Some of my old readers might remember a two part post which I did some time back, “It happened “ and “couple of good news” . It was one of those posts where some of the people were disappointed at my behavior, and some excited as to what might follow. The part 3 of that story never happened and till today I never saw that girl/woman again.
Why did I think about that incident?, you might wonder. I see a lot of campaign going on TV these days, saying stop leching. I have read numerable blogs which talk about the subject eve teasing, incidents related to molestation which seem to be finding headlines in Indian media almost every other day. People at mall’s being groped and comments of sexual nature being passed at, passers by. I totally agree that these forms of crime against women should not be tolerated; more importantly should be dealt with bigger punishments. Women today are being subjected to this kind of nonsense, and high levels of humiliation, is this making smaller crimes like looking/staring acceptable?. Firstly is looking/staring really a crime.
I have to admit, I am a little confused when it comes to the difference between looking and staring. I did what I knew best searching for it over the internet
star•ing: To look directly and fixedly, often with a wide-eyed gaze. See synonyms at gaze.
look•ing: employ one’s sight, especially in a given direction or on a given object: looking out the window; looked at the floor.
So from this, it appears as if “looking” is just having a glance where as, starting is to have a prolonged and wide eyed look. So how often men/women are guilty with this?. I mean we all look at things around us, and people of opposite sex happen to be around us, so we do spot them. So may be looking is not that much of a crime. Moving onto the staring part, after one has had a look, if he/she continues to look with deeper interests, in a fashion making the person of interest conscious, that would constitute a “stare”. Now is that bad?. I feel yes in most cases.
There have been numerous times, when I am really angry and have given wide long stares at the other person, Instead of yelling out abuses or even breaking into a verbal fight. So I do know consciously when I want to stare, how to do it. If one has really bad intentions, he/she might end up indulging in “staring” for bad reasons. However when the intentions are not consciously bad, when one is genuinely looking when it turns into a stare is a difficult line to draw. How many times have we caught ourselves staring at something or someone without even realizing? So when that happens, does that constitute a crime?. Going by the approach that, a murder committed unconsciously still constitutes a crime, this as well might end up in such a bracket. All it calls for is more self control.
So coming back to the twin incidents, was I guilty?. May be yes for looking, and definitely no for staring, not at this case atleast, mainly because if I know me, you can relate, when I say that, most of my staring happens in the “mind”, where I tend to think about things which matter to me the most in a person. Infact one of the most common problems I face in public places is when, I kind of get lost in my thoughts, my eyes drifts unknowingly to a distant object, mainly towards sky, or a distant gate in view, or the most commonly window by the side, at this moment if someone is sitting in the line of sight, I have ended up being conscious of the fact that someone might mistake that I am staring at them.
I don’t claim to be a hermit, I do look around, and very rarely continue to look at people from opposite sex, but it needs a very good mood. I mean normally I am never in good mood. When I walk around the city, and chose to walk with my head down or up towards the sky, I have imagined many a times, that girls around me might think what kind of a fool I am to do that, or whats wrong with him.
I recently came across a project called “Blank noise”. . I had seen this couple of months ago, and was wondering how men can contribute to such projects, today got to read some sections in the site, mainly to understand what really bothers women, and how bad is the situation. Looking at the statistics there, the situation seems to be really bad. So we do need more of us to contribute. So made me wonder how I can contribute. What we can all do is first consciously avoid doing simplest of things, even things like starting or avoidable ‘looking’. One might be really good, but if his/her friend tries to indulge in such things, or even try to glorify it as achievement, be quick to point out how stupid they are to think that as achievement. Atleast try and discourage people around you who try to whistle or pass comments. We can do atleast this much cant we?