Tuesday, April 04, 2006

what set me off...

I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT take this anymore. I know that I have been carefully restraining from writing anything concrete in this god-forsaken blog for fear of exposing my secret thoughts to the eyes of random strangers, but this I absolutely CANNOT TAKE anymore.

This post is for all those who believe that when a man sexually harasses a woman, he is simply giving outlet to a basic sexual need and does personally mean any harm to her…

Since all women I know, ranging from my 65 year old cook to my 15 year old sister, get sexually harassed in streets and public places, I would have to agree that most men when they sexually harass women are not really THINKING about the INDIVIDUAL woman as such, but are instead merely looking to enjoy a sexual experience and give outlet to their urges.... Infact, many of us believe that the reason for eve-teasing in India is the lack of an alternative, appropriate social code of expression of sexuality i.e. the concept of an unmarried couple dating is still, in many parts of India, a social taboo. This then “naturally” seems to be the reason why men make lewd comments at passing women, sing songs at passing women, whistle at women, make weird kissy-letchy noises at women, stare and undress women with their eyes, brush past women, rub themselves against women, grab women, feel up women...
all because there is no other appropriate social code for their sexual outlets. If this seems to be the case, then WHY DONT WOMEN SEXAULLY HARASS MEN IN PUBLIC PLACES AS WELL? If men have sexual needs, surely women must be experiencing them as well, otherwise the concept of hetrosexual lovers in a relationship would not exist. If men in India are forced to live in a socially restrictive environment that stigmatises romantic and sexual relationships between unmarried people, and are thus "forced" with no other alternative but to sexually harass women in public spaces, how come Indian women don't sexually harass strange/unknown men on the streets as well?

This is the reason why: Because sexaul harrasment is a crime, NOT based on a man's sexual urges that seek outlets in socially restrictive environment but about POWER.
In a comparatively MORE GENDER-EQUAL society (like Norway, Sweden, or the Netherlands, or the US, for instance) where sexual relations between unmarried people is an accepted social practice, incidents of eve-teasing are relatively less.
If the environment in India was more GENDER EQUAL but remained socially restrictive as regarding sexual relationships between unmarried people, WOMEN TOO WOULD BE ABLE TO SEXAULLY HARASS MEN IN ORDER TO GIVE RELEASE TO THEIR PENT-UP SEXUAL NEEDS.

Sexual harassment is a crime that gets condoned because it is based on the existing POWER RELATIONS in a society. It is NOT based on the social practice of stigmatising sexual relations between unmarried men and women which is believed to lead men to find "alternative" means for expressing their sexual urges by harassing women in public spaces.

Think about it.

12 comments:

Libran Lover said...

I responded to your comment on my blog: Root Cause of Eve Teasing in India :-)

flea said...

yes it is most definately about power.
i have problems even believing its only about the sexual urge at a moment and the other persons body. fat men have breasts too- if tits are such a turn on how come they don't get mauled? after all its the body that does it ... on a tangent but just a thought. and really you could have any sort of body just being female opens you to abuse. do all women inspire desire so uniformly? because there isnt a road in the city (of Delhi) where i won't find a man letching at me.
and s... your post makes good reading. finally :)

Libran Lover said...

You girls are really funny. You are claiming that men does lech after other men, who might have breasts because there is no power trip in that? God, that's so fresh!

Deprive a man enough, and he MIGHT start finding another man attractive. We know of this from books and movies. Where does your power theory go in this case? Do you really think that a sexually deprived man in a prison feels very powerful over another fellow prisoner?

etcetera - All those strange men on Delhi's streets do not know anything about you. They do not know how strong or weak you are. So, it is not possible for them to think or feel that they are more powerful than you. They are leching after you only because you might be a desirable woman.

Do all women inspire desire uniformly? Of course, not! Whatever makes you think that? However, for a sexually deprived man (like a lot of Indian youth), most women do appear as sources of sexual experience.

flea said...

oof. where are you??

oof ya! said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
oof ya! said...

etcetra, flea - here i am :) back:) and thank you for the comments :) i agree, agree, agree

Libran Lover -
have been back to your blog, read your response as well as those of everyone else's who visited your post. i agree with comments made by Aparna, Tanushree and Videshi Gori about your post.

1. You consistently argue that men in India are sexually deprived and hence sexually harrass women.
I agree that the social environemnet in India may be restrictive regarding sex and expressions of sexuality BUT you seemed to have missed out on this basic fact - there are ways and ways and ways around this problem.
there are PLENTY of unmarried indian couples who know the benefits of
*parks
*old ruins/monuments
*cinema theatres
*backseat of a friend's car
*terrace of an appartment building
*a friend's house
*dark corner of a disc/pub
there are plenty of places in India where a man and his lady love can sexually gratify themselves despite all the taboos fixed by society. SO WHEN INDIAN MEN SEXUALLY HARASS WOMEN IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH A "RESTRICTIVE" SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT. It has everything to do with living in a ptriairchal society that is based on male power over female power.

2. It would be cool if you realised that all feminists are not women, and all women are not feminists. So when someone makes a feminist statement, it does not necessarily mean that person is a girl.

3.in your post you were stunned that i suggested that women could sexually harrass men if we were living in a more gender-equal society. Sex is biological while GENDER is a social construct.
If the environment in India was more GENDER EQUAL but remained socially restrictive as regarding sexual relationships between unmarried people, WOMEN TOO WOULD BE ABLE TO SEXAULLY HARASS MEN IN ORDER TO GIVE RELEASE TO THEIR PENT-UP SEXUAL NEEDS. it is not the sex of a person but the social construct of GENDER that teaches men and women "appropriate" means of expression from childhood on. The construction of gender unfortunately, is heirarchical therefore, sexual HARRASMENT in a GENDER-UNEQUAL society is based on the prevailing POWER RELATIONS.

4.SEXUAL HARASSMENT is different from APPRECIATION.
pinching, groping, letching etc, which all fall under the ambigious term of "eve-teasing" as per the indian penal code, are NOT forms of sexual appreciation! so when a man letches at my friend etcetra, he is HARRASSING her, not aprreciating her sexual attractiveness.

flea said...

ooooof
your comments are longer than your posts.

i agree with what you say. and this i agree with most vigorously- all feminists are not women and all women are not feminists. so true so true.

and appreciating sexual attractiveness is far far different from turning into a lecherous-octopus man with more hands than he should have or can control. the idea is clearly not to evoke a response of any sort from the woman (the p word coming into play again - Power that is). to do because you can- not for any other reason.

and since today i am particularly pissed off a moron i had the misfortune of walking past. why are they so surprised on being ignored? is anyone actually turned on by a letchy-octopus-sex offender???

argh

Libran Lover said...

oof ya! Responses to your points:

1. I did not mean that couples don't have places to freely share their sexuality with each other, and so the male half of the couple indulges in eve teasing with other women. I merely said that because Indian society is restrictive, SINGLE / UNMARRIED Indians don't hook up with each other. Hence, it is mostly the single men who indulge in eve teasing. Yes, married ones do too. But the percentage of married men doing that is MUCH less compared to single men.

3. I don't agree that gender-behavior is totally social, and that in a gender-equal society, both men and women will express their sexuality (positive or negative) in the same way. Gender equality DOES NOT mean gender similarity. What you say is as meaningless as claiming that in a gender equal society, women will start pissing standing up.

4. And where did I claim that sexual harassment is same as sexual appreciation. All I am saying is those who cannot express in normal ways will express in abnormal ways. Sexuality is like a force. When you suppress a strong force, it will come out in one way or another. In India, healthy expression and sharing of sexuality among unmarried people is not allowed. So, unmarried guys express it in abnormal ways such as eve teasing, while many unmarried women keep it suppressed or explore it in secrecy.

Why don't you give this a break now? You don't seem to understand the most basic things I am saying. You want to explain to me the options that married people have for privacy and that sexual harassment is different from appreciation. Do you really think that I am so stupid, I don't know all this myself?

You are not understanding the simple things I am saying. This is what happens when people look for complex reasons where there are none.

flea said...

please stop.
both of you.
seeing as there are two irreconcilable positions here.
alternatively you may choose to explore your differences of opinion further. but another occassion may be more appropriate.
oof. do write another post so we can all argue there

oof ya! said...

"Indian society is restrictive, SINGLE / UNMARRIED Indians don't hook up with each other. Hence,it is mostly the single men who indulge in eve teasing. Yes, married ones do too. But the percentage of married men doing that is MUCH less compared to single men."

--> indian eve teasers come in ALL ages. how do i know this? because i have seen it first hand. every single day on the streets.
--> india's population of old age people is less than it's population of young people. you might want to read some population reports to verify this fact for yourself.
--> the average indian male/ a majority of indian men are married by the age of 25.
--> therefore, MOST EVE TEASERS ARE MARRIED.
-->also, i find your primary argument that india is a sexually repressive society preposterous. india's population is over one billion. :P:P:P

"I don't agree that gender-behavior is totally social"

does a baby KNOW it is a girl or a boy? it doesnt. as he/she grows, he/she learns gender specific behaviours from the other people around.

"And where did I claim that sexual harassment is same as sexual appreciation."

this is where:
while responding to etcetra, this is what you had to say "etcetra - All those strange men on Delhi's streets do not know anything about you...They are leching after you only because you might be a desirable woman."

which led to my clarification that "SEXUAL HARASSMENT is different from APPRECIATION.
pinching, groping, letching etc, which all fall under the ambigious term of "eve-teasing" as per the indian penal code, are NOT forms of sexual appreciation! so when a man letches at my friend etcetra, he is HARRASSING her, not aprreciating her sexual attractiveness."

"You don't seem to understand the most basic things I am saying. You want to explain to me the options that married people have for privacy"

actually, LL, i think it is YOU who does not understand what i am saying. i have talked about options for UNmarried people who want privacy. my comment reads "there are PLENTY of unmarried indian couples who know the benefits of..."

oof ya! said...

flea - may be i will write another post. but then again, maybe not. :)

flea said...

i am drowning under much reading for the job. it is quarter past one. i have a 40 page report to read and two fat brochures on global strategies to reduce CO2 emissions.....
hmmmm
and i have to be at the job at nine tom.
its like exams all over except the job will not finish at 12- but go on for two months
i resent it already....
ok i'm done wailing.