The Blank Noise project

by Sunny
9th March, 2006 at 3:17 am    

Yesterday was International Women’s Day which I nominally regard as a silly PR stunt. However this time it would be right to plug The Blank Noise project – a blog based campaign against harassment of women in India. The Indian blogosphere has quite admirably been very supportive of the project but that should come as no surprise since it’s populated by educated, liberal types.

I hope the project moves out of the blogosphere in a sustainable and concrete form so it can move away from preaching to the converted so to speak. Also admirable is their unwillingness to tolerate statements such as “Wear what you want! You just want to be leeched at right?” My hats off to the women, who have been running the project for a year now.

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Filed in: India,Sex equality,South Asia

18 Comments below   |  

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  1. mirax — on 9th March, 2006 at 9:22 am  

    “Yesterday was International Women’s Day which I nominally regard as a silly PR stunt”


    Not wanting to knock you around too much, Sunny (we wimin are known for our boundless kindness rather than our ass-kickin prowess, afterall), but an Indian blog project about eve teasing was all you found worthy of making an exception for?

  2. Jay Singh — on 9th March, 2006 at 9:23 am  

    Hmmm..mirax, bit personal that, play the ball not the person….whoops!

  3. mirax — on 9th March, 2006 at 9:30 am  

    I’d think that you’re flirting (very ineptly) Jay if I didn’t know better..;-) Get a life!

    Also learn to read. Asking Sunny for an explanation for a rather throwaway sentence (and sentiment) or questioning his choice of subject is pretty legit and NOT a PERSONAL attack. I know this sort of niceties often escape you but you gotta try boy!

  4. Jay Singh — on 9th March, 2006 at 9:34 am  

    I’d think that you’re flirting (very ineptly) Jay if I didn’t know better

    You have lost the freakin’ plot

  5. Sunny — on 9th March, 2006 at 11:48 am  

    Heh, well I knew someone was going to pull me up on that. The way I see it, women’s rights is an every day thing… it’s how society should be structured and formulated. Having a one off day not only makes no difference, it smacks of tokenism.

  6. squared — on 9th March, 2006 at 1:36 pm  

    Special days in general are bound to become nothing more than PR stunts – but if it raises awareness, what’s the problem?

    Would you have mentioned this group had it not been International Women’s day? Probably not sunny, because, admit it or not, the fact that the day was there reminded you of these issues and the people out there fighting for them.

    Couple that with the fact that it reminds WOMEN themselves what they have achieved and what they can accomplish, and I’d say it’s a tad bit more exciting and effective than Valentine’s day.

  7. Siddhartha Singh Muslim — on 9th March, 2006 at 1:53 pm  

    Sunny, I don’t think tokenism is the right word for an awareness raising day. Its a time for women to celebrate themselves, their achievements and also to discuss their obstacles and their failures. I went to a Bengali women’s IWD “function” in the East End on Sunday and it was very rewarding and not to mention a part-ay. If thats tokenism then Id’ say that’s good tokenism.

  8. Amit — on 9th March, 2006 at 2:17 pm  

    Well said squared!

    People seem to forget that special days such as this are there to raise awareness which I personally believe they do. There may be a hint of PR in there but the ultimate goal will always be raising awareness and if it gets people to stand up and take note then it can’t be anything bad!

  9. Sunny — on 9th March, 2006 at 5:20 pm  

    It’s rather like a ‘diversity day’ at any organisation. Unless its part of the actual strategy, then tokenistic ‘awareness raising days’ end up being one-off things than an actual part of everything.

    Why do we need awareness raising about 50% of our society? It’s ludicrous! What do you need awareness raising about? That women exist? That they deserve equal rights? It’s preaching the the converted – all these events. I would rather that the government, and companies, spend money on actually enforcing equality than spending time and effort on one-off days and thereby giving the illusion that “they care”.

  10. El Cid — on 9th March, 2006 at 5:49 pm  

    I agree Sunny.
    I’m more interested in real practical help, such as govt incentives for job share schemes and efforts to tackle domestic violence.

  11. Kiran — on 9th March, 2006 at 7:37 pm  

    Well I think its days like these that actually make the governments aware that there are women out there fighting for there rights.They want to be treated equally and they are given a day to do so.

    This day also brings in awareness to women who have lost hope whlie they are being oppressed. It is not a stunt they are staging, they are making a place for themselves.

  12. Amit — on 9th March, 2006 at 11:05 pm  

    Because this was a blog based campaign I can sort of see what you’re saying. So long as it doesn’t just stay there and becomes more far reaching then it’s all good.

  13. Sunny — on 9th March, 2006 at 11:46 pm  

    Kiran – it’s a failure of society that we actually need an International Women’s Day in the first place. After all, an International Men’s day is ludicrous, isn’t it.

    I’m just saying that the existence of these days, while it ends up raising the profile of some worthwhile projects, allows people to give the impression they care while doing nothing more. Like I said – what exactly needs more awareness? Gender equality should be an action plan – straight up, not some tokenistic memorial day.

    (and mirax – I was planning to plug Blank Noise anyway, just wanted the angle)

  14. Kiran — on 10th March, 2006 at 5:54 pm  

    ‘Gender equality should be an action plan – straight up, not some tokenistic memorial day. ‘

    I agree with your remark, but you hardly have people doing something about equality. What am saying is that these days help in putting a point forward which is that women too want a place in today’s society and this goes for other states who are ignorant about women’s rights.

  15. Galloise Blonde — on 11th March, 2006 at 2:30 pm  

    Women’s eNews reports some International Women’s Day action in Iran:

    Iranian police charged a peaceful gathering of women’s rights activists meeting in Tehran to celebrate International Women’s Day, Human Rights Watch reported March 9. Hundreds of women had gathered at Tehran’s Daneshjoo Park on March 8, but shortly afterwards the park was surrounded by anti-riot police and Revolutionary Guards who ordered the women to disperse. When the women staged a sit-in instead, the police dumped cans of garbage on the women’s heads and charged into the group using batons to move them out of the park.

    I disagree that IWD is tokenism: a lot of women’s groups use IWD to draw attention to their year-round activities, which otherwise stay under the radar.

  16. Sid D H Arthur — on 11th March, 2006 at 2:40 pm  

    Good point Galloise.

    If IWD is tokenism, then the story of Suraya by Shafiur should be a reason why this particular tokenism in Muslim countries is necessary and valid.

    Also from BD, an article on the Origins of IWD.

  17. Vijay — on 15th March, 2006 at 1:13 pm  

    Blank Noise Project was a wonderful drive to bring out the opinions into the public domain.

    My Blog :


  18. Sunny — on 15th March, 2006 at 2:00 pm  

    I do accept that in some places its a necessary exercise to raise the profile of certain projects. I’ll add the clause that in developing countries this day makes more sense… in post-industrial countries like UK it smacks of tokenism to me.

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