Monday, March 02, 2009

Ogled

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

I forgot the post I was planning in my head this morning, so the one that should have come next will be first, instead.

This is a rather touchy topic, so I apologize if any sentiments are hurt, but a) I've become a bit desensitized and lost my old sense of modesty, I guess you could say {I'm much more open and, yes, mature, than I was a few years ago}, and 2) it's a topic that needs discussing in some way or form, especially because it's important to me personally.

Sometime last week, a girlfriend and I were hanging out and decided to grab a bite to eat somewhere. The day started out pretty cold, so I donned my trusty KU hoodie {which was purposely bought a size too big}, and thinking that I wouldn't be taking it off, threw on a shirt I've sort of grown out of {I've been meaning to clean out my closet for a year now, it just doesn't seem to happen.. I stand there and stare and stare and stare, but all the clothes are still there!}. Okay, sorry with the lame jokes.. Just trying not to let the topic of this post get me down. roar.

Anyway, it had gotten pretty warm, enough for me to become uncomfortable in my over-sized hoodie. I figured it was no big deal if I took it off for a while. Just long enough to walk from the parking space to Subway, get a sandwich made, and head right back. We get out of the car and walk across the parking lot, and hit the Starbucks. There are two men sitting outside at one of those little tables, and they look at us. A passing glance I understand, but these guys are looking. I'm sort of used to it, because this particular friend of mine dresses somewhat revealingly {by good-girl Indian standards at the very, very least}, so I'm used to males staring in our direction whenever I'm with her. But I was shocked to find that one of the dudes was checking ME out.



Now, I've led a sheltered life. Only been hit on by creeps {I seriously mean creeps, I'm not just calling a very nice young man a creep 'cause he came on to me}. I dress pretty conservatively in regards to how much of me can actually be seen. Heck, I hate wearing half-sleeve t-shirts! And though every girl I know says that guys will check you out even if they think you're ugly, I guess I'm just not used to it. So, like I said, I was surprised. I let it go. People are people, men are men, etc.

We walk on. We pass by the UPS store and are at Subway now, but still have to walk some distance to the door. There are three guys sitting outside in front of the Subway. The first two guys had been older, the younger one maybe early to mid-thirties, but these guys were our age, 20 at the oldest. They could NOT have made it any more obvious that they were checking the both of us out. I'm trying to leave race out of it, but I do feel that in this case, both age and race combined led to the difference in style and conspicuousness of ogling, but that's beside the point.

The point here is, despite being really covered up, I was still being checked out from head to toe by guys I don't know, and feeling pretty damn low about it. I know some women will consider it a compliment, but in most cases, it just makes me feel cheap. I knew girls in high school that wore rags and complained about guys staring at them and hitting on them, etc. I think that's just stupid. They ask why they can't dress however they want - no one's stopping you. Dress like a prostitute if you like, but then don't complain when guys look at you everywhere you go. Most of you are asking for it and then deny it to save face among the girls. Those who aren't - what do you want when you do it, then? Consider that. If you dress provocatively, you have to deal with the consequences, and I understand this.

But what about people like me? Girls who go out of their way to find clothes that they like, that also aren't revealing. Do you know how hard it is to shop around here? Find clothes with a high enough neckline, long enough arms, long enough torso, not tight or clingy or see-through. I mean, I have seriously considered {multiple times} just wearing a suit everywhere to save myself the trouble, but I really do like wearing jeans, etc.

So why am I rambling about this? Because it bothers me that no matter what I do, I have to somehow come to terms with the fact that I'm probably going to get checked out everywhere I go, and this includes Nagar Kirtans, while I'm wearing a chola {though this is a separate blog post, I think}. What will it take? Should I wear a burka? Or will guys start making up features for me then?

I don't know what I'm supposed to do. I know many, many people will say I am too modest and am overreacting, and that's fine if they think so. I can't help it - being raised in an Indian and a Sikh household, these things were not a part of my life. I've only recently started actually hanging out with friends outside of someone's house/the Guruduara Sahib, etc. My experience with the outside world was limited to high school. I know guys will say girls check them out, too, but I think less women are as obvious about it as men are. I don't. I'll be totally honest - most of the time when I'm around guys, my head is down, unless it's someone I know and am comfortable with, and even then I'm too busy being shy and looking away. I'm just weird like that, and I know I'm the exception to the rule.

*sigh* I'm exasperated. With myself for the stupid blog post, and with those men who don't care how the women they're staring at might feel. I wasn't inviting looks. I didn't ask for it. I dress carefully so as to try and avoid this situation, but I'm sure now that it never works. So what do I do? Accept this as another consequence of being born female? We seem to have a lot of those, don't we..

And I'm not trying to make it seem like women have it SO hard and that all men should feel guilty. No - I know my brothers have it rough, too. But being a woman {so weird calling myself that, I think I'll just stick to girl}, I'm worried about myself and my sisters before you all :p

Grr. My apologies for a pretty useless post.

I think I'm more interested in guys' opinions on this than the ladies'. I know what the various views of women are - I want to hear the guys' side for once.

bhullchukmaaf
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

10 Responses to “Ogled”

Anonymous said...

Sorry not the opinion of a guy but you know I can't help commenting on posts like this. Firstly, It's not a stupid post and you should not feel exasperated with yourself for writing it.

There is that thing of men will always be men etc etc... and people (men and women) will inevitably have different views on sexuality depending on their religious / political outlook on life. You cannot change that without changing their outlook on life generally... and how many people's views can we change alone? It's good to talk about it... because collective opinions count for more (rightly or wrongly)

The characteristics and feelings you describe are similar to the ones I used to have as an adolescent. I dressed similarly... behaved similarly... and had the same weird experiences. As you grow up you become more comfortable with yourself (your mind body and soul) and you learn to ignore things like that. See they can look but they can't touch and they certainly can't touch or pollute what is inside of you. (Not unless you let them)

As for how you behave around men... Ask yourself why? It's okay to be comfortable about talking to people.. Men and women alike... the fact that we are formed differently does not mean that we are not are essentially the same! When you feel like that around someone... remember that our religion gave us equality. I know it's culturally polite for to be modest and 'shy' around men that you don't know but this is a cultural attribute... not a Sikh one. So this one is your choice.

Anyways... ramble ramble as usual...

(",)

b said...

So strange that I check this on the day that the same thoughts were running through my mind and the day the same occurrences occurred.

Anonymous said...

"I knew girls in high school that wore rags and complained about guys staring at them and hitting on them, etc" that is because they were in high school! That is almost "natural" to do at that age. So long as it's not done after they have hit, say 25 (a bit random age I just thought of), its okay.

Anonymous said...

I'd say don't let it bother you. Why? Who cares if someone's looking at you? YOU aren't doing anything wrong... YOU aren't asking them to look at you. I remember a story, very vaguely, about Guruji addressing a Rani who wore a long vale in order to be "modest"... Guru ji told her, said her choice of clothing did not say anything about her modesty, that she was falsely modest because from within she still desired to be desirable. And the rani knew he was right.. she ran naked from the palace (in the version I read).
I think the whole point of bana is not to encourage us to "dress modestly" but to give us a uniform that does not pressure us to conform to the narrow expectations of society, that allows us to let go of our self-image and let ourselves take on the image of the Guru and leave ourselves behind, so that we may BE modest... not simply pretend to be.
I think what you need to keep in mind is that it's not about how people look at you - it's about how you look at yourself.

Anonymous said...

If you live in the western world & you dress western then you shouldn't expect any different. Unfortunately we don't live in the days or in the presence of ONLY Gursikhs, where when they see a bibi they see their sister/mother/daughter.
You cover yourself, & I don't doubt you do but:
1)Although Skinny jeans cover your skin, your whole LEG shape IS revealed. - maybe wanna try sticking to wide leg pants/jeans.
2)A tight/fitted/short top also reveals your upper body figure clearly - looser tops show less shape.
Often I see Muslim women in very appropriate clothing, for example: bootleg jean, a long kurta/tunic top (above the knee but covering rear) and head scarf which they wrap on their head and somehow manage to wear it so it covers their chest. I always think I need a lesson in scarf wearing from them.
This is not a personal attack on you, just some suggestions to avoid being leered over by the world of kaljug.
Further still, if you would like some anonymity from your online identity I think the most effective way would be to less present online...maybe you don't need a flickr/blog space/fb/myspace/& whatever else there is out there. I'm NOT saying you have all those accounts, just a general suggestion for everyone.
Guru Sahib Loves you.

DK said...

It totally sucks when guys stare, especially singhs, don't you just wanna give em a knuckle sandwich!? lol
I think its important for women to dress moderatly but at the same time, you have no control over the actions of others. I mean, how can you control someone's eyes when you've done everything possible to keep your dignity?
"Further still, if you would like some anonymity from your online identity I think the most effective way would be to less present online...maybe you don't need a flickr/blog space/fb/myspace/& whatever else there is out there. I'm NOT saying you have all those accounts, just a general suggestion for everyone."
So So True!
Finding balance is what will keep you safe.
Bless <3

pupurupus said...

i am a man of 38. and am commenting on your post for being so honest and feeling uneasy. even i do have a quick look but that is very rarely only if my instincts feel that i have seen my dream type that is "simple & natural" which i rarely see not even 1 in a year. but generally others when i see i look, yes. but i do not like to scan. the moment that girl looks back i give a little smile and thats it. i do not go below her face except for hand and feet. the latter i have interest to see what type of a sandal it is and how that feet looks with the sandal. (not when in shoes) i like people in thin simple sandals. i never keep on looking. only few seconds and that is enough for me to know a person. (at least to some extent) some times a moment is all you need. i have begun to know of "sikh" only recently and women covering to some extent is something close to our culture. though i am moderate and my country too. you can find the same rag type you say even here. you have an interesting culture and you should be happy for that. some men look at women for sexual thoughts in mind. others just as a habit that they cannot undo. others simple because they have nothing else to do. others because they admire beauty. and others simply because they pass by. in all meas be thankful to what ever creator you believe in that you are made special the "only" you that anyone can find on this whole round earth. (i do not know outside earth) so they are looking at "you" that they cannot find anywhere else. be that unique you always. let them look for it is you who is passing by. and they just waiting like a dreamer watching a star above. can see but cannot touch. (unless a crazy man comes and touch you...hehe...oops sorry for that...i pray no one touch you in that way) there will be all kinds of people everywhere and we two cannot help but only try to avoid. you will only know a man is watching if you or someone with you looks at that person. but yes i know even you are human and have this instinct of looking back. but if you (after one look) try not to look back again. thats it. your uneasiness might go a little bit. a man will look mostly in a womans face, neck, bosom (excuse me), hip, the way one walks, the gestures thats signaling back, the "dance" in the body (believe me some women really do over "dance" when a man looks). do you know shy a man looks at a womans bosom while on the road. some women wear loose under garments and some men like watching them in the "walking" movement. and some men just stare only because its the opposite sex. and only because either they never had a woman or they have had too few. a man who has had a "good" woman for what ever he wants to do will never stare a woman on the road other than to see the eyes and smile. do not even think that i have had many. NO have not. but i think that it is the smile in a woman that i like most. so next time when you a guy just simply be yourself and know that they are looking at not just anybody but "you". your dressing beautiful. never be another that you are not. you the "you" is the strength in you. take care and forward is the way you are heading. never look back. i am sure you will grow into a responsible clever fine and true Indian lady. or is it this that you are afraid of?

Avi said...

that's just how society is.. people will never change =(

ArtofLiving said...

Granthi caught watching porn clips in gurdwara - India National News - August 13th , 2009

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/Granthi-caught-watching-porn-clips-in-gurdwara/articleshow/4883683.cms

LUDHIANA: In an incident that shocked gurdwara goers on Tuesday, a granthi (Sikh priest) was caught watching clips of a porn film on his mobile
phone that was hidden under the table on which he had kept the scripture.

The granthi, who managed to run away after his transgression was noticed, had allegedly been doing this for quite some time. According to sarpanch Amrik Singh of Jhar Sahab, near Ludhiana, the incident came to light in the morning when a faithful praying at the Jhar Sahab gurdwara, managed by SGPC, found granthi Gurpreet Singh ‘‘wasn’t concentrating in the prayers and was rather distracted by something else underneath the table on which the scriptures were placed’’.

‘‘I was shocked to see that the granthi was actually busy seeing pornographic clips on his cellphone that he had cleverly hidden under the table,’’ said Jasbir Singh Gill, one of those praying at the gurdwara. ‘‘I immediately called the head granthi, Jaspal Singh, and we caught the man red-handed.’’

‘‘We have registered an FIR under IPC section 295 (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) against the accused after checking the porn movie clips in his mobile,’’ said Rajesh Kumar, SHO, under whose jurisdiction Jhar Sahab falls. This is the second time in recent days something like this involving a granthi has happened.

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