Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Slutwalk Bangalore

Law school activism
I appreciate and acknowledge Aqseer’s angst and pain. Around the time she was beginning to gain a consciousness of the gender inequality in the air we breathed, I would wonder aloud to her Dad. “How is it that there is this latent furnace in her mind when we have never indicated any gender specific opinions to our growing daughters?”

“It is the environment”, I would answer myself in the ensuing silence. It is the community words, actions, gestures, thoughts…..all swirling in the ether we occupy that devalue the female gender. No matter how vehemently I assured my girls at the dinner table that they were unique and special beings with a right to dignity and respect, the world was out there, battering them with the contrary.  

If my girl got close to a guy, it was she who was ‘hooking’ him! When she rode out on a motor bike, singing against the wind, we had been permissively negligent as parents. The fact that they were partial to clothes, somewhat unflattering to the feminine form, was an indication of a poor maternal example.

Patent Aqseer in yellow, extreme left
It is true that I did not bring them up to seek salvation in a man’s shadow. How could I teach them skills that I was not willing to learn myself? The abhorrent notion that feminine guile was to be used to snare and maintain a provider; that men were to be manipulated with the batting of eyelids; that their sense of masculinity depended on a woman’s appeasing, entreating form. My social view instead, was populated by men who viewed women as their equals; husbands who were not threatened by their wives; fathers who expected their daughters to grow up as their own persons.

Was this going to be a blueprint for a life time of swimming upstream? Perhaps.

Would they have to work extra hard to keep themselves whole and intact? It was a distinct possibility.

Could there really be a man out there who would have the gall to shake off aeons of cultural conditioning so as to say, “You are ok, I am ok.” I was not sure.

Today and now, I am proud that Aqseer has channelized her outrage in the form of “Slutwalk Bangalore”, of which she is an organizing committee member. In their words:

”Slutwalk Bangalore aims to be a movement that brings attention to the endless cases of sexual abuse and narrow- minded practices of judgement and victim blaming that follow thereafter. It aims to be a movement that will work towards generating positive and affirmative action that will help tackle these issues.”
Please visit their page: for a glimpse of today’s motivated young, in the process of actioning a cause they hold dear. Also register your support by ‘liking’ and thereby upping their meter count.

Keep it up Aqseer!

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