Whenever we discuss about problems that women face in their day to day lives we instantly talk about eve-teasing, stalking and rapes in extreme cases. But there is something to add in this list that always goes unnoticed that is the gaze. This gaze is for the every eye that tries to scrutinize the girl’s body. Now, the question arises how does a mere look harass a woman? It does. Whenever a girl passes by every man’s eye tries to look at the girl as if it is in search of something. This look is so offending that even though the girl doesn’t react, it hurts her. Why can’t people just do their own work, what is the need of staring girls who are present there? There is a need to go and ask those people,” do I look like an alien”?
Physical abuse though counts quite a lot but mental abuse too matters and this look of people affects the mind as well as self-confidence of a woman to a great extent. When a girl goes out of her protected atmosphere she has to face a number of problems and this staring nature of men is amongst the one. People do not take it seriously though but it’s the high time to change this “habit”. Girls are not an object of gaze; we are not a piece of show to be put in some exhibition. We too are normal beings, why don’t people understand this fact? Men stare us as if they have got eyes with x-ray beam. Why is it not getting in consideration? Just because even girls tend to ignore this practice and endure the harm done to their self-respect. A girl could perceive the intentions of the onlooker but she hardly shows resistance to it. She herself lowers her eyes or starts looking somewhere else instead of rebuking. This is very wrong, it is simply encouraging the evil intents of that lot. What should we feel ashamed of… being a girl? There is no need to neglect such people rather girls should stare them back until they lower down their eyes and feel ashamed of their act. What to be scared off when we are at no wrong?
This doesn’t just end here. The above mentioned bit was about something that is not socially acceptable if talked about. And what could be done for the exhibition that takes place of parental consent? Yes, you read it right. In arrange marriages, the ritual of showing the girl to the groom and his family still continues. Under the name of this ceremony what torture a girl goes through, nobody can understand. And it is under the approval of that very society which points finger at every single thing. Even the parents very happily take part in this show. The society moulds its views to its own advantage and since patriarchy has not yet took its hands off the Indian society this practice is wishfully continued. The girl is made to walk, sit, serve snacks, sing and similar other stuffs while the groom and his family members enjoy the whole performance. The girl too silently goes through all this drama to keep her parents’ honour. But give it a thought, what does the boy do? Certainly nothing. In most of the cases of arrange marriages, there are no scales of requirements set for a boy but the girl needs to pass the scrutiny test.
Then the question comes that why these girls are still enduring such things when they are offending their self-respect. This endurance and silence is providing them a push to carry on with this unnecessary ceremony. Arrange marriages have become a kind of market and girls as an object of gaze where people come to observe with judgemental eyes and check for good quality. The basic problem lies in the silence of these girls who are not putting an end to this at individual level and not showing resentment against it. Problems never end by supressing them or avoiding them. The best method to do away with an issue is by bringing it in the limelight and by speaking out your voice. The courage to speak out one’s voice not only lacks in those girls who are not educated but it is also seen amongst the ones who are educated and who know about their rights. They still prefer to endure the torture than raising out their voice, thinking what alone they as individuals can make difference in the society but their thinking goes wrong here. It is not just one voice but it could become the commander of all those voices that remain unheard or unnoticed.
Why are we giving ourselves up to the gaze that falls upon us? Why are we not standing against it? Why do we prefer being under an observation all the time rather voicing out the pain we feel? If somebody stares you, stare him back, show him that we are not afraid of your gaze and we no longer will submit to your gaze. Speaking for a right purpose is not wrong and one should not hesitate in doing so. Time has come to know our rights and to use them as well after getting aware about them. The time has come to answer back every person who considers us weak, to tell them that we no longer will sustain your torture in any case be it a crime as rape or your gaze while travelling in a public place or even at a private space. How trivial the matter the other person takes it as, one must stand against this practice as it is also a kind of mental harassment. We need to tell the world now that ‘we will no longer be subjected to your gaze’.