Why Loiter?: Women and Risk on Mumbai Streets Kindle

Why Loiter?: Women and Risk on Mumbai Streets An excellent book well researched and thought provoking The idea that women have a right to take risks, to loiter and denying them that is to deny them citizenship, is truly commendable The book also argues that keeping women safe in sheltered spaces, limiting their access to public spaces is a kind of violence, similar to the kind they may face otherwise As an Indian woman brought up in Mumbai, I could definitely identify with all the points raised A must read for sure. Phenomenal i ve never read a book thatencompasses the GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN DAMENTAL RIGHTS vibe a very beautifully worded work clear and precise and on the spot on narrating how women have to use the public spaces world over. Insightful First book I bought offso worth it. The sad thing is that I paid for this book for my kindle I got bored reading this and liberally skipped pages Much of the book is written in abstract terms, portrayal of women in public place, there might be a lot of trait of women which have been researched and written as a part of the book Unfortunately, I don t like itI m just wondering what is the motto of bringing this book Reaching out to the masses hoping for a change in perceptions Has the goal been achieved Do the people who behav The sad thing is that I paid for this book for my kindle I got bored reading this and liberally skipped pages Much of the book is written in abstract terms, portrayal of women in public place, there might be a lot of trait of women which have been researched and written as a part of the book Unfortunately, I don t like itI m just wondering what is the motto of bringing this book Reaching out to the masses hoping for a change in perceptions Has the goal been achieved Do the people who behave differently read this book Too much of emphasis has been laid on stereotypes Book can be royally avoided lest you want to know why and how women behave in, occupy public spaces as per author s view not mine I just found out that I m not interested in it And boy did I mention 10% of the writing seems repetitive, so this book has been beefed up without a purpose Writing is pretty much simple but it s lacking a charm which fails to magnetize me into submission Cheers Loiter without purpose and meaning Loiter without being asked what time of the day it is, why we are here, what we are wearing, and whom we are with That is when we will truly belong to the city and the city to us 188 We believe that it is only by claiming the right to risk that women can truly claim citizenship To do this we need to redefine our understanding of violence in relation to public space to see not sexual assault, but the denial of access to public space as the worst possibl Loiter without purpose and meaning Loiter without being asked what time of the day it is, why we are here, what we are wearing, and whom we are with That is when we will truly belong to the city and the city to us 188 We believe that it is only by claiming the right to risk that women can truly claim citizenship To do this we need to redefine our understanding of violence in relation to public space to see not sexual assault, but the denial of access to public space as the worst possible outcome for women viii ix We also need to recognize another kind of risk the risk, should women choose not to access public spacethan minimally, of loss of opportunity to engage city spaces and the loss of experience of public spaces It also includes the risk of accepting the gendered status hierarchies of access to public space, and in doing so, reinforcing them 61.This book, written by three Indian women about women s public lives in Mumbai, is a call to action Mumbai is often extolled as the most forward thinking city in India in terms of women s rights and public access, and was therefore the perfect setting for the authors to show how the most modern city in India for women is still not good enough They argue that the women in Mumbai may appear to be modern and brazen, but they actually operate according to very specific internal and external rules that negotiate how and when and where they may access the city These rules are created as the result of fear of both physical violence and damage to reputation Focusing on the safety of women as reason to keep them off the streets, however, harms women in asubtle but far reaching way First, it promotes the idea that a women should be able to keep herself from harm and thus any harm she comes to is the result of her own lack of judgment Second, it removes responsibility from the city itself to create infrastructure that supports women in public, thus allowing the city to remain a hostile environment Third, it neglects entirely the right of women to enjoy themselves in public in any way they see fit, to have fun as the authors simply put it.I bought this book in a shop in Mumbai while I was visiting the city This was my first experience of India My husband and I were there for his work for two weeks, and I had my days free to explore on my own I had read all the warnings for solo women travelers in India and I was prepared for stares, catcalls, groping, you name it What I was unprepared for was the overwhelming number of men on the streets relative to women As I ventured out on my first day alone, I saw men everywhere men idling on street corners, men walking in packs, men napping in their rickshaws, men eating at roadside stands, men stepping out of their sidewalk shanties wearing just a towel, men sitting in their shop fronts, men watching passersby I saw a few women, it s true There was the wrinkled and skinny old woman in a sari picking through the garbage there was the matronly woman walking with her child, wearing it s tiny schoolbag on her shoulder there was a woman who helped me find what I was looking for in the grocery store there was even a woman about my age in western clothes, heading into a maze of housing alleys that I had just gotten lost in Surely there were a few women on the streets, but I counted them in individualities instead of types, and I felt as if all the eyes I caught looking at me were male.In discussing and researching this phenomenon with a friend in my first week, I found a reference to this book, and when I saw it a few days later in a bookstore, I picked it up I finished reading it on the plane ride home As a religious conservative and political liberal, I was both repelled and drawn in by the rhetoric of rebellion I found that I had to keep reminding myself that it was about India, a very different culture than my own, or I would take issue with the curt dismissal of family and religious values In my life, the rules I was raised with protected me not from the physical violence of a hostile city, but from the harsh realities of poor choices The authors experience of this type of conservatism was drenched in the negativity of victim blaming and the heavy, one sided responsibility of family honor Choice had little to do with it women s personal freedoms hadn t extended that far One other point that I struggled with was the implication that sexual violence is equal to other physical violence This is never explicitly stated, but neither it is acknowledged that the risk of sexual violence is aladen risk than the risk of other physical violence The authors discussion of risk rests mainly on reputation men run the risk of violence in the city too, but for men, an assault is just an assaulttheir social status will remain unaffected 59 On the other hand, even when women are not assaulted,being seen in public spacecould adversely affect not just their own reputation, but also that of their families 59 The book suggests that choosing to take risks, even of possible sexual violence in public spaces, undermines a sexist structure where women s virtue is prized over their desires or agency 60 In other words, the greater fear of sexual violence towards women than other physical violence towards men is a relic of antiquated values that value female virginity I suppose I had always suspected that sexual violence was worse than just being beaten up, not because it deprived me of my virtue, but because it was a deeperpersonal violation of my self, my body, and my expression of love in a way that other physical violence never could touch Perhaps this not true may I never find out Perhaps the rights being fought for in this battle for risk are entirely worth the sacrifice Either way, it is an interesting departure, and one that left me with a strange aftertaste.The wonderful thing about this book is its frank and practical discussion of urban planning in regards to creating a safe environment for all of the inhabitants of the urban space The authors had conducted a research study called the Gender and Space project, discussing the ways that disadvantaged demographics mainly, but not solely women utilized the city The research results deviate from urban planning orthodoxy design for beautification often neglects comfort and safety, and measures to keep out undesirables often results in blocking access for desirables as well In Mumbai specifically, the streets crowded with sidewalk shanties design horror are busy and lit and filled with the sounds of families at night, making them an instinctively safer path for women walking alone at night than sidewalks leading past clean new buildings whose sleek and modern lines turn forbidding and too quiet in the dark Simply the existence of well lit parks with benches and without tall corralling fences and the installation of clean, well lit, unlocked at night female public toilets would go a long way towards making the city inviting to women and discourag ing situations where women get harrassed 98 The last section in the book is devoted to a discussion of the ways that different female demographics can pursue pleasure and fun in the city and how the pursuit of fun is a fundamental right The authors push back on the idea that women can t ask forthan the basic survival freedoms they already have, and argue that women aren t truly equal in a society that denies them fun There are a couple over simplified moralizing moments, such as stereotyping women who have left careers for motherhood, and there is a welcome slackening of the call to Rebellion when discussing the sensitive andvalid because they areOther religious beliefs of the Muslim community Again, I needed to remind myself that the women in India are operating under a different level of protectionism than I ever did, regardless of my conservative religious upbringing It is not our intention to romanticize risk itself, the authors argue 61 , but they come close when they ask questions such as Is it possible for good girls to have fun and the follow up Is the answer then to be bad girls 169 70 I think their point is to highlight the undesirable cultural bias around the labels good girl and bad girl , but there also seems to be direct encouragement to disregard parental strictures as the outdated morals of a clinging and dangerous patriarchy.This book was a highly engaging and worthwhile read that challenged many of my assumptions, both about the nature of women s rights struggles around the world, and about the value of risk vs protectionism I think that the argument of this book We believe that it is only by claiming the right to risk that women can truly claim citizenship would prove unspectacular in America, but I believe that it is a powerful stance in the India of today Presenting an original take on women s safety in the cities of twenty first century India, Why Loiter maps the exclusions and negotiations that women from different classes and communities encounter in the nation s urban public spacesBasing this book on than three years of research in Mumbai, Shilpa Phadke, Sameera Khan and Shilpa Ranade argue that though women s access to urban public space has increased, they still do not have an equal claim to public space in the city And they raise the question can women s access to public space be viewed in isolation from that of other marginal groups Going beyond the problem of the real and implied risks associated with women s presence in public, they draw from feminist theory to argue that only by celebrating loitering a radical act for most Indian women can a truly equal, global city be created

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