Ahead of International Women’s Day this year, Supari Studio’s Vitamin Stree came out with ‘What Were You Wearing’, a hard-hitting video about how Indian women condition themselves to work around the ‘male gaze’.
The video features a poem, penned by Gaya Lobo Gajiwala, and has the perfect response to the question women have been asked innumerable times: But, what were you wearing?
Speaking to The Quint, Gaya said that she was incensed by the constant assumption that a woman’s safety is in her hands.
The normalisation of the male gaze was really getting to me. Seriously, how instinctively do we adjust our necklines and hemlines, both in the boardroom and on the streets?Gaya Lobo Gajiwala
“I think I'd gotten particularly annoyed about the fact that the girls in the school I was teaching at at the time would be asked to wear jeans on field trips but the boys could wear shorts,” she added.
The soundtrack used in the video, is a careful mix of the cat-calling, the hoots and the sounds eve-teasers make at women. Created by Zain Calcuttawala and Siddharth Talwar, the soundtrack is “literally the soundtrack to our lives every moment we're out in the streets”, says Gaya.
The poem says:
Wolf whistles no longer pierce my calm. My ears don’t tingle and my cheeks don’t burn.
There’s always someone though, who asks, but what were you wearing?
Politicians have said the most obnoxious things about women being raped. molested or groped. They (and society in general) often blame the women for the incident, faulting near about everything – what they wore, who they were with and time of the day (or night).
So, the next time a man asks you, "What were you wearing?" just tell them, "Your gaze".