Saturday, February 28, 2009

One more young girl was beaten up for wearing western attire

This was on Cunningham road yesterday. That stretch of the road could not possibly be more crowded at 6 and still no one helped the girl. The curious behaviour of the bystander continues.

The other interesting thing that's happening today is the sms doing the rounds asking women to be careful of their "dress code" due to these attacks. These are messages forwarded by "well meaning" women to warn their friends. Well no one's going to help and one cannot learn martial arts in a day so lets be safe seems to be the thinking. I cannot ask these women not to behave so. I have no solution for them or myself.

This prejudice against jeans i find it very funny at this point. I have been wearing jeans since I was 17 that's practically a decade and a half ago. My mother and I went to sale and Safina Plaza and bought my very first branded jeans. I had worn trousers before that but jeans this was the first. I didn't have to fight anyone for it. My mother was as enthu as me about it. My dad didn't think twice about it. It was just another outfit they were buying for their daughter. And they are as "Indian culure" oriented as one can get. Wearing them hasn't come in the way of being an Indian in anyway so far. They never for once thought this would draw more "attention" to me because they knew it wasn't true. If anything by my experience and theirs my worst nightmare happened when I was wearing a saree.

I have celebrated almost all festivals since then. I have cooked and cleaned my house, got married and now even going to have a baby. I know that's a very shallow description on the culture but that isn't mine it is what everyone tells me Indian culture is, so am just going along with that for now. But wearing jeans is still a big cultural change for many women even in a city like Bangalore even today. It is a big change. Some have to fight for it for some it is natural. But at the end of the day it is comfortable outfit. Of course right now it is taking on almost political role.

A lot of the people (needless to say mostly men and shockingly some women too) are finding this whole "hullabaloo" about the freedom to wear western clothes by women extremley silly and even irresponsible. We have bigger issues to worry about like falling GDP and the farmer suicides in vidarbha they say. My question is none of these men who are leaving scathing comments on blogs or the ones attacking the women are wearing dhoties and being shirtless are they? Nor are they using bullock carts to go after these women. Strange. Since when is trousers, tshirts and SUVs for men part of indian culture?

Being harassed on the streets is not new to any indian woman. At some point of time every one of us have been through the humiliation of "eve teasing." Some took it quitely, others rebelled and a few others killed themselves over it. This recent incident of mangalore pub attack or the attacks on the women in Bangalore are just the last straw we can take. And for once it looks like we might not be alone. That we might have a chance at being safe in our own bloody country without looking over our shoulders all the time or having to carry pepper spray or pocket knives and hope to hell that we don't have to use it. How are we women the lesser citizens of this country?

Female foeticide, infanticide, dowry, rape, molestation, sexual harrasment and now getting beaten up for wearing jeans. You are basically telling me I have no rights to live. I am not going to take that lying down. I have worked my ass off and fought a lot of battles to be who I am today and no one but me worked hard to buy those friggin branded jeans and I am keeping them. You can take a walk.


Pavithra said...

Yes. As the men of this country move forward, wear jeans, work in IT companies, go to pubs(and not get beaten up)and do as they please-because India is a progressing country ,we the women have to go backwards, be the perfect Indian wife-wash, iron, fuck etc. And still be assaulted, groped for being what we are and then be blamed for 'leading them on'. Beating up and raping women is apparently very much a part of Indian culture. But what gets me is the fact taht whichever political party taht has triggered all this bullshit probably does not believe in all this. They have just kindled something amongst the mobs that is spreading like wildfire. I honestly dont know what can help. Education? Maybe, but we all know of educated men who have shown utter disrespect for women and have said "Maybe she asked for it". A less repressive society? But how do we bring about such a change in fundamental thinking? Maybe if little boys were taught to respect women right from when they were young instead of the current disrespect taht is prevalent everywhere, they would grow up to be understanding men. Maybe.

Abhipraya said...

yeah Pavithra just may be educating men at an early age will help. But that would also require enlightened women. I don't know where to start!