(easy to print version above)

STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO UNAPOLOGETIC WALKING is a compilation of things to remember while walking. It is in the form a down loadable print friendly version here * ( up in 1 day) - so do make sure it's up at your colleges, office , home, neighbourhood, local club and every where!

Share the results here.

1. walk very very slowly.
2. walk without your phone.
3. walk without your bag.
4. walk without your arms crossed or folded.
5. walk without your sunglasses.
6. walk without looking on the ground.
7. walk looking at passersby.
8. walk with your shoulders back
9. walk with your chin a little raised.
10. walk with a smile.
11. walk swinging your arms.
12. walk humming a song.
13. walk whistling.
14. walk day dreaming.
15. walk in the middle of a pavement.
16. walk alone.
17. walk without your duppata.
18. walk wearing the one garment you always wanted to but did not because you someone made you feel 'you are asking for it'.
19. walk alone.
20. walk at 7 am. 5 am. midnight. 3 pm. 1 pm. 9 pm.

Our street actions over the last few years have been based on emphasizing small simple scenarios- which can be challenging even though they appear 'normal' and everyday. For instance- should it be hard to just 'stand' on the street as an 'idle' woman?
Would you 'dare' try it?

Keeping in sync with that trajectory of thought we have published this poster on the Blank Noise Blog.
Here's a Step By Step Guide To Unapologetic Walking

We have attached a B/W print friendly version -should you want to print out this A3 size poster
and spread the word in your office, college, school, neighbourhood? anywhere you have access to.

Some of you who have been associated with Blank Noise for a while may have already tried the step by step guide-
in that case we invite you to share your experiences from or try it again!

We request you to take charge by volunteering to translate the poster in your local language as well.
Do email us at blurtblanknoise at gmail dot com to inform us if you're interested.

Ofcourse, your response is crucial to this proposal. share your response here
or simply leave it at the comments section on the post.

Be an Action Hero!

yours truly,

Blank Noise Team

Thanks to Rhea Daneil for suggesting easy to print b/w posters!

Thanks for spreading the word Sue!

Some months ago we had posted this on walking- based on interviews with women
in Manchester, UK.


Anonymous said...

I'm a little skeptical about this- though it is a good way to make a statement, what if something happens along the way and with no phone and no alternative plan at midnight? It may make you FEEL empowered but lets face it-the streets are unsafe (for women and men) so this might be suggesting people to be callous and it can lead to trouble- which will leave you feeling resposible.
Just walk the way you want to- don't walk to tempt fate the wrong way.

J said...

that is the first response- skepticism. and i truly hope it is followed by a surprise. try it. share it.

J said...

also please note - this is not a step by step guide to not get sexually harassed but rather a step by step way to walk without apology, guilt and anxiety.

Sue said...

We have yet to try the midnight walking. Let's do that next in Cal.

Anonymous said...

thatnks for this step by step guide. it helps

J said...

hey parantar- thanks- do try it and let us know what happened!
don't forget to take a print out and post it at work. office. college. wherever you may be!

J said...

hi sunny sue! yes we must. we did the night walk in bangalore first in 2003, then in 2007. besides doing a big event with radio indigo on women's day 2007. the smaller group walks were very exciting- just 4 of us or 8 of us walking through the city at night. the strangest part was that when cars stopped- they warned us saying " go home- it's not safe"
or a police man insisted on following us 'home' instead. most people were simply surprised to see women out on the streets past midnight. yamini. laura. ratna. me. debbie. sophie. smriti. sasha. nomita. ( hope i haven't missed out anyone!)

Anonymous said...

@ Jasmeen -this may be "a step by step way to walk without apology, guilt and anxiety" but that is how it should be all the time. What it comes across in your poster is that you are IMPLICATING certain rules.Like walk alone, walk without a cellphone, walk at any time of the night - some people may not understand that walking is just about walking.They might do what you have "suggested" as a challenge and you will be liable.
All i am saying is that even though what you are trying to send across is noble, you aren't saying it well enough.
Be responsible should be on it too!

J said...

@ unknown missing but enthusiastic anonymous.
i am no one to set rules.
on behalf of blank noise and from knowledge of collective experiences within and through this project- we proposed this idea. try it to know it to experience it to share it.

J said...

@ anon again-
please define responsibility.

Anonymous said...

I've walked all my life- without a phone in earlier days, wearing clothes I wanted to, without a dupatta, with my head held high, at all times of the night ....all the good experiences are distant memories, now its mostly nightmarish! I write out of experience and not out of ignorance.
I say "responsible" not "responsibility" because the to me the latter means that it is peoples (read :men's) responsibility towards us to protect us and not to harass us.
I am RESPONSIBLE for me, and that means I have to protect myself. Not cynical, just realistic!
~Ever enthusiastic happier anonymous

Sue said...

Anon-- I think cross-talk is happening here. The whole point of walking like this is to take responsibility for ourselves. I've done it so I know how it feels. After a while you feel so comfortable in your skin, on that street, it shows in your body.

Confident women do get molested less.

Anonymous said...

I think what anon is trying to say as many others eg: men and moms would, is a version of "trust in god but lock your car" Belief in freedom or the conviction for activism does not automatically mean one will accept unacceptable rick. I doubt many women who read and follow BN closely would walk alone in a mini past a bar at midnight, without their cell phones or with.

Some risk is inevitable, and tose who take them are responsible, there is no culpability or institutional guilt shared by BN or for that case any organization of its sort that promotes frontier activism.

Having said that, I also would say that till the male of our speces evolves to having universal genes of gentlemanliness, trust in god, blank noice and activism, but carry mace. (that's a metophor)

I wish there was a way i could reply in facebook,and it would be posted here,or someway this converstion could be followed there too.

Man i talk a lot.


J said...

schizo try control c and control v :)

J said...

about blog and facebook- since its the same discussion - let's just paste the same here and there- while it is still manageable.


Anonymous said...

@Schizo- I agree with you- maybe to me all the steps in Unapologetic Walking come across as "dares". I should look at it from another angle, I suppose. I'm not so hot on the way it has been phrased.Coming in the same category as men and mums scares me!:OP
Maybe if it was- I walk with my head high, I walk whistling, I walk wearing what I want to, I walk swinging my arms, etc etc- I'd be happier!
I can so I do!
~Anonymously enthusiastic

Anonymous said...

I have walked without my dupatta umpteen times. However, at that time I was wearing what you call a jaipuri kurta with salwar and it hardly matters if you do not wear a dupatta with it!

But the other things not specified in the list are not practical at all!

Shilpa Bhatnagar said...

The only time I've been able to do the above (except nos. 13, 14, 17 and 20), has been in London. But it has been only over the last ten months since I moved to a really nice 'posh' residential area where in general people you meet on the street are civil, well behaved and courteous. Yet, there've been times when i've been caught unawares - a strange man sitting on a restaurant table out on the pavement slurring some drunk comment at me, a couple of eastern european men saying something to me in a verbal language I didn't understand and in a physical language that I did and put me on my guard...

I would never 'dare' to do any of this in India. Because, you see, the bag, the sunglasses, the car with tinted glasses, the fixed scowl on my face, the tirade of 'gaalis' that I could muster up, the cellphone poised to make a call..they 'shielded' me against the 'enemy' - men who don't know how to behave themselves.

Sue said...

Mercury -- If you take the initial, difficult step, it does get easier. After a while you even notice that not everybody is looking at you. Try it. Without the sunglasses etc. Just walk down the street, wearing any clothes that you like, walk confidently and slowly, watching the crowds, the shop windows, enjoy the walk.

Concerned said...

My experiences of being eve teased have been irrespective of what I was wearing, whether or not I was walking alone, whether or not I had been singing and irrespective of the speed of my walk.
There have also been times when I've not been stared at, eve teased or groped. There have been times when I have been.
So I was just wondering what difference Unapologetic Walking would make.

Amazing Graze said...

how 'bout, walk, however you wish to, but ready to knock down anyone who thinks they can bump into you "accidentally" & get away with it. If anyone passes a comment, stop them & say "Come again, i didn't hear you well." It works every time.

Blank Noise said...

amazing greys- the point of this is 'you' as an individual and what happens to you when you try this. the focus is not the person attempting to 'accidentally' push or touch.

Blank Noise said...

akkar bakkar- at blank noise we are not saying that a woman is groped everytime she steps out- but yes she feels threatened everytime she steps out. i know how to move about the streets-like a snake, my body moves about on its own- protecting itself. i would almost automatically look down and walk like a snake through the crowds- elbows out, fast pace, looking angry, carrying more bags and things than required- all to protect myself. what would it be otherwise? try it to find out.

Feminist Review said...

This action is great because it makes the invisible boundaries that women in public spaces occupy visible. It plants the questions of 'why do I not (insert action here: smile, walk alone, not wear a dupatta) when I am in public?', and that is a very important question that many women do not ask. The next question that would follow, perhaps a MORE important question as an impetus to change, is 'why MUST I (insert action here) when I am in public?' Because the second question moves the responsibility from the individual to everyone that makes up a particular society, and in truth, we are ALL responsible.

I would also like to say that this is not meant to judge women for their choices. We must all decide what we can and cannot do, what keeps us safe and what may put us into situations that are unsafe. And no one should feel 'lesser than' if she is unable to take some of the more 'risky' actions on this list. Every act of rebellion is a necessary act for change to happen.

Blank Noise said...

thanks so much feminist review. that was the perfect explanation!

Suchita said...

i guess it all boils down to us women collectively implementing these steps... that way, the perverts on the street find nothing unusual in a woman walking confidently... on the other hand, if, on a busy street u find just one girl strolling boldly, it does attract unwanted attention...

rachita said...

hey this is a great initiative
i have taken few steps
and i must say it gives a strange confidence in me to walk on the streets!
i'll definitely be encouraging others!

J said...

that is so good to know! do email in and share what you tried out. this form might be useful

Marjorie said...

I lived in India during 12 months. Some may say that it is nothing compared to living in India all the time. But I experienced eve-teasing almost every day and I tried so many times to find what it did wrong. I tried getting out of the house as less as possible (since it was not safe)when not going to university but it did not prevent eve-teasing from happening. Then i tried to just face it... but i had some very bad experiences. Then my landlady explained that it was all because of my clothes: they were "too nice". So i tried to dress like an Indian girl... dupata, salwar... instead of shirts and jeans... but nothing changed. Then i decided to change my attitude in the street... I probably tried most of the things in the list... but i think the greatest change came when i realized that what i was lacking was confidence. So i started walking straight, without stepping aside when men came towards me on the pavement, looking at people in the eyes in a firm way when i had the impression that someone was tempted to come and bother me, stopping being scared to walk after sunset. Maybe it made a difference, maybe it didn't. But at least i knew i now had the guts not to stay locked inside my house and go out to meet some friends, come back by bus alone at 9pm if i wished. The different ways of walking helped me realise this even though I know the change came from the fact that i gained confidence. At least i was not scared anymore.

J said...

thanks marjorie! this one's for you and all those individuals who have been a part of Blank Noise street actions. This list was compiled with the knowledge of your experience and other action heroes experience.

bina said...

hi, ...im ok to try all the suggestions for/of jay walking and probably doing some all the time.
but the one without dupatta makes me feel naked!

J said...

that sounds fantastic- do try and let us know of your experiences.
i know what you mean when you say that the one without the dupatta makes you feel naked- i remember it being a tough one to try out but I did- and it works just fine. nope. doesnt feel naked anymore!

J said...

that sounds fantastic- do try and let us know of your experiences.
i know what you mean when you say that the one without the dupatta makes you feel naked- i remember it being a tough one to try out but I did- and it works just fine. nope. doesnt feel naked anymore!

Anonymous said...

I think at some point or the other all of us have consciously or in most cases unconsciously have followed these steps/points.

I don't want to belittle the effort made here and I also understand what these steps seek to do, to take note of how we behave in a public space. But somehow I can't relate to them. Especially the last point. It has been written about a lot in this section and as much as I want to do it I can't. It's just not possible.

On a more positive note, personally after having read this particular post, I have become more conscious of my walk.


Anonymous said...

I appreciate what you guys are doing and I'm sure you must have given it good thought before trying it out and encouraging otheres.

Just to clarify - is the whole point to
defensive and angry walking, use of "protective devices" such as phones, bags and dupattas
confidence, firmness and the ability to repel untoward sexual advances by this kind of confidence and self-belief?

hemangini said...

im also trying to figure out the contours of this debate... i have often tried to be self confident and unembarrassed about myself when walking in public and i have been harassed too many times for me to believe that my demeanor would be a deterrent to other people.

besides if blank noise says you 'do not ask for it', then it's not really about how you are projecting yourself on the street that determines what responses you get.

im seeing this event less as advocacy "try this great new walk tactic it will shine your appearance and work wonders!" and more as a sort of playful experiment that encourages you to forget the roughness of the street for some hours and to pretend as though you were out for the first time with no biases and past baggage of experience. so maybe it will not all be pleasant, maybe your defences were all perfectly justified in the first place (hell thats why you created them!), maybe you will never want to walk like this again... but atleast for the duration of this event, you will be celebrating a certain spirit and seeing how it works out when executed.

i could be totally off mark with this....

Unknown said...

ve tried some of the points in the list.. i ve always walked confidently and without wearin a dupatta too.. and i ve looked straight into their eyes.. it does feel great.. but i also have the feelin i ve been noticed for it... and im caught unawares by perverts only wen im day dreamin (read: not tat alert enough to notice wats comin behind ur back)...

Unnikrishnan R said...

Are you sure this is such a good idea?? The night time walking is not such a good idea, and even if you do so it might be good to alert the police about this. Maybe you could have groups of women walking together. I really agree with the other points regarding walking confidently and stuff. That will really make a difference. My fingers are crossed and I hope you endeavor is a success.

A concerned guy

PS - It would be great if NONE of you tried this in Kerala ... trust me

Ranjana said...

u know what unnikrishnan, im in kerala now, and the first few days here i hated walking on the streets because even if i didn't look, i could sense all male eyes poring through my clothes - i tried dressing conservatively and all that, but it didn't work. i walk without dupattas all the time and it was actually difficult trying to manage one here! ive realised men stare so freely because no one stares back at them. so now i stare at anyone who stares at me, pointedly look them up and down, and it is interesting to note how 95% of these men are so taken aback that they end up being the ones walking with their eyes to the ground. this awareness of what i can do to them makes me a more confident person on the streets. i don't see why i should dress conservatively to avoid attention, because a large section of eve-teasers i encounter will stare at anything that moves and is female.

preposterous girl said...

I took up this challenge of unapologetic walking about 3 months ago..I have blogged about the experience..HAve a look..

Julia Dutta said...

Yea, I like this idea. all it takes is blatant acceptance of our bodies as women without fear and it can dispel the worse. If I am fearless about my body and I don't allow them society to tell me what I need to do with my breasts - hide them, show them - whatever! I believe i create an atmosphere of strength around me. Blank Noise - keep up the good work!

vignathkumar said...

first of all i request u to cteat awerness about eve teasing dialougs in tamil cinema and tv serials which is oppose to women demorasy and equality. in those dialougs consepts it is said that dress is the reason for eve teasing.
second thing is some local tamil male domination supportive psychartist doctors opnions.
they blame on innecont women victum and dress and make the commeter male escape.
these are the situvations in chennai.

game said...

currently i am in london but i spend a 6 months in india so according to me when you live in india there is a fear in you about bomb blast and any accident like that. YOu are not safe whether you are travelling in bus or train.

micro sd said...

I believe If i find someone looking at me intently, even for a long period, he is NOT likely to be a stalker. We have a certain fascination for fair skin in this part of the world, so just try to ignore it. Bangalore is generally safe even after 9pm but exercise caution with auto drivers, avoid shopping areas in the city centre on weekends cos that's when the problematic sorts from Bangalore and outwith make their weekly trip.