By Our Bollywood
Reporter Ms Divya
Feminists across the world allege there's a strong
gender-bias in how society chooses to deal with nudity. For example while it is
illegal in many countries for women to go topless, the same doesn't law doesn't
apply to men.
But do women in India agree? Read on to find out
"I think in lot of ways women have been commodified and used
as mere objects of admiration. Indians have become prudish in their outlook
towards women. They are looked down upon. In 90 per cent ads, a female body is
used to promote something, to sell something. A woman's sex appeal is so strong
that it can influence the minds of people. On the other hand, the male body does
not fall in the same category. So, in that respect yes, nudity is gender-biased.
After all woman power rules!" says writer-publisher and social activist Urvashi
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Men are however not much better off in the nudity stakes,
argues well-known author Shobhaa Dé. According to her: "I don't agree that
nudity is female-biased. People who think only women expose are sadly mistaken.
Look at men stripping in lounge bars and now in movies and advertisements too.
So, it's not as if the male body is unfamiliar to the public. It's just that
people like watching women more than men. As far nudity in Indian society is
concerned, I think we have become more open about it now. See the kind of movies
that are coming in and also the pace at which people have started exposing; it
clearly indicates how comfortable they have become with their bodies. I don't
think it's vulgar at all. At least whatever is being done, whether in remix
videos, movies or ads, people are bold enough to accept it! Also, who is there
to pass value judgments? Although Indians love nudity from the bottom of their
hearts, the problem with us is that lot of hypocrisy is still running in our
veins. We need to come out and I think this will happen gradually. But to see
the positive side of it, I personally believe nudity in earlier days used to be
more vulgar and suggestive. For example, married women used to cover themselves
from head to toe and still their behaviour and gestures used to be so odd! I
would term this as cheap rather than what's happening today."
Agrees Meenkashi Thapan, Head of Sociology department in the
University of Delhi. "Nudity is deep rooted in our culture and I don't it has
become gender-biased. If women are stripped in lingerie ads, so are men are in
underwear campaigns. In fact the female body is projected in a much more coy
manner. So women are not the only targets. Also, one has to see the demand of
the situation. I believe nudity is a class thing and is linked to one's self
esteem. Nudity, whether male or female, is something to be desired and
appreciated," she says.
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Fashion Show Photo Gallery
For actress-turned social worker Nafisa Ali, there's simply
no better creation than a woman. "Female body is definitely better to look at.
So, now if you want to say nudity is gender-biased then so be it! Who wants to
look at men? They are so vulgar when naked! Nudity is part of our everyday life
and it has given us huge complexes in the sense that we are caught up most of
the time in deciding what's right and what's wrong? Also, when presenting
something on a subject like nudity it is very important to be creative without
being obscene. That is how nudity can become accepted," she insists.
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