Friday, January 16, 2009

Fear and Gender in Public Spaces

India is known to be a fast developing nation, adapting to globalization and opening up and adapting to change. While it may be true for the most part, India is still majorly a patriarchal country with a male dominated society in which women are still the disadvantaged gender in many ways.
There are various factors a woman needs to consider before she steps out of her house and equality of gender is still an unfamiliar term to most women today. Women are often subjected to harassment in their daily dealings with men from the ones on the local bus, auto rickshaw drivers, to men on the streets. This has left women in a constant state of fear. While there are some situations that can be overcome, there are still many inevitable circumstances that leave a woman feeling helpless and scared.
Fear is very personal. It is an emotion which different people associate with different things. It is an experience, a memory, an association, an intuition that we experience when exposed to certain situations.
In a metropolitan city like Bangalore, there are many cultures & classes of people residing together. All these people face some form of discrimination in different spaces. For women, there aren’t as many places that are accessible compared to the ones that are inaccessible. Local bars, petty chai shops etc. are places that make a woman feel unsafe and embarrassed. Roads are unsafe to walk on after a certain time at night. Men, on the other hand, don’t have as many inaccessible spaces.
I have come to these conclusions based on my experiences as a female individual in the city and what I face on a daily basis. Hence, I feel passionately about working with spaces deemed inaccessible and experiencing it with other people.
And I think performance is a great way of expressing one’s perceptions and putting your point across. I am really intrigued by Karoline’s as well as Vera’s work, and I think it will be a completely different experience working with them on this project, and I really look forward to it.


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