One year after a horrific and deadly gang-rape of a young woman in Delhi triggered huge waves of sorrow, protest and recriminations across India, an arts and film school in Mumbai has created a short video advertisement that depicts how the public behavior of men make women uncomfortable.
Made by Whistling Woods International, the 90-second ad shows men leering and salivating at the sight of beautiful women, including one young lady riding on a motorcycle (an obvious sign of female empowerment and independence in a deeply conservative and patriarchal society).
Called Dekh Le (meaning "look" or “see’ in Hindi), the video attempts to show how absurd the men look from the perspective of women who simply wish to be left alone. The woman on the motorcycle responds to the leering men by flipping on her reflective sunglasses, which in turn reveals the expressions on the faces of pathetic men staring at her uncovered legs and body.
“This [gang-rape] incident did trigger a sense of solidarity to stand up, fight against and do our best to eradicate such atrocities and gender inequality,” Whistling Woods wrote on YouTube.
According to Buzzfeed, the video features song lyrics in the background, which translates into “Look how you look when you’re looking at me.”
Viewed almost 1.3 million times on YouTube since its release last week, the video also shows three men on a public bus starting at a woman’s cleavage, and another scene on a train depicting a man leering at a beautiful burqa-clad Muslim woman. In both cases, the females turn the tables on their unwanted admirers by showing them how absurd they look and putting them to shame.
The video was largely commended by those who watched it on YouTube.
One person wrote: “I think it is simple courtesy not to keep staring continuously at a lady's body part for it is not only rude but also creepy, at least for most cultures.”
A few however criticized the ad.
One complained: “I think this ad is ridiculous in how it takes a benign behavior like a man looking at a women and attempts to re-label it some form of oppression or disrespect. Men and women are sexually attracted to each other. Our bodies and minds were designed by nature to carry out the activities related to seeking mating partners. Men looking at women is a part of that. I think the women's activists need to grow up a bit and figure out how to distinguish abusive behavior from human sexuality itself. I feel no shame in looking at beautiful women nor should I. The ad features women displaying various erogenous zones or made up to be as beautiful as they can be, but men are for some reason not supposed to look at them. “
Another lamented: “This is stupid. If the men were of equal attractiveness, there wouldn’t be any issue. That scenario would be a fantasy, a movie storyline. Also if it were a man getting ogled by women, no one would care. This is feminist double standard sexism.”