Advice for women travellers (on bras, underwear, sandals, makeup, groping)

#1 May 13th, 2009, 09:06
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  • Nereid is offline
#1
Hi fellow women travelers!

Thought I'd share my experience on travel in India. Hope it helps you pack and prepare!

1) The bras that work best for me are the basic Hanes sports bras (I got them at Target in the US, $10 for 3). No wires, no metal hooks, no thin straps -- these things dig into you in the heat big-time. I treat them like they are disposable and they work great.

2) Sandals: I brought only one pair of shoes -- Naturalizer Miami sandals (looks like this: http://www.beallsflorida.com/r/Natur...yleid=123384&). I mostly wore Salvar Kameez -- these worked great with those, and they were super comfortable for trekking around Ajanta, Ellora, etc. Plus, I wore them with socks for cold trains. Obviously, if you are heading to the Himalayas or something, you need something more solid but these worked great for me pretty much the whole time.

3) Makeup: If you decide to bring makeup, look into the mineral makeup stuff. Of all the types of makeup, this seems to work best in terms of not melting off your face. Lots of pretty eyeliner and lipstick here, so no need to bring that.

4) Underwear: I tend to bring a few pairs of underwear from home to get started, then fill up locally and dispose used underwear along the way. If you do that too, you can easily find lots of comfy, cheap cotton Indian underwear to fit the purpose. The only trouble I had was in figuring out what sizing system was used for underwear here (UK system, maybe? not sure). Anyway, I was able to just eyeball it and get a good fit.

5) "Eve teasing" (or groping) -- So, I was wandering around a bazaar when I very clearly saw a guy reach out and grope a random woman's chest. She screamed, smacked him and started yelling at him. Almost immediately, he was surrounded by Indian men (and some women) who clearly were pissed of at him. One man I could understand was yelling "This is not the way Indian men behave toward ladies. What do you want ladies to think of us?" or something along those lines. My point: it seems to me that groping ain't any more acceptable to Indian men and women than it is to you so don't put up with it! My Lonely Planet guide seemed to imply that I had to just deal with it, like it was a cultural cost of traveling here -- well, it's not. And for the record, I have never been groped or bothered in any way, including during overnight train travel.

I'll share anything else I can think of! Have fun traveling!
#2 May 15th, 2009, 11:17
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  • dillichaat is offline
#2
Quote:
Almost immediately, he was surrounded by Indian men (and some women) who clearly were pissed of at him. One man I could understand was yelling "This is not the way Indian men behave toward ladies. What do you want ladies to think of us?"
I'm not the proud owner of 2 X-chromosomes so I can't possibly comment on points 1-4. But about the groping I can only say that my wife and other ladies I know tell me that this is a veritable plague here (Delhi). And, contrary to your experience, people rarely interfere.

2 examples I know firsthand:

My wife and I were visiting Jama Masjid and a couple of young guys just walked right behind her and groped (not 'touched') her buttocks. She immediately started screaming/cursing at him and the reaction on the offenders' face was simply a grin. I turned around and hit him, causing him to go down. We had to make a run for it because all the other guys there definitely didn't want to hear our explanation (although most of them knew perfectly well what happened).

One month later, my wife and a female friend go out to visit Humayun's tomb. Couple of young (12-14 y/o) muslim guys hanging around there follow them and another lone female tourist, grab for her buttocks again and grab the other lady's breast. My wife starts hitting (she saw it coming), the other ladies start screaming and finally a guard showed up who chased these young idiots with a broom. That's it, he wasn't interested in taking other action.

These are just the blatant things but whenever she takes the metro or goes shopping, there usually is some indian male who 'accidently' brushes up (or tries to) against her. Don't expect massive support from the environment although this is clearly unacceptable.

You should never shrug off such behavior and yes, you should react. But even more important: be careful and avoid putting yourself in a position where you're isolated and surrounded by a couple of indian guys. Chances are the cavalry won't come when you start screaming.

From what I've heard this type of misbehavior is typical for Delhi/UP and occurs much less in the southern part of the country but still, be careful, India is unfortunately not the innocent and spiritual place most visitors think it is and the reason these punks do it over and over is simply because they know they can get away with it.
#3 Mar 24th, 2010, 01:25
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  • User1900 is offline
#3
I agree with dillichaat.

From what I've heard, South India the behaviour is much less tolerated and happens less. My cousin once told me "North Indian guys have a tendency to stare... a LOT", and it seems he's right.

Groping happens, but nobody should put up with it. One suggestion is that in every outdoor type market there's usually a police checkpoint or mini "station". The cops will actually give a nice earful to the person if they're pointed out to them, especially these days given the international attention on Delhi with the Nuke deal (not so much), and the Commonwealth Games being around the corner (definitely a big moneymaker for the area).

Pepper spray is always good too
#4 Mar 24th, 2010, 01:38
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  • delhiwala is offline
#4
Pepper Spray ! for what ????
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes - Marcel Proust
#5 Mar 24th, 2010, 01:53
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  • ananda2193 is offline
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by User1900 View Post Pepper spray is always good too
This should definitely work

"Srivastava, who led a defense research laboratory in Assam, said trials are also on to produce bhut jolokia-based aerosol sprays to be used by women against attackers and for the police to control and disperse mobs."


.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/as_india_chili_grenades
"Travel is fatal to prejudice,bigotry and narrow-mindedness" Mark Twain
#6 Mar 24th, 2010, 01:54
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  • Lakritsa is offline
#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nereid View Post 1)The bras that work best for me are the basic Hanes sports bras (I got them at Target in the US, $10 for 3). No wires, no metal hooks, no thin straps -- these things dig into you in the heat big-time.
And no padding either!
I had basic cotton bras with me, probably the same sort as yours, and those were just fine.

Quote:
I treat them like they are disposable and they work great.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Did you throw each pair away at the end of the day?

FWIW, I experienced no groping whatsoever during our Kerala trip last year, so it could indeed be more of a Northern Indian thing.
#7 Mar 30th, 2010, 23:31
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  • DR_T is offline
#7
How sad for the ladies of India to put up with this all the time.
#8 Mar 31st, 2010, 16:30
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  • bsprasad is offline
#8
Not all the time Dr T.

Security and awareness of people towards all this has increased a lot.

Its not that all women in India are groped or teased upon at all times.

With Warm Regards

B.S.Prasad
Chance Favours The Prepared Mind

#9 Mar 31st, 2010, 16:58
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  • candycanegirl is offline
#9
Generally I agree about the groping opinions here - South India seems to be safer and bad treatment to women is much less tolerated.

I was groped once, wearing a salwaar kameez (so it has nothing to do with you wearing inappropriate clothing! though it won't help) at about 8:30 in the evening. I was walking down a quiet street with a friend, and a guy sitting on his motorbike (pretending to be) on his phone waited for us to pass then reached out and groped my breast. Immediately I yelled of course, turned around and whacked him a good one, then kicked his bike over with him on it for good measure. He scrambled away but I hope he thought twice before grabbing a woman again!!

So it can happen. It is rare (I've dealt with much more unwanted touching at the clubs in America) and should NEVER be silently tolerated. Don't be scared to hit him, yell for help or get someone else involved if you don't feel safe. I also thought that books like Lonely Planet sound as if you should expect to deal with it. It is definitely NOT typical and would not be quietly ignored or walked away from by any Indian woman.

However, I'm posting because I wanted to say don't be too afraid to be around Indian guys. MOST of them are real gentlemen and would NEVER think to touch a woman without her permission. I have a few good male friends I have gotten drinks with alone, had walk or drive me home at late hours, I've played cards with a houseful of Indian men, and had only great times. I met my (indian) boyfriend there and he never thought to touch me or even sit too close to me (until I groped him first! ) Just know who you're involved with, and be alert. If it feels weird or wrong, it is. Use common sense! Be safe but don't be paranoid!!
There must be more to life than having everything. - Maurice Sendak
#10 Mar 31st, 2010, 17:00
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  • girlfromvenus is offline
#10
nice post, candycanegirl !

nothing to add !
#11 Mar 31st, 2010, 18:28
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  • bsprasad is offline
#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by candycanegirl View Post I met my (indian) boyfriend there and he never thought to touch me or even sit too close to me (until I groped him first! )
My god....Candycanegirl.......

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