Taking inspiration from the protest in Turkey where young men came out in the streets in miniskirts to protest the murder of a 20-year-old student and to support women’s rights to public space, Why Loiter? Mumbai founded by Neha Singh and Devina Kapoor and an offshoot of Why Loiter?, the book by Shilpa Phadke, Shilpa Ranade and Sameera Khan, organised ‘Walk Like A Woman’ and invited men to come and loiter with them in women’s clothes. Neha, the facilitator and the key members which include Archana Patel, Pooja Nair, Mansi Jhingran and Dhruv Lohumi say, they were inspired by the book itself. More than 15 men showed up, in skirts, sarees, salwar kameez, tube dresses and tie knot tops! They came with make up and accessories and women’s handbags.
And they looked stunning. The group walked from Prithvi to Juhu beach and absolutely stole the show as well as caused some traffic jams. The documentation, photography and videography was done by Shawn Lewis of Bombay Film Factory. The men looked utterly sexy and lovely! The team thanked the brave men for being the pioneers and breaking notions of gender and supporting free and safe access to public spaces irrespective of what one is wearing.
A similar event was organised and successfully executed in English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad in November 2014. EFLU saw a cross-dressing event where students protested moral policing and demonstrated that gender is not a disease that can be contained within or by walls. Students protested the EFLU administration’s self-righteous position in branding all the men of the boys hostel as “potential rapists” and all the women as sluts. The protesters believe that they exist, primarily as intelligent beings capable of emotion, and then as various rainbow colors with enough contrast in black and white
The message conveyed by these men stood out very clear: people should be free to wear what they want, irrespective of their gender.
Picture Credits: Bombay Film Factory