I saw this video in a post by the Indian Homemaker titled, ‘Is stalking girls and women illegal in India‘. She is of the opinion that the video trivializes the issue of eve-teasing, a term which in itself is an objectionable one. You can read her blog which talks about much more than this and the interesting comments it has received, here. I agree with her about trivializing the issue. As if we needed any more flippancy than already exists! The term eve-teasing is a blatant trivialization of a serious problem faced by one half of the population for the sole reason of being born a female.
I don’t know what exactly prompted the people behind it to make this particular video. What was their intention?? Was it meant to be a hilarious look at an all-pervasive problem faced by girls/women in society?? Or did they mean to pass on a serious message to the public??
If the former had been the intention, then it is right on target. Those of us who watch the video, see a jobless young man following a pretty girl and bang his head against a lamp-post which he missed as his eyes were obviously busy elsewhere, feasting on a beautiful girl/girls.
Everyone laughs. It is a Tom and Jerry sort of moment. The girl could be Jerry the mouse and the boy, Tom the cat. When the Tom bangs his head Jerry the mouse and cronies laugh their hearts out and so do the watching kids or adults. Slap-stick comedy, intended to give you a moment’s fun, to be seen and forgotten.
What if the makers meant to convey a serious message?? What if they meant to caution young boys and men not to eve-tease (that objectionable term again) or rather harass girls/women with their unwanted and objectionable attention?? If that had been the intention this video is an utter failure.
Why do I think so??
… because like I said earlier, this thoughtlessly made video trivializes the serious issue of harassment that girls/women face.
Firstly, the injury happens because the post happened to be there. What if the post hadn’t been there?! Wouldn’t he then have gone on gawking at the girls without ‘injury’?? So eve-teasing is injurious to health only if a post comes in the way when you are gawking.
Secondly, he would have banged his head if he had been staring at a mo-bike, a building, even a crow that had suddenly shat on him. So our ‘eve-teasing’ buddies don’t face any more injury to their health it seems than any ordinary person who does not look where he/she is walking.
This is such a Bollywood-ish (regional films are no better) and stupid way of looking at things. Does anyone get a serious message via this ad?? Naah. Does it make you stop and think, examine your self?? Naah Naah and absolutely Naah. We all had our Tom and Jerry moment, including the lasses shown in the ad and are on our way to the next thing on our agenda. Perhaps for some the agenda is ‘let us go to that busy junction yaar, we might get an opportunity to rub against some girls/women.’ The video is long forgotten. How terribly sad.
Where is the message that should make you look into your heart and think?? Sadly missing because, the focus of the video is NOT on the message to be conveyed.
Why the hell is the emphasis (like everything else in a patriarchal society) on ‘injury’ to the boy in this video?? The message clearly is “you wanna avoid injury don’t stalk girls/women.’ BUT.. is that the point at all?? Is it, “Boys please avoid head injuries, don’t go trailing beautiful lasses with your mouth hanging open and bang your heads against unseen objects in your way.” Oh right, it is again about saving our boys/men. Right?? Warn them of the dangers tell them to save themselves few stitches and cuts. How about telling them to look (not literally, which they are doing anyway, but figuratively) ‘outside’ themselves and start thinking of others in the equation?? When will that happen??
How about thinking about the girls/women for a change?? After all isn’t it the female population that is injured by eve-teasing?? How come that never occurred to those directing a video to convey a message against harassment?? Who is the injured party in reality anyway?? Who do you want to save from injury?? Is anyone looking in the direction that matters at all?? Naaah. All are busy sending out messages on how the clowns can be saved from injuring themselves. Its all fun. Makes the girls laugh. Baat khatam.
Is that the way??
Shouldn’t the emphasis be on the right of every girl/woman to this world, its parks, its streets, its public places?? It belongs to her too. She is a human being just like the boy/man. She is as much entitled to this space on earth and to walk it free, without fear or harassment, as he. No, not because a man might bang his (stupid) head against a lamp-post or fall into a man-hole (though personally, I don’t have any objection to that happening to harassers in real life) or it is in any way potentially injurious to his health in other ways. What a ridiculous idea. This is about women and their rights, their entitled space and how that has to be respected by all.
Of course just as the saying ‘Charity begins at home’ goes, the lessons start at home. Those lessons that convey the message with permanence will be when it is taught and understood that women are people too just like men.