An average looking girl, decently dressed, behaving normal gets stared at. A school girl wearing a skirt is stared at. A middle-aged woman wearing Indian outfit is stared at. An old lady with some shopping bags is stared at. A college girl hanging out with girls is stared at. An average girl reading a novel is stared at. A lady with bright makeup and western dress is stared at. A girl smoking or drinking is stared at. Women are also humans but why is that when a girl/lady crosses a street she is looked at as she is something “special”? Why a girl with hot-pants is on is seen with lusty eyes?
Are clothes the reason why women are stared at? Are looks or age the reason? Or is it to do with social behavior of a girl/woman?
Believe me, it isn’t any of the above.
No matter what you are wearing, who are you with, what you are doing, where you are, what people are around you; women are always stared at as if they are “objects on display”. And this is such a common phenomena that an average college student might have experienced it hundreds of times. And as I said, no matter what your age is, you will be stared at and peeped at like you are something different from “normal”.
WHY? Because here men see all women as objects to be viewed and observed as “specimens”. Women are not considered a human engaged in his/her work but are seen as a tempting object waiting to be “scanned” by their eyes. Men keep staring and try to peep into every inch of skin visible. Be it the skinny school-going girl or the old lady in dress, the fact she is a woman invites all male eyes to her.
How irritating and annoying this staring gets is something men cannot comprehend. Women today either feel too shy because of such non-sense stares or they end up being too bold to care about such stares. And the moment transcends into the second category of being bold, she is given the title of an “ill-mannered woman”. Doesn’t this all seem like too much of stupidity? But believe me, every woman has experienced this.
Why do you whistle or comment when a girl passes by? Why do you intentionally block her way? Why do you wait and scan her from head to toe? Why do you take advantage of a crowded place to touch her inappropriately? Why do you stare her shamelessly? Why do you try to look through her clothes? Why do you peep into her and make her uncomfortable?
These rhetorical questions seem unanswerable. Because it is said “a woman is an open invitation and we are free to look at whatever we want”. But the truth is that we women are also ordinary humans. We too have fears and insecurities and men who stare us to end are all shattering our confidence inside.
Stop staring women like they’re aliens. Teach your husbands/sons/male friends/colleagues that women are also humans and not objects. Respect women and show some respect. If you’re misbehaving with some women, your own family women might also be getting ill-treated by some other men. Stop commodification of women and treat them with dignity.
This message is also for all women who accept this stupid staring without rebelling. Stop being silent sufferers, raise your voice and question those dirty eyes. Use your voice and realize the importance of self-help. Instead of feeling uncomfortable, make the gazer feel shameful.
This isn’t a normal thing to accept. Be the change you want to be. Speak for yourself because your courage might inspire many other. Do not allow anyone to stare at you meaninglessly. You’re a woman, be proud of it and stop shying away.
Be bold and take your stand.
Jaskiran Kaur is student of Kamala Nehru College, University of Delhi, pursuing B.A Hons in English.