“You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere“..”kiss me here, touch me there, hanky panky“. A lot of guys think that’s what women are for. Writing a post on such issues like the ones that blank noise project (which incidentally got mentioned in boingboing too) covers, had always been on my mind but never did that earlier, because I never wanted reactions amounting to martyrdom, like “oh you poor thing, you had to go through so much”. I am glad I wrote, nevertheless. No, not because I had to vent it all out or that it would be cathartic. I didn’t need to do that. Those things had been purged by my mind a long time ago. And all women learn to do that eventually. They block out such memories in their entirety and lead their lives as if nothing happened. I am glad I did it because of the kind of reactions that I have received from people, many of whom are male. I anticipated that almost all women would be writing similar stories (and actually I was sick reading the same stuff). What I didn’t anticipate was that most men are completely oblivious of the “magnitude” of the situation. I am glad that this series had them enlightened (read “shocked” in their own words).
I am also hoping that it would have definitely helped many women realise that they aren’t the only ones going through this. Everyone and I mean every single one has to go through exactly the same shit. I also hope that women actually learn to “raise their voice” (literally) against it. I noticed that some of us felt “dependent” on men. I would like to point out that largely everyone in the society is dependent on each other for some reason or the other. But dependency to the extent of not being able to go out to a movie or a mall or to the market, unescorted, is pure crap. I know women (not child women but grown up adults) who can not even cross the road on their own without someone holding their hands! I know women who need “company” while going to the loo because they are scared (of the dark or of the loneliness, only they would know)! It irritates me to no end to see people perfectly capable of taking care of themselves (and others at that), being so dependent on others for such small little things. May be it’s because they have been sheltered all their lives and the reason for that would be the kind of experiences women face here. It’s a vicious cycle of sheltering and dependency which only leads to further dependency. It needs to be broken by the *women* themselves, by realising that dependency to some extent is unavoidable but it is only by breaking that mental dependency that they would learn to take care of themselves. This is the only way they would ever be able to get the strength to get back at the people who are largely the reason for such harassment on the streets, in public places and even in one’s own home.
In this country which has such high female infanticide rates, and has all kind of discrimination against the girl child, I have been fortunate enough to get a good education and parents who don’t have such a mindset. But I see several others who are as fortunate, still stuck mentally in a rut which makes them feel “helpless” and “dependent”. Just taking up a job and being a working woman is not called being “indpendent”. Independence stems from one’s own mind. There are females who can not take a single decision independently. Not for others and not for their own self. Whether or not it’s life altering, doesn’t matter. Taking someone’s opinion or consultation is definitely good, but having someone else take entire decisions for you is different. I know women who are grown up adults and can not get themselves from point A to point B all by themselves. Whether Point A is their own home and Point B – their next door neighbour or the Louvre in Paris, it doesn’t matter. They are not limited physically or monetarily. Mentally is the only way they are. I stay alone in the same city that my parents stay in (though it took me a year to convince them to be able to) and I do it because I *can* and want to, and not as a solution to any problem. I am tired of repeated clarifications (most of them, to women) to inconsequential stuff to the effect of, “I do NOT get scared of the dark or for that matter spiders, rats, frogs, lizards and what nots”, “I can take care of myself”, “I can run the house independently”. My only (of course unsolicited) advice to such “oppressed” women would be to wake up and stop being “Barbies” themselves. Only then can they expect others to NOT treat them as the same.