You go girl!

I was on my evening walk somewhere in the neighborhood of RMV 2nd stage extension. I was earlier than usual, and didn’t see the regulars that I usually do. Instead, there was a whole other group of people who also seemed like regulars, and busy with their walks. One of them was a woman in her late thirties. Dressed in comfortable pants and t-shirt, she seemed serious about her walking. She was a few steps behind me, and as I turned into this nice street filled with flaming Gulmohar trees, I sensed her turn into the same street as well. And then, a couple of seconds later, I heard her ask a man in his late 40s, why he stared at all the women all the time. In her own words, “Why do you keep staring at all of us women? What is your problem? Tell me, what is your problem?’ Now obviously, never having expected to be taken to task, this man had nothing to say in his defense. I heard him fumble for words. She went on to tell him that she was going to complain to the police if he was not going to mend his ways. From what I gathered, he sits in a particular spot every evening and stares at all the women walkers making them quite uncomfortable. Nice, huh! He looks like a typical neighborhood “uncle”. I hope her threatening helps. Lets see. I didn’t get a chance to talk to her today, but do plan to go for my walk same time tomorrow to see if there has been any change in the situation!

Editing and adding a few more points:

The lady seemed agitated at this particular guy and I have a feeling that it was more than just the staring. Just from the tone of the scene. I doubt if she was going to go around bashing guys just for looking. Now, obviously without the looking, there would be no charm right? Since, she wouldn’t have been comfortable using any other word in public, she probably just chose a milder word, or that’s how it seemed to me. And, “staring” at every woman passing by and sitting exclusively to do just that is, to put it mildly, very crude. And from what I got out of the scene is that the lady has let it go for a while, and when she realised that there has to be some reprimanding done, she went ahead and did just that.

Now, aren’t these the kind of men we should be decreeing our fatwa on, instead of targeting women with our bans? On the same note, I am terribly glad that the ban on night shifts for women has been withdrawn.

All I have to say to the protagonist in my story is, ‘YAY! You go girl!’

16 Comments so far

  1. zombie (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 9:18 pm

    Hi Chitra,
    Hmm Interesting.
    I feel that woman sounds sarcastic/nasty.
    Well if a guy sits at a single place daily and
    watches the walkers (be it gal/guy) what is this
    womans problem ?
    Lets face it why do you think guys come to jog
    in a park regularly even though they have other
    choices like a gym/other park/etc, thats becoz
    they like the particular ppl more importantly the
    So i feel if you meet her next time, ask her if
    that woman was confronted ever by that old man.

  2. Briju Prasad (unregistered) on May 16th, 2007 @ 6:22 am

    Looks very Creepy……I would be rather careful here and not be alone in such places…..this gentleman you mention seems not harmful but you never know?
    do take care

  3. Walter Solbchak (unregistered) on May 16th, 2007 @ 9:20 am

    That park or street that you mention is a public place right? There is nothing illegal in sitting at a park bench and looking. Did he harass anyone or made moves at anyone.. doesn’t look like that. Did the man peep into someone’s house to look? Why should people feel threatned by it? Its the same thing with women wearing revealing clothes and then complaining that men stare at them.. Do you want men to close their eyes when they see a woman.. ala a reverse taleban :) Your condoning of the what the woman did and then condemning the night shift ban looks highly hypocritical.

  4. NRI (unregistered) on May 16th, 2007 @ 9:56 am

    This is totally insane. I think that woman hates men folks. In the public road anyone has right to sit and watch other public.

  5. debbieann (unregistered) on May 16th, 2007 @ 10:18 am

    I think that is great that she confronted the man in that way. Staring is rude. Women should be able to wear whatever they want without being stared at. It is intimidating. There is a big difference between closing your eyes and staring. I think there is a lot of subtle and not so subtle intimidation of women going on and it needs to be confronted. Check out the Blank Noise folks:

  6. Abhipraya (unregistered) on May 16th, 2007 @ 11:54 am

    I agree with Debbie. Looking can be very uncomfortable too. There is nothing illegal in sitting in a park or any public space and “people watch” is fun but not staring. All of you who are defending the man pl. do ask the women in your life how they would feel if someone stares at them.

    Do take a look at this

  7. Walter Solbchak (unregistered) on May 16th, 2007 @ 1:20 pm

    A person will feel uncomfortable about others’ staring only when they are ‘aware’ of themselves. When your appearance (dress, etc) makes you aware of yourself, i.e you know that people will stare, you will feel uncomfortable about other people staring at you. Case in point: People go to a temple and see a huge potbellied priest with sagging chest (that’s crying out for a bro :) ), and they stare at him.. but he doesn’t care, coz he is comfortable with his appearance.

  8. Ravi (unregistered) on May 16th, 2007 @ 3:47 pm

    I think the lady in question was either over-reacting or there are other issues between the two of them that are not covered by your post/observation. It seems that in a public place, even looking can be mistaken as staring! And I think Walter has a point, too!

  9. Abhipraya (unregistered) on May 16th, 2007 @ 3:58 pm

    Dear Walter / Ravi,

    It is the biggest myth that only women who wear the so called revealing clothes are stared at. Women in salwar kameezes and the eternal symbol of being Indian the saree being stared at and making the woman feel uncomfortable. Probably being a man makes it hard for you to understand how violated this makes women feel. Again Pl. do ask the women in your life how they feel about it.

  10. venky (unregistered) on May 16th, 2007 @ 4:47 pm

    haha…that old man sits at the same place everyday and you( or the protagonist ) take the same path everyday…now thats a coincidence isnt it?? ever thought of changing ur path?? and to all the feminist(wannabe or hardcore) and let live..peace out:)

  11. Usha (unregistered) on May 16th, 2007 @ 9:38 pm

    I think every adult knows the difference between someone looking at us in a casual or friendly way and someone who stares in a way that makes us uncomfortoble.I bet the woman just sensed that the man wasn’t just sitting and watching people go by.
    I disagree with people who try to pass the blame to the women by seeng that she invited it by her dress or that she is overly self concious. This stupid theory has gone on for too long that nobody believes in it anyway. It is guys like this who stare at you that make you wonder if there is something wrong with your dress or your physique.
    Anyways when people refuse to see the problem you cannot make them seea solution but yes, all women subjected to this kind of harrassment should do what your protogonist did.
    Yay, you go girls!

  12. R.A. Levin (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 11:33 am

    One never knows. If this same guy is sitting there every day and ogling the Women that jog by, then more power to her!
    On the other hand, as long as he’s not doing anything lewd or suggestive, other than watching/staring, it comes more under the banner of; “Well, it’s a free country.”
    Guys have always enjoyed looking at pretty females. It’s just one of those hormonal things.
    Forgive us!



  13. Smita (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 12:01 pm

    A woman who dresses to ensure ‘inviting looks’ would definitely not mind the ogling man on the road ! but in this case the lady definitely did not like to be stared at. It takes a lot for a lady to step up and yell at someone on the road, the way she has done it. Sad but true, our laws are not stringent on eve teasing and crime against women. So lets just let the woman make her own law ! In this case she chose to make her displeasure known. Let us respect her move. And all the more respect to the woman who chose to capture this on a blog, may be knowing she might stir up hornets nest. Believe me, its hard. Kudos !

  14. Just some dude (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 2:12 pm

    You go girl!

    Nice to see that an African-American woman is also writing posts on this site.

  15. Chitra (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 2:35 pm

    LOL dude! That IS funny. I laughed in spite of myself.

  16. saaya (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 3:02 pm

    I guess it is inappropiate to comment on that lady or the man without knowing the facts behind..e’thing mentioned here seem like pre assumed. See the use of the word “Seem” :-))

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