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She Isn’t Eve, And It Ain’t ‘Teasing!

August 29, 2011

“Eve-Teasing” is a term commonly used in India to refer to the sexual harassment and sexual violence that girls and women face on the streets on a daily basis. Frivolous and absurd as the term is, it none-the-less reflects on how the issue is often trivialized in society. It seems to say: All women are sexual sirens, and men are not really persecuting them. They are only ‘teasing’ them! Popular Bollywood star Priety Zinta spoke out against this form of sexual harassment in India in an article for the BBC. Below is an analysis of what she had to say.

I am the modern Indian woman. I haven’t forgotten my culture or my values.  I am ambitious and work-oriented.

But there is a problem.

I do not feel safe on the streets, neither do a lot of women in India.

Ms. Zinta’s explains how she personally responds to sexual harassment on the streets of India:

In life I have a “one tight slap” theory: it means if anyone makes me uncomfortable or treats me like a piece of meat, then they get a dose of my theory.

I remember shopping in a crowded area in Delhi a few years ago with my friends when I felt someone pinch my butt.

Since my reflexes are pretty sharp I immediately grabbed his hand, traced it back to his body in the crowd and gave him one tight slap. 

She asks a very pertinent question:

Why should men stalk women on the roads, [harass] them on buses and trains, and assault and rape them, when 5 of our 29 states are run by politically empowered women?

Her analysis is:

For one, I think it has to do with a sex explosion in our media. There’s too much smut on prime time television. Even I feel embarrassed to watch some of the television in front of my family. 

On view are videos where the camera zooms in and out of the girl’s anatomy, accompanied by vulgar and crude remix music which single-mindedly murders classic Indian film songs.

Is Ms. Zinta really saying that the reason Indian men sexually harass random women on the streets and public spaces in India, is because of the type of “vulgar” clothes and portrayals in media?  The media and film industry that she also participates in as in this photo above?  Is she saying that men don’t really have control over what they do to [fully clothed] women on the streets, because the “smut” in the media is making them do it?  Does Ms. Zinta really understand why women, most of who do not dress like her or have her type of celebrity exposure, are sexually persecuted by random men on the streets?  If Ms. Zinta thinks that these men are not really responsible for their actions, and are acting in a zombie like state which is controlled by the images of sexy women in the media, then should she advocate her “one tight slap” theory? READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE HERE

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Dianne Sharma Winter permalink
    August 29, 2011 3:38 pm

    The lack of any feminist analysis of the role that media and film play in objectifying women and her own complicity within that almost defeats the purpose of the article.

    • August 30, 2011 9:30 am

      @Diana — Any form of sexual harassment and violence on women, whether it happens on the streets or in the home or at the work place, is always unwarranted. There is no reason and no excuse for it, other than that the man who does it (and there are many who don’t!), KNOWS that he can do it and get away with it. The only thing that perpetuates all kinds of sexual violence on women is social permissiveness. There are many countries in the west where the media has even more explicit portrayals of women in sexual roles, but the women there don’t face the same kind of terrifying, day-to-day persecution on the streets. India today is the 4th most violent country for women. The other 3 countries are in war zones!
      Preity is absolutely right in being enraged. And no, she has not asked nor contributed to the sexually violent power-play of men in India, either on the streets or in the homes!! She is simply repeating what she hears most Indians saying, without realizing that that implicates her too! In saying that men behave like rutting gorillas on the streets because of the way women dress is probably how the Indian society has perpetuated the social permissive and the environment for the sexual dominance and violence of men. Also consider this: The man who sexually harasses on the streets will not follow a woman inside her office to harass her there. However there are men in her office who will sexually harass her, and these men will not walk out and stand by the roadside to harass women passing by. Ultimately sexual harassment and violence is a form of social predation — and it is about men’s power and territoriality.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    September 2, 2011 2:36 pm

    Today’s education does not support the civilization theory in the society in practice. so we become victim of such things.I think we need to renew the education system including eristocratic divine impact on the society, only then we will be able to remove it from the society.

    Swami Mahavanam
    Sr. Yoga Consultant
    Devine Wellness

    • September 7, 2011 9:48 am

      Swami Mahavanam — It is a noble thought and of course needed. However, the problem is that while we are waiting for society to change through education — the safety and lives of girls and women need to be protected. And how are we going to do that if the laws are not properly implemented through the police and judiciary. Won’t you agree?

  3. Vandana Sabharwal permalink
    December 24, 2011 3:46 pm

    Eve-teasing is harassment on the streets. So the street law applies. Whether it is a tight slap or elbow or punch… It works! Verbal comments well, think about it. Have countries with efficient law and security systems got no social evils? Are their people feeling secure ? How is another law going to help unless accompanied by efficient administration of it? Education, equal opportunities for work will help in time. Let’s get to the root of the problem. Every man needs a wife someday: let’s first get our attitudes and ratios right! Let’s respect hard working women, successful women, the parenting woman, men who respect women and show our people how life can be when simple things are done with a beautiful spirit!

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