Bibiji Zyara Dheere Maro

In an excursion through the Blogosphere, I came across this place—The Blank Noise Project. The point it makes is that leching at women is an offense. Not just groping and passing vulgarities (which undeniably are)

Even looking at girls, with unclean thoughts, is a crime.

Let me quote:

Men, ruled by libidos, do things like this. As junk_alpha pointed out, demeaning thoughts may not be an offense under the law. But what about the scars left on a woman when it happens? The feeling that your body is dirty and unworthy, that’s a playground only for lust and not tenderness? Is legality the only space for this? What about humane sensitivity?

My regular readers (yes I know that is a very exclusive group) would know that I find the argument ” Provocatively-dressed ladies ask for it” to be morally repugnant. But at the same time I feel that the above hyper-feminist point of view goes too far.

If a girl wears provocative clothes ( and of course the word ‘provocative’ is a very subjective word….in Afghanistan it’s exposing your cheeks….face cheeks that is) then I am of the belief that men have the right to look. And the right to think.

Just as the feminist’s argument for dressing provocatively is “It’s my body and I am free to flaunt it” ( as articulated in this line from a song in a B-grade Bollywood movie called “Vijeta”–
“Ghunghat mein mukhre ko kyon main chupayoon, Rup diya Ram ne to kyon na dikhanoon”) , I can also say, in the same way, “It’s my eyes and I am free to look. It’s my mind and I am free to think.”

A caveat. “It’s my hands and it’s free to touch what it likes” does not cut it cause the activity of ‘touching’ is a reciprocal one—-a touch involves two parties and any touch is “illegal” as long as both parties do not agree beforehand that it is desired. However looking at someone is not “reciprocal” and certainly not thinking.

And just like feminists resist people labeling them because of their choice of dress, (ie loose women dress provocatively), they should accord men the same dignity by not labeling them
according to what they may be thinking and where their eyes are going.

“Look Mamma I am showing some cleavage —-that’s fine, I got em……not harming anyone but that horrible man is looking at them… mind is permanently burnt up now.”

If you do not want attention, then your dress should represent that choice.

Of course, dressing conservatively still does not mean that men wont look or think “Dhak dhak karne laga” but it does reduce the chance if it really bothers you that much.

I have had this conversation before with my female friends and the overwhelming majority of them say that they don’t mind getting looked at, even enjoy it if the guy is worth looking at too. Noone enjoys getting groped and my argument is not there—-it’s about why feminists have to make even decent men, who may steal a glance or two, feel like a serial rapist who has “defiled their soul” by virtue of their glances. The contention that looks leave scars on a womans mind is , well, overstating the case.

The second point I wish to make is…in all the posts on sexual harassment raging on in the desi blogosphere there is one group of people who everyone has forgotten. Men. Why is it that whenever a girl says that someone is “looking at her” , people go “Chi chi ghar main ma bahen nahin hain?” while when a man says that a girl is looking at him lasciviously, everyone (girls and boys) start laughing.

We had a guy at Stonybrook who was very meterosexual—-spending hours a day grooming and putting face packs every Friday night. He always used to claim, in all seriousness, that he was sick and tired of girls treating him as a sex object and denuding him with their eyes. Everyone laughed at him and girls ,when told about his accusations against them, would say :

“What does he think of himself?”

“Just another pathetic way to get attention.”

“Does he ever look at himself in the mirror—-does he think he is John Abraham?”

Now why did noone, even stark feminists among the Stonybrook junta, ever believe that his soul was actually being scarred by the x-ray visions of females ?

Because he was a man.

Because the assumption is that women are different—they do not ogle or mentally strip men. Because the assumption is that even if they might do it to John Abraham, they will never do it to people like the guy I mentioned. And because the assumption is no man, even if he is ogled, would feel genuinely distressed and cry about it—he would feel thankful.

Now arent these assumptions stereotypes along the lines of “Women should stay in the kitchen” ?

Which brings me to the crux of my point—–why the reverse discrimination?

Case in point.

Principal secretary (home) and Bhopal superintendent of police on Thursday apparently bore the brunt of the embarrassment CM Babulal Gaur faced a day before when activists of an NGO demonstrated against him in front of the state BJP headquarters, accompanied by two men whose wives they said had been seduced by the CM into an illicit relationship. Members of Mahila Utpiran Virodhi Morcha alleged that the chief minister was breaking the homes of two men whose wives, Shagufta and Shameena, he had seduced into illicit relationships.

Babuji zara dheere chalo. You have “seduced” two innocent women. Which is a crime against the female species because the Mahila mandal (Mahila Utpiran Virodhi Morcha which translates to Movement against Torture of Women) says so.

Read a bit more.

Incidentally, a month ago, Shagufta Kabir, chief of the state’s Panch Ja Project with a MOS rank, beat up her husband Salim and broke his bones.

Broke his bones? The innocent lady who is being predated upon broke the bones of her husband? A month ago? Where was the “Purush Utpiran Virodhi Morcha” then ?

Of course they were not there———because they just don’t exist.

So now the MUVM is taking up the cause of the two husbands—-not because they are being bashed up by their wives, but because someone else is “snatching” their wives away. Again the guilty person is the man doing the seducing and not the women (hence the “utpiran” part).

Concluding…..ok ladies come on now…….looking is not a crime…..imaginative thoughts are also not a crime as long as you do not act on them without mutual consent.

And also please remember the old saying:

” Sticks and stones do hurt our bones .”

Names———–we are used to.

60 thoughts on “Bibiji Zyara Dheere Maro

  1. Yeah, if women had their way they would make us wear a hood like an execution victim.

    Besides, why do they expose if they dont want men to look. Does this mean that they want other women to look..or maybe non humans.

    As an aside..Greatbong..lets have a piece on Mamata’s historical histrionics.

  2. ok..first i admit, i am a fan. i read ur blog very regularly n u rock!..even this one’s written very cool, one wd read , say its cool n forget it. but this issue i m sorry to say a guy will never understand. i m not a feminist n i wont mind a second glance but wat really really is a big issue is all the cheap stuff u get to hear n that from some of the scum of the society, rickshawallahs , wehle , awara janta who break off into some cheap jargon or a cheaper hindi song the momnent they see a seems below ur dig to respond wen u actually wanna brk their bones. n its not abt provocative dressing- consequences of that r too horrendous these days.
    but tell me if thinkin n talkin freely is ur right how wd u feel that everytime u step out, every second person u meet suddenly starts givin u maa behen ki gaali. wd u be fine with that?
    n if the same happened to everybdy, the world sure wd be an interesting place to live in.
    man..u have rights , u have freedom to express urself, but u gotta have control , u gotta knw whr to stop, thts the diff bw man n animal yaar.
    if we go by this funda, tom we’ll hv ppl up in arms coz they r not bein alowed to pee in public.

  3. very very interesting as usual

    I have strong views on this, in a country like ours, YUPPIES and undergrads, who hav grown up on V and LEE and studied in Co eds treat women with respect and a buddy buddy nature (now that includes x people out of say y)

    the trouble occurs, when people from rural areas, haryana and punjab villages(no offence meant), see these women on streets. The urban rural divide is too great and thats what causes troubles, sadly there are too many cases of rape in our country and not serious enough punishments

    i have seen more than a few glimpses of auto and rickshaw wallahs, turning heads and what not, made me feel disgraced, quite simply. Eve and Adam teasing are relative terms for the definition varies from one to another. i have had a few comments thrown at me, a couple of times, which were returned with good humor and no malice at all.

    What i cant understand is whats the big deal with women having freedom of expression with how they dress. why is it a big deal?
    57 years and counting, what have we achieved, its a matter of lifestyle choice, yes they go overboard. But the urban youth of desparate housewives, sex and the city and basic instinct fame should knw better

    Defining rights and morals would be like differentiating b/w a jehadi & a devout religious muslim, u never knw when the line is crossed
    i like girls and have the utmost respect for them, IMHO, there r a few things which they are not apt at, but there are more than a few things at which im no good.

    so i dont really suggest a solution, but i wont ever contribute to the problem

  4. @Anon…you took the thought right out of my mind…I was planning to do a post on Didi myself…will do.

    @me_myself: Someone abusing me in public is a reciprocal action—I am having to hear it. However when light rays (which are in any way going to be reflected) are incident upon my eye…I am *not* engaged in an activity in which you are a participant( the light ray would have been reflected regardless of my presence)

    Ultimately its as you said, a matter of control. However the concept of control is very subjective—some people feel that plunging necklines are also manifestations of animalistic, uncontrolled behavior.

    However I am not among that “some people”.

    @almost_useless—an interesting point about the cultural rural-urban divide…..a different, no doubt worth discussing issue. There is no problem with sartorial liberation—if wearing less clothes can be defined to be that. But being “liberated” enough to bare and then shouting “ooh he is ogling me’ seems to be a bit hypocritical.

  5. yes yes! Waiting for the post on Didi 🙂

  6. Bong,
    I think women don’t mind a shy look, a glance or even a short stare. If that happens, no one is sure if the guy (or gal, but lets stick to the point here) finds her attractive, thinks she resembles someone he knows or is mentally undressing her. Such a glance is something most ladies won’t mind. What they DO mind is incessant stareing for several minutes, snide comments, and definitely “inappropriate” touching.

    Constant staring IS a reciprocal action. Its not just light rays falling on your eyes, its setting your gaze to the object the light rays get reflected from. Therefore, complaining about it is absolutely valid, IMO. It doesn’t matter if a girl shows ample cleavage to hold a minibus or is dressed in a burkha. Of course, a girl in a decolette top is more likely to tolerate a glance that lingers moments longer than a burkha-clad lady. Its all reciprocal and the line where the limit of ones comfort is crossed changes from individual to individual. But no matter who the individual is, there will be clear signs that she is feeling uncomfortable. The problem is that a number of people (perhaps a minority, but still far too large a number) refuse to take the cues and continue their gazing. That really is the problem.

    I know a hard-core feminist, and even she doesn’t confront any guy who “happens to glance” at her.

  7. Your example of your metrosexual friend is interesting. Of course the star gazing happens from the other side too; again there is nothing wrong in a glance or a gaze that lingers for a while. Your friend must be getting uncomfortable only when the gaze lingers for too long. The reason for the different response in this case is simply social conditioning. It isn’t any more right for a girl to stare at a guy feeling uncomfortable with it than it is the other way around. However, ask your friend how many times has he been groped or how many times he has felt that the situation could get much worse (molestation or rape). Therefore, it isn’t often that we hear of people like your friend.

    Hearing him, I may laugh too. That doesn’t mean it (laughing) is right. However, laughinng off on your friend is less likely to have larger consequences than laughing off on a similar situation when the subject is a girl.

  8. Didn’t mean to populate your comment column so much. Sorry about that! A new para should start after “social conditioning”. I wasn’t using groping example for “social conditioning.”

  9. @Niket,
    You see staring for 1 min is good but 2 mins is not…(which is what you said when you said you can glance but cannot keep looking) is a very subjective decision (different girls may have different thresholds). And again, if a man looks at 4 minutes then its his decision…again this is for looking and thinking only.

    Again gauging discomfort is subjective…which is why the rule of thumb should be that if you are uncomfortable in front of prolonged male gazing, then it is better to not to dress in a way that makes it more likely. Again accepted that men often ogle conservatively dressed women too…
    but busstopping dresses in general are the eye-stoppers.

    Still maintain the light ray thing though…thanks for stopping by my blog.

    @SD 🙂

  10. I would somewhat take the side of Niket and argue that that sexual
    harassment of men is too rare to warrant a special forum to voice their woes. Again, I only read the part posted here, not the entire stuff; however, this is just crying wolf to complain about only being LOOKED AT for a long
    time, no matter in what way such action may be interpreted.

    I agree that sexual harassment of
    women is still a social problem in an Indian context (even in more
    educated urban parts) and quite concerned about how to root out or at least mitigate the malaise. But, ladies, do not set off false alarms, please. It does not help. It only waters down the real women cause.

  11. Arnab, don’t even bother. This is one of those issues where it’s futile to comment.

    Re: staring. In Massachusetts, there used to be a law that said staring at a woman for 30 seconds continuously constitutes sexual harassment. My colleague made it a point to stare at his Yank friends for 28 seconds at a time until they cracked up.

    Your previous post rocks. But you used David Dhawan to rant against the Johar / Chopra genre.

    When were you at Stonybrook? Economics?


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  13. this might be a duplicate comment, my internet froze

    Bongomoshai, i had posed the exact same question to the exact same blog owner some time ago, i had asked wots wrong with leching, are we gonna police minds now? And i got the response that its not leching in itself that is objectionable to women, it is the leching accompanied by crude remarks, basically, anything that is done with the motive of making the woman uncomfortable. And i was satisfied with the reply. This was actually a debate that went on at charu’s blog I cant access the permalink right now for some reason otherwise i would have given it.

  14. I agree with ‘me myself’ when she says ‘a guy will never understand’.I’m not in a position to generalise about women in general but speaking for myself,if I dress provocatively(which I admit I do sometimes)I know men will look,no,stare and I accept that.But there have been a lot of times when I have been dressed ‘normally'(and by ‘normally’ I mean with no special emphasis on my assets)and people have looked and looked and looked.I’m sorry,you cannot POSSIBLY understand how uncomfortable and irritating that is.It’s not just about dressing provocatively.

  15. @Akash…no doubt that sexual harassment is more a problem with females than males…but my problem is with the extention of sexual harassment to encompass “prolonged” staring..

    @JAP…..thanks. I used David Dhawan mainly because “Rabid Ravan” sounded nice 🙂

    I was doing a PhD in Computer Science at Stonybrook…was at JU and South Point before.

    @gawker….satisfied with it too…crude comments are def not on…

    @srin…..hmm maybe it is tough for me to understand….and btw thanks for visiting my blog…

  16. to when…from 1999 to 2004.

  17. well thats there the usual “a man wont understand” line n its true to a certain extent ….until u hav a teenaged daughter or a v beautiful wife/gf that is………but u see its not the staring per se which is what v object to (even when it is for long…) its the fear that it generates,,…when some1 stares at me for too long i start panicking i start thinking my god is he goin to follow me home …..shud i get down from the bus ….what is he goin to do….i agree w/ niket .its bcoz v hav been groped n squeezed too often as teenagers n even as adults to just ignore it ….the fear is too deeply rooted ..if u hav been followd home n hav working parents well its scary…….n guess what im not even pretty n am quite fat to boot n no dont dress provocatively(in the indian sense not afgani sense)………well leching is scaring in that sense….

  18. Dude, you haven’t had people (including your professors/boss) staring at your breasts while talking to you (just to make it clear – even when you are dressed in jeans and a loose tshirt), have you? Or people in public transport stare continuously at your not-so-public parts while you squirm in discomfort? I don’t know who your women friends are and what they told you, but it looks like they either haven’t been in such situations (these are very common situations by the way – ask any woman who goes out in public in any Indian city) or they haven’t been thinking about what they were saying.

  19. @Anon1…I understand the fear you talk about..of being stalked/followed…but there are a lot of gawkers who will just move their heads 180 when you pass by, sigh once and get along with their lives…all I am saying is that this activity is not harassment…

    The fear is because following someone almost always leads to an activity which is “reciprocal”……merely looking usually does not.

    @Anon2…..I think you are the same person who posted on my hottie hottie bong bong post…(by the similar style of writing and by the use of the word “dude” to show “kya cool hain hum” )

    All engg guys are rude and dont know how to speak, your bosses/professors look at your breasts….wow you really had a tough life…

  20. I have traveled in many western countries and Australia, and have been very amused to see girls wearing dresses which were by Indian standard very daring; low neckline, slits in the leg, micro-midi-mini. Despite such ‘provocations’ the incidence of sexual harassment (from physical assault to vulgar staring) in these countries is quite low compared to India, I guess. But when you come to think of it that sexual modesty is way more an Indian tradition than western then the apparent plights of Indian women seem to puzzle you. What went wrong with traditional Indian prudishness (TID)? Is it just a veneer under which wriggle thousands of poisonous snakes? Are they really so much hypocritical as this? Or we are just making mountain of a mole? I think it is now important to confront this problem head on , that is, addressing this scourge based on scientific analyses (socio-psycho-economic) to get to the bottom of it. Why Indian males have become so restless? Ladies, come forward please with bags full of solutions not vengeance. You are our best bets in fighting against that.

  21. Like the opinions expressed here. Will check back.

    I am at chocolate cheesecake recipeif you wish to check it out:-)

  22. @anon2: I am very worried about you and your boss/professor. Both are endangered.

  23. As any normal guy in early twenties i love looking (and i avoid using the word staring) at women. And its just for the sake of admiration (and nothing more) for i lack the guile or the inclination to “net” them. However when they look back at me i feel very embarrassed & it shows on my face. bangabandhu ..any suggetions?

  24. @He-who-calls-me-Bongobondhu,

    Look casually away…..embarassment is a sign that you know you were upto no good….man main khot tha…

    As Q tells James Bond—

    1. Never let them see you bleed
    2. Always have a escape plan.

    Rememeber that when you look….:-)

  25. Okay, this is a difficult question to answer – I’m a woman and a feminist.

    I like looking good. Whether this is because I like being admired or because I like seeing myself look that way in the mirror I’m not sure. But there is a difference between ‘looking’ and ‘leering’.

    Usually, when men of a similar economic and educational background to mine look, and when I catch them looking, they seem a little embarrassed. Presumably because they know that I’m unlikely to *appreciate* what they’re thinking. Now look at the men on Jasmeen’s blog. Caught leching, staring, or even making suggestive comment, they seem to stare at the camera as if they have a right to be doing what they’re doing. That’s what women are there for.

    When a man stares at you, there’s usually this feeling of being threatened.. most men are physically stronger than most women. We know this. We also know that many men have been brought up to believe that women are theirs for the taking. Which is why eventhe man who stares for a minute then turns back to whatever he’s doing is scary – because you know he could do so much more.

    While I certainly do not advocate the policing of men’s thoughts, I just wish they could make what they’re thinking slightly less obvious. There’s something unsettling about being an ‘object’ of someone else’s fantasies… it’s being used sexually by a whole horde of strangers, and I, for one, feel tainted.

  26. And as for the first ‘anonymous’ comment. Sometimes women don’t dress for anyone to look at all. Every morning at 7:30 I go to college for sports practice. I wear *gasp* shorts. Is this because I want men to stare at my legs? No, it’s because I can’t run in full length trousers, or a long skirt. I even take the car to spare the male libido the sight of my legs. [Of course, in between getting out of the car and entering the college gates (about 10 metres?) a passing rickshawalla will slow down, a man dropping his kids off at the school opposite the college will stare, etc.]

  27. err..I had posted on this myself some time ago, prompted by the very same blank noise project. Thought of a lot of things to say, but as JAP says, it’d probably be useless.
    One thing though: Yes, there is a difference between looking and leering (dirty, unclean et al looking) but that is a purely subjective thing, and is not determined by which body part is being looked at. As I had mentioned in my post, or in a comment elsewhere I think, what if I look at a woman’s..erm..secondary sexual organs, and yes, am titillated by them (gasp), and proceed to write immortal, neruda-esque poetry about it? Alright, forget even the poetry, even if it gives rise to purely sexual thoughts, I see nothing wrong with that. I’d venture so much as to say that a woman who finds it all right if her eyes or face or hands are being looked at, but screams bloody murder when the gaze falls a few inches below her clavicle, is uncomfortable with her own sexuality. Let us face it: we are sexual beings. As in we are not only sexual beings, but we also are sexual beings. “Innocent” looking exists only in the realm of seventies hindi films. When it does become offensive, though, is when it is evident from the nature of the “look” that the man only has animalistic carnal behaviour in mind, and looks upon the woman only as a receptacle of his carnal imnulses. The difference is usually pretty obvious.
    On an unrelated note, Arnab-da: South Point? Now I know why you looked so familiar- have seen your posts on the community on Orkut. But you were probably a few years before by time- I passed out in ’99, by which time you’d finised your engineering I suppose. Arijit Sengupta’s batch?

  28. ashwariya i agree w/ u completely …..
    also trying to suggest an ans to akash here….
    y r indian men given to leching / raping/molesting
    1> since talking abt sex is/used to be tabooo n well premarital sex is *touba touba * horror ….could it be or rathre is it the forbidden fruit is more tempting thing??
    2> or maybe the example of eve teasing set by krishna is taken to heart by indian men????(sorry NO offence meant to believers/worshippers its just my personal opinion)
    3> or is it bcoz of the way indian men ar brought up….given to thinking “women are theirs for the taking”…..
    4> my mom firmly believes its the way women react to ny kind of molestation on screen( read usual hindi movie ) ….as if they njoy the action ( both reciprocal n non reciprocal)
    i dont know if these reasons seem palusible but well i hav thought abt it many times n cudnt come up w/ better ones without condemning indian men or rather men of the sub conti as perverted sex fiends…
    whatever the reason the feeling that we are unclean is hard to get rid of ….the fact that this is common doesnt make it any easier to bear …u cannot imagine the amount of sheer frustration helplessness can generate
    ……n however skeptical u r gr8bong abt “dude’s” comment.. it happens

  29. hey im sorry, this has nothting to do with this post, but since we have been together in this
    all of u pls read this

    a conjecture of a old pal of mine

  30. @Ash and Anon….I respect what you say even though I have a slightly different take on things.

    @Kaashapeya…I am a batch senior to Arijit Sengupta….though I know him (used to that is) pretty well…so what does he do nowadays?

  31. So much has already been said, there’s hardly any more value I can add here. Just one thing though, for all those non-Bangaloreans: Staring at your not-so-public-parts is the norm in this blighted IT capital. You don’t have to be an autowallah, public commuter or even dress provocatively for that matter. Even your bloody billionaire/millionire CEO who may be the epitome of manners and etiquette before the foreign client won’t be looking at your face and talking. You may be wearing a sari, a salwar kameez (with the dupatta well and firmly placed to cover your assets) but he’ll be speaking with his eyes resting cooly and lustily “there”. As a woman, it’s difficult to ignore, but that’s the best thing to do and get on with life. Coz, again, as rightly said here by someone, this is a fultile discussion.

  32. idea. post stanford he was with oracle, involved with xml or some such. internet references to him stop about two years ago. So I don’t know where he is or what he is doing now. I was about four batches after him (that ‘d mean five batches after yours)- I wrote my HS in 99. I know him because I was a very active member of the quizzing team pretty much all through high school- yes, one of Barry O’ Brien’s boys. You’d be Vinayak and Suranjan’s batch then? or perhaps a year junior to them

  33. I am 2 years junior to Vinayak and Suranjan-da…I used to work for Barry O Brian’s Heritage company doing some production work for the Green Teen quiz (I think that was the name) for Doordarshan….and was present on the sets as “help” during the recording of the Sananda quiz…this sister of Prasenjit (forget her name–possibly Pallavi) was one of the “quizmasters” and one of the teams had the name “Sphulingo” and she kept on saying “Poo Lingo” ….it was hard to keep a straight face.

    @Priya…no kidding !

  34. pallavi,yes. ROFL. I was in the innaugural edition of green teen by the way. we came third in the national finals.

  35. Sorry for entering this discussion late – but I had a couple of things to say, mainly regarding the point you made about your male friend and why the rules are different.

    Well, speaking as a man who has been at the receiving end of unwanted sexual advances from the opposite sex, I must say that the rules CANNOT be the same for men and women in this regard. And yes, a man does not feel the same way as a woman after such an experience, so to suggest that men are similarly scarred is incorrect.

    I did compare notes with my female friends and realised there was a major difference in the thoughts that flashed through our minds. Yes, there was revulsion. During the instances of ‘just looking’, there was also an ego boost. The one thing that was always missing was – fear. At no point was I afraid for the safety of my life and/or limb. Being a man means you are born with a distinct advantage in physical strength and that makes all the difference. When I was whistled at on a deserted street, I knew that if the perpetrator attacked me, I would have no difficulty in fighting her off. When a woman tried to feel me up in an auto, I pushed her away and she stayed away – she knew too that this was not a fight she could win.

    That’s why, Arnab, the women are right in saying that we men can never understand. Even when we undergo the same experiences, the mere fact of our gender makes its impact different. Just ask yourself – could any woman EVER rape you?

  36. Your reasoning fascinates me. I had no idea anyone thought this way after the year 1952.


  37. @Deepa….mmm what part of my argument sounded like it was from 1952 ?

    @Gamesmaster G9, Okay now that you mention it I too have been stalked and harassed by a girl in school. Now unlike you I did feel physically threatened. That was because I knew that if the girl, out on the open streets of Kolkata, accused me of doing something “bad” to her the people would first beat me up (gonodholai) and then talk to me. I had done nothing with the girl….didnt even know her that well…and yet she accused me of doing some not-so-nice things.

    And she was virtually threatening me knowing that if its me vs a girl its always the girl whose words are trusted (Bhodro barir meye tomar naam-e baaje katha bolbe?). It was not just junta justice it was about going to the school authorities….

    So yes I did feel physically intimidated. Now as to the actual act of rape, in the early 90s a bunch of college girls, while watching a blue film became so “excited” that they raped the video parlour guy who had come to take the casettes….I am not saying its a common thing but it does happen.

    However, its a very common thing that when its a guy vs a girl “he said she said” it’s always the guy who is fighting a losing battle. I dont see any feminists/masculinists shedding tears there.

  38. From the tone of certain comments, let me make it clear….this post was not intended to be serious at all… was like most of my posts very tongue-in-cheek.

    However I do believe that there are some disparities in the treatment of men and women in the same situation….but again it was never my intention to belittle or trivialize in any way the trauma a girl goes through….

  39. Really, it is your entire argument. I thought only people in the 1950s thought this way, educated men these days were much more progressive. But I must say your arguments are really interesting. Let me encourage you to keep blogging more such views.


  40. @Deepa….my entire argument on what? Methinks doth see too much in my post….its a pity that you find me a 50s MCP….however I wont dignify that accusation by trying to defend myself.

  41. Demonstratedly Superlative Stuff. I’ve been reading up on your blog since quite some time and you never cease to amaze me.

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m a rabid individualist and hate the very foundations of feminism

    “Feminist” is a euphimistic term for someone who is a rabid misandrist, and the sad part is that it is “Fashionable” even though it is equally reprehensible as male chauvinism

    I hate the way all men get bracketed as “morally debased” by default. And I wonder who decides what is moral.

    And now they want to police even our thoughts?? Its a goddamned free country

    This reminds me of George Orwell

  42. Thank you Vulturo for “getting it”

  43. Arnab and everyone else…
    I am super super late in commenting this..(at the rate arnab churns out blogs,its easy to fall behind I guess..)..anyway, a mention of ‘stony brook feminists’ on Arnab’s post deserved a comment from a female ex-stony brook student,although not feminist,I hasten to add.
    Its interesting that my buddy arnab, who otherwise stays sooo current with EVERYTHING else chooses to write about something like this in today’s ‘Sex and the City’ day and age…and people respond with “why do women dress like that if not for us?” ..”if they could, they’d hang us”.Women here are getting offended trying to explain why women take offence when guyz look at them and the danger and the fear factor involved, etc. All this when buses all over Sex & the City’s NYC say ‘Carrie Bradshaw knows good sex…”…makes me feel like things havent changed since my father went to Engineering school in a small town in India.

    People GROW UP!!!I feel that ALL guys who feel that ‘Oh my God women think we are perverts just because we look at their ..’ are all people who do not have female freinds on an equal footing…who have trouble approaching women they consider pretty..and this is not intended to hurt anyone’s pride, all I am saying is, if you claim, as many of you do,that you only look at women with admiration, then learn to befreind her, talk to her, something doesnt have to necessarily get going, and beleive me,women of today are open enough to hear a ‘Wow girl, you got a great booty there’ if she knows that you are a real freind, and that you really just’admire’ her assets(almost like telling a girl ‘you’re very pretty’)…and that you’re not going to turn around and rape her(which is a separate discussion in itself, rape is also about being *very* psychotic, nasty and violent, just leching isn’t necessarily proof that the person is capable of rape).An open, freindly approach, where you are not necesarily talking about what clothes she likes to wear, or where she likes to party, talk to her about everything that you would talk about to another guy.’Befreind’ her, which automatically implies that you are not objectifying her, and when you do admire her ‘assets’ its like admiring tha fact that she paints/cooks/sings really well, which are assets to her personality.
    This kind of open association and conversation builds trust and freindship.Then eventually, just like you can’t stare at the beautiful blue sea for your whole life although you might not change your mind about its beauty, you will start getting accustomed to seeing pretty, well endowed women and wont have to be bitter and churn out 1950 type posts..(hope you will take that well arnab, coming from me), women will not mind your admiring looks (as someone pointed out,women can tell a nasty look from an admiring one),everybody wins! And who knows an ineresting thailand-like culture might evolve!
    In fact, I will add to what I said about a characteristic trait about all men who agree with Arnab, I think you are also inherently sexist, if you saw a woman who could be objectified with her assets, it does not come aturally to you to have a conversation with her.You’d much rather watch her swing her hips, take a deep breath..or just patiently wait till she does all of those things. She is a ‘ treat to watch’ ..lets keep her that way.Guyz, you dont agree? If you do that, then obviously, for lack of knowing what kind of person you are, some pretty lady has no incentive to trust you and think of your glances as only ‘admiring’.

    This is not meant to be derogatory to men, people could be inherently sexist, for a number of reasons. It says nothing about their personality.
    And women who commented on this post, and said that women object because this could lead to rape,I feel Rape is another crime, just like it takes a certain type of person to commit murder, it takes a certain type of person to ‘rape’ as well.So if men are scared on a lonely road, of being mugged,stabbed,robbed,shot at,well you know, we women need to be careful of one more thing, I guess.And given the times, it probably holds good for men too.(Many cases of men raping men in the dark alleys of Bombay,no less, go uncovered..).So hey!
    [Arnab is a good freind of mine, so hope I can trust him to take this well! Oh and BTW, great choice of subject!]

  44. @Bubbles…wow thats some comment ! Mainly because my replies could spawn a post or two (and it will). But let me reply as briefly as possible here…subsequent posts shall carry elucidations.

    I would be the happiest person in the world if every lady was Carrie Bradshaw. The world is not NYC…and my point of reference is India. Where one just cannot go upto a lady and introduce oneself. I also feel that its not universally possible in US also (except in certain rarefied circles as “Sex and the City” depicts).

    Now whether someone looking at a woman analyzes her as a sum of her parts or as a person to be befriended varies from individual to individual. I personally am agonstic in this respect but common sense says that the person who consistently does the former is going to remain lonely for his adult life.

    I do not accept I am inherently sexist. When I see an attractive female (or used to be before marriage 🙂 ) my first impulse would not be to go “oooh aaah what a …” it would be to befriend her. Of course the fact that I befriended her may have been guided by the ooh-aah factor…….and perhaps even if she was not much of a conversationalist, I would secretly ooh and aah even then…but my first impulse is to see everyone as a person.

    Well why have I not gone up and struck up a conversation with every female I wanted to know?

    Because of the way most Indian women think. Its our culture.. even girls dont treat men as persons but as men. Because they would think “line marne ki koshish chaloo hain”….and I dont want to be thought of in that way.

    Which is why I met my wife on Yahoo !chat. I can wager that if I saw her anywhere else I would never have gone up and talked to her. Maybe looked at her quite a bit…but thats it. However in chat, since the physical presence is gone we can get right to the conversation part without none of the “baggage”.

    The other point is that I am sure the feminists among my readers do not ascribe to the fact that talents like singing, writing and physical attributes are on the same plane—ergo “You write well” would be treated with a smile but “Shake it baby” wont. Not just feminists, I think most girls would draw a sharp distinction—the second kind of compliment they would accept not even from dear friends but only from a boyfriend/husband.

    However my main point was that looking at women is not a crime—even the prolonged stare. As you said and I agree 100% the rapist/molester is a different kettle of fish altogether…that person has crossed a different threshold. My secondary point was that men get discriminated against both ways—for looking and for getting looked at.

    Now that you talk about men raping men in Mumbai I am going to avoid it like the plague.

  45. You make chauvinistic comments like this — and you are even married? Oh my God! My heartiest sympathies for your wife!

  46. Anon, And my heartiest sympathies to your husband…if you ever get one.

  47. aha! i just discovered this place. good to see this discussion rolling.

    no one here is attempting to make it a sexless society. your friends may take it as a compliment when ‘looked’ at and I may take it as an offence because of the way im being looked at. looking, staring, leching.

    one can be stripped naked by just the way they are looked at.

    at a recent interview with strangers in the majestic bus stand, bangalore, a middle aged woman said,
    ” they dont do anything, they just stare at you from top to bottom.”

    your question about laughing at men- it being a joke
    true. well that speaks for years of conditioning/ of showing ‘mardangi’
    when a group of boys were interviewed in an enclosed collgee space, they all had stories to share but they laughed while they shared.
    ” its no big deal ya. i felt sorry for the guy because he was gay and had no where to express it.”
    * and then everyone laughed.

    they were all 19- 21 years.
    (stereotypes and living up to them
    the mard / masculine male and the
    gay/ ‘wimp’)
    back to the majestic bus stand, one guy said that young boys are scared of coming to majestic because of the older women harassing them.

    bottom line:
    1. this is not a male vs female project.
    2. it talks about street sexual harassmnet being a crime- (all forms of street harassment)
    3.believes that no body asks for it., who decides what is appropriate dressing?

  48. @Jasmine,

    Thanks for visiting my site and linking this to your blog. And most importantly, my heartfelt appreciation for “actually doing something” (as opposed to just sitting and blogging which is what people like me do) about an issue that sorely deserves to be dealt with.

    As you yourself pointed our, different females have different comfort levels. While we have universally accepted norms like “No women are going to be comfortable with being touched” which leaves no room for ambiguity, it is very difficult for men to know what specifically the woman he is gazing at has pegged her comfort level.

    As mentioned before, I have had quite a few of my female friends who do not object to being looked over. One of my female friends was more specific—-she said that she felt offended when “low class” luccha tapori people or perverted “uncle types” leered at her but did not mind if the guy looking was a cute guy in “her age group”.

    Here we start getting into gray territory cause every guy considers himself to be “cute” (the current interlocutor excluded)—-so it is not possible for a guy who looks at a woman to *know* what her comfort level is.

    Another example…”Bubbles’ (who I know from outside the blog world) says that guys, instead of treating women as objects, should treat them as persons by going upto them and “befriend” them by starting to talk. Again I understand that a guy got his picture taken on Blank Noise for specifically this transgression—going up and talking to you (Please correct me if I am wrong—this is what I understood).

    Which brings me to the question—how is a guy, a priori supposed “to know” when women themselves have so many different comfort levels?

    What however has pained me a lot is that so many people have called me a MCP/misogynist (a labeling I deeply detest) for raising this point—it seems that anyone who has any contrary point of opinion is subject to “personal attack” by certain opinion terrorists.

    And this despite the fact that regular readers of my blog know that I have consistently made fun of the ridiculous assertion that clothes promote molestation and nowhere have I tried to justify street harassment in any way.

    But thanks Jasmine for being objective and best of luck with your project.

  49. so it is not possible for a guy who looks at a woman to *know* what her comfort level is.
    thats a good point great bong..noted yes! but that takes on the character of wooing…leads to mutual attraction.

    most often street sexual harassment/ eve teasing is NOT THE FORMEr but a form of sexual bullying.

    the bully wants a chicken.

  50. we want mamta didi… 🙂

  51. Looking is not the issue but there are a few points to be considered…

    1. When there is no protest against looking, it becomes an invitation to get more adventurous

    2. Often it’s not just looking…it also gets into gesticulating when gazes meet…then just to make the girl aware, the guy does a top-to-bottom scan…all of which is ridiculous…

  52. If I had a nickel for every time a man whined and cried, “what? it’s wrong to look even?, but come one, she was wearing that one thing, and the other..blah blah blah”; well if I had a nickel for everytime I heard this line, I’d be living on a hilltop mansion somewhere. If you had actually read any number of the literally hundreds of blogs that were posted on Blank Noise, or bothered to listen to stories from countless women; you would have noticed that not one of them said, “well, he looked at me. And now I am traumitized.” Sexual violence is a continuum, not some abstract concept that feminists thought up. Hasn’t it be too damn long that we have shelved street harrassment as inconsequential? This is hurting women, hurting young girls…we don’t own our bodies, our streets, our homes anymore. Enough with this priveledged nonsense. Live a day inside a prison with innates leering at you all day, and then write a post about how looking isnt’ “reciprocal”

  53. GreatBong,

    What a fascinating post! How come did I miss this?
    Firstly the comments about Bongobodhu, poo lingo, etc almost killed me. I will never drink water while reading your blog again.

    Also you gave the perfect reply to the girl who said:

    “You make chauvinistic comments like this — and you are even married? Oh my God! My heartiest sympathies for your wife!”

    Perfect! As perfect as any of Ricky Ponting or Herschcelle Gibb’s sixes in Johannesberg today. This is kind of a character who had said what you quoted in your post.

    All I can say is that all this hullaballo is due to the fact that we are in a transitional society. Neither here nor there. The women are modern and yet will talk about traditions. The men act as metrosexual but carry lots of baggages. The only thing why there is so much shouting is because there is insecurity in the minds of women – and they construe a gaze as a premonition for something worse to come. This has been ingrained in their subconsious minds as a child by their moms via stories of big bad wolf etc.

    Akash Sen has an interesting point. He says that he has seen several women dressing scantily and yet being comfortable with their bodies in Oz etc. Indeed I still remember Kris Srikanth blushing when a female streaker ran on the ground to him at MCG. Who was more uncomfortable- the naked streaker or Srikanth? The reason is the strong rule of the law there coupled with lesser inhiitions (due to lesser baggage imbibed during childhood years) is the reason the girls behave differently.While I empathize with cases of rape etc. and condemn them strongly , I found the reason of gaze being an offence (as someone above said) very very immature. And same about the gaze of the legth of the gaze. Its my eyes. I decide where I look and how long I do so as long its in public place.

    It is in the male tendency to visualize. You cant help it. Why dont girls realize that? All other factors remaining the same, the girl should in fact be happy that all that the guy can do is meausure her up. Groping etc is quite a different thing altogether. This is more the problem in a society in India where many guys dont have sex before marriage. So say during the Sushma Swaraj era, he cant see any flesh either in real life or on telly. Now you will not let him look at the legs of a shorts clad girl also.!! Amazing! But the situation will change. Say in my teen years , that borrowed copy of Debonair or that choti boi used to be such a big thing. Todays teenager has 30 out of 40 gb of his hard disk filled with porn. I think hes growing up more naturally than me.

    The fundamental rule governing here the one of familiarity breeding contempt. Before coming to US, I had never seen/touched any naked woman in real life. So back then in India, say in late 90’s early 2000, I still remember the days when girls started wearing jeans. I was at this management entrance test when this girl before me wore low cut jeans and exposed her lingerie. The fact that she wore a short top meant that no matter how much she adjusted, the line and length was anything but straight and good length. It was immensely uncomfortable for both of us. i tried my level best not to look but whenever I did I found my blood pumping and forehead sweating. To compound matters, my eraser flew off my desk and into her jeans . I assure you that this was absolutely inadevertent. When the exam ended, the girl (yes that kind of tumhare ghar me….) told me that “Look you were making me feel really uncomfortable. ” I just said to her ” You are solely responsible for your own discomfort”. I mean you are inciting me to look and when I take the bait, you get disappointed! I mean you have bowled 3 consecutive maidens to me , maintaining a tantalizing line and length outside off and when you drop one fractionally short, you sledge me as to why I rock back and pull!! But now I probably even wont look. Why ??…..the same case of familiarity breeding contempt. I remember one of my friends in India watching one after another 2 x movie before one of his exams. I asked him why and he replied that “See the teacher always wears extremely low cut blouses and hence I am doing this to avoid distraction during exam time. Otherwise dirty thoughts will creep into my mind. ” What hes trying to do is induce some familiarity of the future event so that hes at ease when the real match starts. Why 2x and not 3x I asked? He said, 2x leaves scope for imagination…3x doesnt. You get the picture.

    It is why when i read that in TOI that young women in India are swearing by low cut jeans, i feel happy. If you dont want to expose, cover yourself up. If you wanna expose, why should a stare , how deep it may be bother you? Playing half cock to Anil Kumble is always dangerous. Either go completely back or stretch that front foot forward!

    Marvellous post with lots of sound arguments and deft logic. You being stalked by that girl was scary. Of course South Point girls are a class by themselves!

  54. Pingback: Lazy Drive
  55. Now arent these assumptions stereotypes along the lines of “Women should stay in the kitchen” ?

    u said it! quite a lotta times i had this argument with female friends that hypocracy works both ways. u say men are stereotype that they will always rape u with their eyes. then doesnt it work the other way round too that women will generalize everyman this way? i get it that sexual harrasment is common place and pretty insulting to the girl, but u cant set a common limit here as to what amounts to it. what a girl from a village or conservative background considers offensive, may not necessarily torment a metro girl. and as u said, if u say u got it, so u’ll flaunt it, then same thing here..i got the eyes, n i will look with it. makes no sense saying that women will wear a revealing dress just for the sake of it. it is after all to feel good(sexy). and that comes from the number of people who will hold their breath when u walk into the room. this form of extreme feminism is outta place specially today, when women are empowered (at least the urban are) and character is not NECESSARILY equated with virginity….

  56. Now arent these assumptions stereotypes along the lines of “Women should stay in the kitchen” ?

    u said it! quite a lotta times i had this argument with female friends that hypocracy works both ways. u say men are stereotype that they will always rape u with their eyes. then doesnt it work the other way round too that women will generalize everyman this way? i get it that sexual harrasment is common place and pretty insulting to the girl, but u cant set a common limit here as to what amounts to it. what a girl from a village or conservative background considers offensive, may not necessarily torment a metro girl. and as u said, if u say u got it, so u’ll flaunt it, then same thing here..i got the eyes, n i will look with it. makes no sense saying that women will wear a revealing dress just for the sake of it. it is after all to feel good(sexy). and that comes from the number of people who will hold their breath when u walk into the room. this form of extreme feminism is outta place specially today, when women are empowered (at least the urban are) and character is not NECESSARILY equated with virginity….

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