I know what you’re thinking and the answer is no, I will not be a part of the Delhi Slutwalk. It’s not that I can’t carry off a miniskirt – I have less hair on my legs than the average female engineering student – but because I’m very sceptical about the efficacy of a movement that may well turn into a grabfest for the life-sized erection that is the Delhi male.
And that itself is the reason the Slutwalk exists.
Consider the message the movement is trying to send out: No matter what a woman is wearing, she is never “asking for it.” If you disagree, then stop reading and go jump off the nearest building.
In an ideal world, a woman should be able to walk down a platform at Churchgate and board a local train completely naked, without being touched or judged, the only thought in men’s minds being, “Where has she kept her pass?”
You might argue that the world is hardly ideal, hence the need for a ‘safe’ dress code. So here’s a crazy, radical idea: How about you save your breath and just let women decide what they want to wear? Alright, so they can’t park to save their lives, and they do strange things like cover the bed with a million little pillows for no good reason, but surely we, as a society, can trust women to pick out their own clothes.
It’s not even about the clothes. Women know that guys will check them out whether they’re in a bikini or a bomb-disposal suit. A friend who used to live in Kurla once told me about how he and his friends had adapted to the social norms in the area, by learning to identify the “hot items” amongst a sea of fully veiled, burkha-clad women. I guess this is why he seems turned on while watching ninja movies.
Even then, to dispel any notions of vulgarity, the event was renamed to ‘Slutwalk Arthaarth Besharmi Morcha’ and skimpy clothes ceased to be the theme. It’s odd, considering that Delhi is routinely witness to world-class displays of vulgarity, such as a salwar-kameez clad Ramdev fleeing his “yoga camp” (or as his supporters like to call it, Woodstock)
Another common statement is that there is no male equivalent to the word ‘slut’. The closest we’ve got is ‘Ranbir Kapoor’ (And even that became redundant after he went on the Simi show and got neutered by Kiki.)
The VHP, Xenu bless their souls, has also very kindly offered to protect our culture by threatening the organisers and participants of Slutwalk. They plan to follow up this macho move by going up to little girls in playgrounds and telling them that they exist only because their parents were too westernised to kill them.
Indians are champion gawkers. We’ll gawk at anything. A fender-bender? Gawk. A white person? Gawk. MV Wisdom? OHMYGOD A SHIP! AND THAT TOO IN THE SEA?! LET ME GO TO THE BEACH AND ROCK OUT WITH MY GAWK OUT!
Of course, we reserve our best gawking performances for women. This is why I’m still sceptical about the walk. A lot will be said and heard, but in the end, it’ll just be a bunch of people staring and missing the point like Sania Mirza misses the second round of Wimbledon.
To quote that famous French electrician Voltaire, “I may not agree with your opinion, but I will defend to death your right to carry on with the Slutwalk, because it sure beats the hell out of Yoga Woodstock.”
P.S. If the Slutwalk doesn’t work, try not to blame the women.
(This is my HT column dated 3rd July 2011)