Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Where are the women anyway?

The perks of working from home is that you can cut down that draconian travel time in Bengaluru traffic and use those precious hours to do what you like. Today I went out on an excursion to explore the very architecturally attractive CCD near my place. When it turned out to give me a capitalist and mindless consumeristic feel, I decided to move on to take a walk (more like a stroll actually). In the stretch of 3km I came across a humongous playing ground, 3 beautiful parks (yup that’s Bengaluru) and serene streets of J P Nagar (a predominantly middle class and upper middle class settlement). To arrive at the point of this article, there were no women at all! Now you would accuse me of making a preposterous claim but before you do that let me clarify what I’m trying to say.

The gigantic playground that I mentioned above was filled with only boys! Not a single girl found. The streets were empty of women who strolled around in leisure. The very few women who were on the streets were young mothers taking their kids on an evening walk and the elderly women walking in pairs. My question is where are the women like their male counterparts just chilling in the breezy Bengaluru weather? Do good girls avoid public spaces because that’s what makes them good in the first place or are the public spaces so unsafe that even a soothing chilly weather doesn’t pull the girls onto the streets?

When our system and culture celebrates a fit body, does it dutifully open up public spaces to girls? Is a playing ground the property of only the boys? It means that only the rich who can afford an enclosed safe place for sports  can indeed indulge in sports.

The gender politics doesn’t get played only in the parliament, government buildings and corporate offices, schools and hospitals, instead it reeks its bloody teeth in public places. You needn’t go look into compelling radical feminist articles and books to understand the nuances of sexism. Just look around. I ask for only this puny indulgence. When you are whizzing away on your vehicles, or sitting in a coffee shop or simply sipping chai on the roadside tapri, look around. You’ll see that the roads don’t welcome women. They prove that it’s a man’s world after all!