If you walk by Brigade Road or any adjacent roads on Saturday afternoon, you might be treated to a unique sight - men in skirts. By asking men to put on skirts, a group of men and women is hoping to reach out to the masses and create awareness against harassment of women and the problems women face on a daily basis.
The idea behind ‘Skirt the Issue’ came by when 25-year-old publicist Samarpita Samaddar found herself annoyed at the apathy shown by the political and religious leaders since the Delhi rape incident took place. “There has been talk about banning skirts for women in order to prevent rape and honestly I have been angry for a long time but I wanted to do something different like the usual candlelight vigils. This is not a protest of any kind,” says Samaddar.
The idea of men wearing skirts came from Samarpita’s male friend who wondered if he would be molested if he walked down Brigade Road, since skirts are being blamed for rape and other untoward activities. And like many such protests that have taken place in the recent past, ‘Skirt the Issue’ elicited enthusiastic response on Facebook and over 300 people have already promised to participate in the event.
“The event is also for women. In fact, on the first day we uploaded the event on Facebook we got 100 confirmations. Of course, currently the participants are mostly women but the idea behind this event is to get men fighting too. Men cannot sit idle and think that this issue does not pertain to them. Do they not have mothers or relatives or friends who are women? Do they want women they know to be treated like this?”asks Samaddar. The group will be walking by Brigade Road and other neighbouring parts from 3 pm to 5 pm in a bid to sensitise people.
Aditya Mallya, who will be taking part in the event, believes that it is high time men started wearing skirts. “Women have been fighting for equality for ages now. But it is more important for men also to get involved. It is about women getting basic rights as to being able to choose what they want to wear. I will be wearing a skirt on Saturday and raising awareness,” he says.