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Eve-Teasers - A 'Men'ace to Society

Eve-Teasers - A 'Men'ace to Society

January 13, 2011

When friendly looks and gestures turn out to be way too friendly for comfort.

Whoever coined the term 'eve-teasing' clearly was never on the receiving end of this practice. Because eve-teasing is a lot more than just ‘teasing'.

It can leave a feeling akin to a nasty aftertaste in your mouth after you consumed one too many raw onion slices. A slight nagging feeling of disgust and shame that you just cannot shake off for a while.

Be it a crowded bus, a quiet alley, or just about anywhere, the Indian woman is subject to her daily share of leers, cat-calls, lewd comments and in some cases inappropriate touches.

If you are a female anywhere in the age group of 12-50, you will be subjected to some form of eve-teasing or the other. Caste, religion and dress code are no bar - Indian men appear to be surprisingly secular when it comes to this awful hobby or 'time-pass'.

Eve-teasers can be classified into many different types, each more repulsive than the other.

The most common kind of eve-teasers are the Roadside Romeos. They perch themselves on brick walls outside colleges, or at bus stands. They take the concept of 'checking out' the opposite sex to a whole new level.

If you happen to come under their radar (which you most certainly will at some unfortunate moment in your life in India), you will have to endure stares which are deliberately held to ensure your discomfort. Sometimes a cocky grin, a wink or a low whistle might follow.

It’s interesting to note that these same Roadside Romeos who are eager to give you lustful glances strong enough to strip the bark off trees, can get very agitated if a male so much as looks at his sister or mother.

The next group of eve-teasers are the creative minds among the lot - The Commentators.

The Commentators can belt out one cheesy line after another. From a simple comment on how a girl looks right up to the more shocking vulgar jokes on a certain passerby's anatomy. These men comment on girls loud enough for them to hear it adding to the discomfort. As if the incessant staring wasn't bad enough.

Next are the touchy-feely crowd of men. They fumble and finger their way through crowds and life, gaining some kind of 'cheap thrill' from this kind of behaviour.

Where any normal human being dreads the sight of crowded public transport and hallways, it happens to be a haven for the touchy-feely eve-teaser.

The kind of contact they make may be just an 'innocent' brush against your shoulder or side to the more daring grabbing of body parts.These kind of harrassers might be deterred by a glare and sometimes a bit of elbowing. For the more determined ones, a well placed pin prick (yes I have resorted to this), or a nice hard stamp with your heels (again tried and tested by yours truly) might come in handy.

Lastly, we come to the group of very sexually frustrated group of eve-teasers.

They resort to gimmicks bordering on an almost evil and deviant nature. Flashing in public or deliberately leaving their fly open in the company of women to name, are examples of their modus operandi. I once had the misfortune of bearing witness to an obnoxious middle aged man who had left his fly open in a fairly populated train compartment and had the gall to sit through the entire journey pretending that nothing was the matter. The horror!

What’s more shocking is that many eve-teasers are not the teenage boys with their raging hormones. Middle-aged and elder men who seem perfectly respectable at first sight can be observed resorting to these practices.

Although a lot of this attitude is changing, owing to the growing boldness and awareness among women, it is changing at a painfully slow rate. The vast majority of Indian men still need to learn to respect a woman’s' private space and curb their curiosity and sexual interests.


  • The NRI
    The NRI
    17.05.12 01:33 AM
    @ Harry and Ravi - please moderate your language if you intend to post any further comments. And Ravi, do not post your name as HARRY. This is just adding confusion.

    Ravi - your comment "So that’s reason boys tease or even kill a girl…eve teasin is the only way to express who much cheap that girl is…" was very offensive and implies that you personally believe rape and murder are justified where a girl is misleading a guy. If this is not your personal view, then you should clarify your position. The only reason I allowed your comments to be published was precisely so that other readers could challenge them.

    Your statement - that if you are decent then no-one will harm you - is completely false and simply not supported up by cold hard statistics. Women and girls (read children) are sexually assaulted in the thousands across every region of India. There is a consensus that Delhi is one of the most dangerous cities in the world for women.

    Just to make things clear, if you believe there is any excuse whatsoever for a women to be sexually attacked, you will not be welcome here.
    17.05.12 12:35 AM
    U dirty stupid idiot...Might b ur mother belong to that kind of a girl...Oke,here,iam talkin about an attitude of a girl...This shows how much poor ur understanding about a girl..Indian boys or men or even women never do sex before marriage,its ur dirty foriegn culture,n by the way...I was not talkin or lookin a women as sex,I was givn her option,its v r human beings not animal its very tough 4r a person to forget a person in hs lyf if they r alive,but for few cheap pple it is easy,It ws frndship grls r cheatin boys by this word...its better u shut ur mouth n sit at ur home..2day u do frndshp 2mrow u say good bye,what the hell is this??thn why the hell u did frndshp vth me???n u dirty idiot how much dare u hav to talk about or use tthe word sex to a girl..U ass fuckers,our Indian women never do sex before marriage,never ever use the word Sex to Indian Women...U dont understand english??...Did i used that thing?If a Indian girl had sex b4 marriage call her as prostitute not girl..oke mind ur words...."ass fucker hw much dare you hav to say word u want sex in rreturn for money expendited on her to me?"Even if ur sister herself removes clothes also I dont do sex..not me any Indian boy..this is India..U hav very poor understandin 2 english....try to understand atleast nw idiot..the topic is u cant take grantd the eve-teasing case for a girl,u hav to consider about what kind of girl she is...even a cheap girl takin this as an advantage to use boys...Topic is about ur views on eve-teasing..its not that either i had sex or not..i defended vth an example..u poor brain understand concept b4 u react....if some body eve-teasin a girl,undrstand therz something bad about her could b also 1 one of the reason 4r it..if u r very decent then no body vl harm or say anything to u..peole respect good people n talk bad about bad people.....u hav no rght to talk about my personal..n the dirty thing in world is a boy vl never suppourt a boy...Mr. Harry--try to understnd topic...i ws givin ideas 4rm all corners to strengthen thier research to people workin on it...u cn discuss but u dnt hav rght to judge..frst,understand how wrongly u replied..topic ws nt that..
    16.05.12 10:07 PM
    @ RAVI

    What planet do you live on ??? and this is not a fuc*ing question. Just incase you are an idiot.

    Do you always ask for sex in return because you paid for some taxi fare and tickets, then you are an idiot. No wonder these girls don't want to know you. Coz I want to slap you too, if this is your attitude in life.

    You have problem, and the only solution I see for you is lobotomy.
  • ravi
    16.05.12 04:04 PM
    Indian Girls r turning into bitches...they r using boys,they want boys to recharge thier mobiles,drop or pay taxi bills,buy movie tckts, 4r this grls r makin frndship vth unknown people,they use them..they stay in thier limits,they dont allow u to touch or enjoy thm but they eat away all ur money,after someday if they find a beter option than they ignore him,and if u repeatedly call or msg they wont reply...if u ask them giv me my money kept n U or else im nt goin 2 leave,then hey r sayin I vl complain to police....what should a boy do such a dirty stupid bitch??even a prostitute is good,they giv enjoymnt fr money,but this dirty girls eatts ur money n givs u lot off tension...2day they frndsp vth u 2morw if they found beter option they vl leave....Indin men loves girls blindly,girs r playin vth this weakness n they r tympassin vth boys...So that's reason boys tease or even kill a girl...eve teasin is the only way to express who much cheap that girl is...
  • Nadeem Naqvi
    Nadeem Naqvi
    11.11.11 08:04 AM
    Ms. Maria Francis let me appreciate of the research article which you have posted here on eve-teasing.
    I also agree that this is a pathetic state for the female folks, and this can be controlled by the females themselves as you have mentioned some preventive measures. But the other thing can be done is to educate the males about the modesty of female and make them understand that it is the male who is the custodian of the female honour, and they must respect it.
  • TJ
    11.11.11 03:34 AM
    My explanation to this phenomenon of eve-teasing might be a little counter intuitive. To this day, expressing sexuality (even if it were discreet) is a taboo in India. Premarital social interaction between the sexes is looked at as being inappropriate in most parts of India. Hence people, especially men(being the dominant sexual gender) resort to movies, pornography or even misconduct to let out those frustrations. Unfortunately, our Government is tackling this problem only for the short term by segregating the sexes when it comes to public transport. Eve-teasing is a mentality issue that would have to be dealt with on so many more levels. Even our cinema industry indirectly promotes this vice. How many times have we not seen the protagonist of the movie indulge in eve-teasing as a part of flirtatious beginnings of a courtship. A gross solution to this problem would be more cultural liberty, and that would take decades if not more to come about.
  • Mrutyunjaya Panda
    Mrutyunjaya Panda
    10.11.11 10:05 PM
    Being a recent NRI, I really like the perspective that Maria brings about in her unique humorous way. So, a big thank you to her.

    As for eve-teasing, I think the basic problem stems from a lack of respect and inability to grasp the concept of equality.

    Most people actually believe that their "X" is more important than someone else's "X" i.e. eve-teasers take offence at someone teasing their sister/mother, but have no qualms doing the same to others. They somehow believe their sister/mothers' deserve better than anyone else's. Its sheer hypocrisy. Secondly, we have get past conventional practices of blaming the victims. We have to strongly oppose when police or other "elders" start asking "why was she there in the first place?". These attitudes need to change.
  • Deepak
    29.09.11 03:00 PM
    wonderful story and much needed.
    Its really a shame that the change rate is very slow. Good and Proud to know about the awareness among Indian women and their bold attitude to overcome such incidents.
  • Preeti
    28.09.11 12:24 PM
    So Kajal Iyer has a "bra-burning feminist" hiding inside her. So what? Why exactly is a feminist such a monstrosity that she needs to be feared, ridiculed and made a mockery of?

    By definition, a feminist is just somebody who believes that women have rights and that these should be respected.

    One of the central tenets of feminism is the ability for a woman to make her own choices and not have her choices and decisions made for her, just to preserve outdated traditions and so-called "social equilibirum".

    In short, I feel no hesitation or shame in calling myself a feminist, and I am baffled everytime a woman begins a sentence with "I am not a feminist but...."

    Feminists are not man-haters, and most of us demonised feminists have a great deal of respect for the men in our lives, men who are our husbands, sons, brothers and fathers.
  • NNNiiiXXX
    23.08.11 12:44 PM
    Very well written post. This truly is disgusting... And to think that even my mother and sister were not spared and that the same will happen to my wife or daughter is even more troubling...

    @Plingal and @Kajal: Equally interesting comments guys... Enjoyed readin both ur views too...
  • Hannah
    27.04.11 05:56 PM
    True Maria...the rate of change is painfully slow! Good write always...I'm a fan of your flow of words :)
  • theReader
    15.01.11 07:16 PM
    @Kajal Iyer: No hard feelings girl, but i think you have a bit of it ("a bra burning feminist") in you. * me bows *

    It's a simple theory - opposites attract. Excess of anything is bad. Just as excessive rain causes flood, excess heat leads to draught, i think excessive lust in men takes several forms of eve-teasing. Hehe pls ignore my silly/dumb examples...i was try to crack a pj :)

    "lustful glances strong enough to strip the bark off trees" - ha ha ha :D classic phrase!
  • Plingal
    15.01.11 01:15 AM
    @Kajal - Being bold or not is one's choice and I'm in no way advocating for or against. And neither am I seeking out for women to be meek or for men to carry on with their social evils (like eve teasing) just because they can get away with it.

    That being said you're missing the point that I'm trying to get across. Boldness has its pitfalls - You are seeing that with Indian men and eve teasing being one of the outcomes. Women are (whether you think I'm seeking to control it or not), going to stand up for themselves - that's just plain evolution. But the point is that this emboldening will come with its share of societal problems which is not minuscule either like you think it possibly is. So we/society better be ready !. And before you begin to speculate - no I'm not asking women to not be bold because of possible future hurdles, but just assume I'm trying to make them aware.

    @Maria - we seem to have made your blog make it into the popular posts .. :)
  • Kajal Iyer
    Kajal Iyer
    14.01.11 10:41 PM
    Again Plingal you are saying that women should stand up to societal evils and in the same breath you seek to control their standing up for themselves. Any standing up to an evil won't have adverse impact. Misuse of societal sanction leads to eve teasing, I see that you might be pointing at a minsicule minority that might be misusing some rights, but just because some do that, you are saying that everyone should be a little meek. Let's not forget that maintaining equanimity in society is not a woman's sole responsibility, it is also the man's. Women have adapted themselves to changes in men from cavemen days to corporate shark days, I guess its only fair to ask the men also to step up to accepting some 'boldness' from women. The problem I see with your thought process is that you feel only women standing up for themselves is disturbing the balance, maybe its also because women are being pushed to being bold for mere survival. Yes, there are some men who may have got a rough end of the stick, I don't condone that either. Let's not confuse equality with sameness but let's not also label assertion of identity as 'trying to get ahead of one's station in life'.
  • Plingal
    14.01.11 08:57 PM
    @Maria - I see quite a few articles/blogs on this subject (specifically sexual harrassment). But in most somehow it comes down to boy harrasses/eve-teases a girl spiel - which is the truth. It however is more than that - the soceity has a big part to play in it and was trying my bit to bring awareness to that (Now please don't construe that as me giving the eve teasers a pass .. :). I'm not - have 2 sisters of my own too .. :)).
  • Plingal
    14.01.11 08:51 PM
    @Kajal Iyer - My comment on teen pregnancy was targeted towards the following excerpt from the blog (which I should've made more clear) - "this attitude is changing, owing to the growing boldness and awareness among women". Like you rightly pointed out there is no direct connection between Teenage Pregnancy and Eve Teasing but I DO believe there is to the so called Boldness.

    It is more than possible that as more and more women stand up to eve teasing (which we see is the case already in bigger towns and cities - albeit slowly), that could have a positive impact on the evils of eve teasing. But with that comes other soceital fallings, and that is what I was trying to get across.
  • priya
    14.01.11 05:49 PM
    seems to have stirred up a hornet's nest. critical analysis running deep on your write up. good for you.
  • Kajal Iyer
    Kajal Iyer
    14.01.11 04:15 PM
    I am not a bra burning feminist either, but I still have an objection to what the first commentor has said. Am I to understand then that people should not have freedom to do something they are doing on their own i.e. consensual sex, but its ok or rather should be tolerated when people indulge in infringing another's right to basic dignity by eve teasing them?

    Teen pregnancy and eve teasing cannot be connected. One is about abuse and the other is about immature or rash lifestyle choices. The two are very different and one cannot justify or cancel the other. Infact, there is no point of comparison other than the fact that two members of opposite sex are required in it, but then that is the requirement for many societal norms too. So please don't make these comparisons to make light of another grave issue. Both are separate issues and need to be dealt with separate sensibilities.
  • Maria
    14.01.11 08:30 AM
    All this written under the risk of sounding like yet another hard-core feminist which I assure you I am not! :)
  • Maria
    14.01.11 08:29 AM
    Wow! That comment was almost as long as my post :D
    Looks like a lot of thought went into that. You have clearly mapped out the other side of the coin.

    Testosterone and its effects are all quite understandable but lets not forget that women have something called estrogen too. And clearly we have learnt to keep that under control instead of groping the first male who comes into our radius ;)
  • Plingal
    14.01.11 02:45 AM
    There is no denying the fact that eve teasing is an evil one (read soceity here) can live without. And every single one of us that belong to the un-fairer sex at some point of time in their life has been responsible for its outreach. Without a complete overhaul of the malaise that is called "Testosterone" don't expect that to subside either. Having said all that there are a few parameters (imho) that play into this
    1. Boys in India (think villages and country sides - where the majority of the Indian population resides) have been empowered since birth - the bread earner syndrome lingers well after the feudal systems has supposedly been laid to dust.
    2. The male to female ratio in India is 1.07 (for the age range of 15 - 65 where the hero'es of this blog lie). And that ratio is larger in the lower age groups. It is my belief that given that the subjects live in the animal kingdom Darwins theory kicks in. And from that comes the evolution of our species to attract their mate in any which form - one of which turns out to be eve teasing.
    3. You alluded to the fact that it is more prominent in India. Well it is quite the opposite in other parts of the world. Would you rather have your daughter/sister be eve-teased, heckled upon once in a while - or would you rather have the same person be so bold that you are bearing the responsibility of bringing up your teenage daughters child ?. It feels good to look at the pro's of the so-called boldness - but always remember it has its Hyde side too.

    Anyways I want to reiterate that I am not condoning eve teasers but just wanted to point out that the blog has looked at only one side of the coin - understandably.

    Good Post - keep 'em coming !

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