Note 1: If you are sick and tired of hearing about eve-teasing, please feel free to skip this post :)
Note 2: This is not a Feminist Woman's Day post :)
In this post, I had written:
My mother tells me that eve-teasing was rampant in her younger days. Her reasoning is that it was the only way the poor males could establish contact with the girls, because the times were such that males and females did not talk to each other, even in college. Now, it is much more open, youngsters go out in mixed groups all the time, so males are not really frustrated, and thus eve-teasing has reduced.
My uncle and I had a discussion on this. He posed a question to me.
"If that is one of the main reasons for eve-teasing", he said, "then consider your grandfather's generation. Contact between men and women, not of the same family, was even more scarce at that time. Was there any eve-teasing then?"
I was almost amused. "No", I said emphatically.
"Why? It is because of urbanization, and hence anonymity. In those days, there were smaller towns, and everybody knew everybody else. You could never hope to go unnoticed if you as much as looked at another girl. Now, you are just one in a crowd. You can do anything and get away with it. With that confidence, men go ahead and do anything."
He had a point. But one more reason could be that women rarely went out unescorted in my grandfather's generation. But this got me thinking. If this was one of the
reasons, then why has eve-teasing reduced, from the time I was in my teens, to now? Bangalore is bigger, anonymity is greater - then why? If I consider eve-teasing as something which men do just coz they think women are inferior and hence their property, with whom they can do anything they want to, then there is an explanation. I tend to think that men have finally recognized that women are as good as, if not better than men. Or if not anything else, that women are educated, confident, and can stand up for themselves. They probably do not want to take a risk with getting on the wrong side of a woman, coz there is no saying what she might do. Can this be a reason?
Next reason, movies. I think this is the greatest culprit. Movie-makers claim that art imitates life. Then what instance in real life inspired the first idiot to put in an eve-teasing scene in his film? Boy teases girl, girl gets horrified, boy persists, girl resists, boys sings to girl in public, girl melts into boy's arms, and they live happily ever after. How many movies stand on this theme? Within a span of one silly song, the boy and girl move from being strangers to being married. If this does not inspire men, then what will?
They must naturally think that if they tease a random girl on the street and compliment different parts of her body, she will get all flattered and fall for him, and all's well that ends well. Utter rubbish. Show me a single instance where eve-teasing has led to marriage in real life, and I will eat my words.
Then, once again, why has eve-teasing reduced now? I do not really have an answer. Maybe the boy-teasing-girl-on-street kind of movies have reduced. Maybe men have realized that it doesn't work after all. But behind all this comes one more question. Why do married men indulge in this activity? What is the reason for all the groping and touching? The first answer that comes to my mind is JFK - Just For Kicks. He feels like a hero. He feels superior. He feels like a "man", a word that has a perverted meaning in his stunted intelligence.
[Sidenote: Am I the only one who thinks that eve-teasing has reduced in Bangalore? Please note, I am not saying its not there at all. I am just saying that it seems to be much less from what my teenage memories tell me. Or is it that I do not notice it any longer? Or is it that I have become too old to get eve-teased? :)]
Also, reading all the experiences of other bloggers, I realized one thing. Those from the north have faced even more severe instances of eve-teasing. My experiences sound like mosquito bites compared to their snake-bites. But why? From what I have read, I gather that over the centuries, a woman's place in society has been much higher in the south, than in the north of India. Probably men take women for granted even more in the north. Maybe that is why eve-teasing is more rampant there. [I might be wrong, I am open to correction.]
Well, I don't really know. I can just take refuge in the fact that eve-teasing is not the outcome of just one or two reasons. It is a combination of complex social and psychological issues. Also, I would love it if somebody comes out with a small-town perspective. I haven't seen much of that. Maybe we can get a clearer idea.
Why am I looking for reasons? In the hope that if we are able to put our finger on it [Sigh! Wrong expression!], there might be hope for our daughters. I would not want my daughter to avoid doing something she wants to do, just out of fear of men, as I have very often found myself doing. I want my daughter to live the life that I haven't.
I would really appreciate your thoughts on this. Of both men and women.
[Note: My apologies to all the wonderful men I know, for using the generic "men" in this post, instead of "some men". Out of every 10 men I know, 9 are absolutely beyond censure, but the horrible 1 man brings disrepute to the entire male populace.]
Update: Please read the comments too.