good weather a lot of schools are taking the students for picnics etc... I have my exams and at around 12ish in the afternoon I stand at the bus stop waiting to board a bus to go to my college. The school buses that pass... well... the boys in there they pass out comments and ofcourse flying kissess... its pretty disgusting coz I am a third year student almost 22 and those kids are hardly at max 14-15 year olds. And maybe I am over reacting... but I am just trying to suffice my point in the last comment that I posted about where at the grassroot level should one start to understand the mentality of the boys... and where to put the blame... education system or what?

    PS: The questions are directed at Blank Noise... but you are most welcome to try n answer the queries...!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ushmi's question of Transgendered and Transexual persons esposes another group that faces not only street harassment but persecution, violence and social disadvantage. Here we enter the realm of
    the leftover attitudes of the (ostensibly abolished) Caste system.

    When people learn the true meaning of Respect and attempt to practice it they are on the right path. Some of the language used today shows how far respect has (d?)evolved. Like, using slang and four-letter words has become fashionable and commonplace for females. There was a time when the words 'butt' and 'ass' were not used in public and were a mark of street vagabonds and vagrants. Of course the web has only provided more opportunities for folks to
    display their lack of respect, class and judgement. Yes it's okay now to use these Western influences because it helps prove one's 'hipness', but... oh, how we have fallen !

    ReplyDelete
  14. coffee boy12:40 pm

    @ sakshi

    Any idea what *type* of schools these boys are from? Different schools are generally "meant" for different sections/classes (I am not talking about castes) of the society. I am just curious to know the general class background of these boys. By the way, why don't you try complaining to the principals of these schools about the behavior of the boys? If they are traveling in a school bus, you can easily know what school they are from. Right?

    Coming to your question on grassroots, I think the case of adolescents is a bit more complicated than that of adult males. There are a lot of biological changes going on in the body during adolescence, which makes these people more vulnerable to external factors. So I think we must be a bit lenient in judging an adolescent eve-teaser because adolescents suffer from high biological interference. You agree?

    PS: I will ponder over your questions. I don't want to give a hasty answer.

    ReplyDelete
  15. coffee boy12:57 pm

    @ Virtual Poona Blogger and ushmi

    I am not from blank noise, so I am not speaking on their behalf. But personally I think that mainstream BNP should focus exclusively on eve-teasing/sexual harassment directed at *girls/women* at least for the near future. Unfortunately, even otherwise decent people don't necessarily have a healthy attitude towards transgenders, so fighting for their rights would probably be a Herculean task requiring a separate and dedicated organization. So BNP should not go into that area, at least for now, because focus is really important. Of course, I leave it to the wisdom of Jasmeen & co. to decide on this issue, but I am merely mentioning my opinion here.

    @ vpb

    In the context of usage of some four lettered and three lettered words, you said that we have "fallen" due to western influences. May I ask you if forcing a woman into sati or treating a widow with utmost contempt or treating a rape victim like scum are also things that we imported from the West? How about bride burning and female foeticide? I don't think it is the West that has made us disrespect women or anyone else. We never treated women on par with men in the first place.

    PS: The word *ass* usually reminds me of our good old donkey rather than the backside. For the latter, I generally add an *r* after the *a*.

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  16. @ coffee boy

    The questions of Sati, bride burning, female foeticide, etc. arose in my mind
    when I posted the comment to which you responded. I was aiming to stay on-topic and so chose not to include those 'burning questions'. Any mature-thinking Indian knows that unfortunately those are almost a natural part of their history and society,

    The Western 'influence' I touched on is the use of the English language which we adopted and must use to empower our stance.

    OFF TOPIC : The 'good old donkey' word association works only without the 'r' inserted. If you add the 'r' you have to
    take away one 's' and add an 'e' at the end to clear up confusion with your statements :
    Ass= Good old donkey
    Arse= Backside

    Using a four-letter word does nothing to enhance one's image, as we learned from our parents and teachers.

    And so, apologies to all for veering off once again. There are so many more burning questions waiting to be posted by others.

    Thanks for reading and responding !

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  17. @Coffee Boy-

    I agree that a lot of changes are going thru the adolocents... after all presuming that you are not a teenager now... we all have gone thru the toughest times as what they are calle- Teenage years.

    That is what I aim at when I say that we should start at the grassroot level... because it is during the teenage years that most of the frustration arises and if there is right kind of education given to both girls and guys so that they can manage their teenage years better and consequently become better ppl as adults.... I dont think that, that is wrong.... what say?

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  18. @ sakshi

    No I am not a teenager. Yes, you are right about targeting teenagers. Just as kids can be negatively brainwashed to become religious extremists, they can also be positively brainwashed to become good citizens. Nothing wrong as long as it makes everybody's life better.

    @ virtual

    There are indigenously developed "non-hip" words in Indian languages before which the three and four lettered "hip words" of the English language sound very polite.

    ReplyDelete