Which way are you goin'?

Over this past week, consequent to the blogathon, I have begun to ponder over issues that I had never really considered in the past.

For instance, does being a part of the Blank Noise Project automatically make me a feminist? What is feminism in our times? We've come past the suffragettes, we've come past the bra-burning stage but women are still oppressed and they are still fighting glass ceilings.

I came across the Wikipedia definition, which I feel is broadbased and quite comprehensive. And I can apply 'a diverse collection of social theories, political movements, and moral philosophies, largely motivated by or concerning the experiences of women, especially in terms of their social, political, and economic situation' to my own involvement with Blank Noise Project. I did join the project to be a part of something that, ultimately, aims to create a legal space for sexual crimes that have been trivialised too much, for too long. Anyhow. This is something I shall have to grapple with for a while, I think.

While reading the blogathon posts, I came across this one, which included a response to a comment I had sent Jasmeen before joining the core team and she decided to post it on the blog.

It may be a bit late to, and maybe I need not, but let me clarify.

No, just checking out a woman does not amount to street harassment, or eve teasing, if you will. Certainly not. In that post, I wrote - 'you do not have the right to stare at my body and imagine what I look like, naked'. And I meant that because how often have women been subjected to long, leering, lecherous stares that make you want to go home and take a very hot bath?

I did not mean 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'.

Indeed, I rest my case at the mention of the word 'glance'. And calling decent men serial rapists is also overstating the case. I don't think we've ever done that or ever intend to, at Blank Noise.

In fact, one of the major tasks we have is to define street harassment. When does a look cross the line into being a scarring leer? How do we define this adequately enough to not have to argue all the time?

Action Hero Chinmayee Manjunath