Andrea Greb, You Are Not Blair Waldorf (via psych-facts)
Objectifying Deepika Padukone without her consent has implications far beyond Bollywood: It endangers every single Indian girl and woman.This comes in response to Padukone’s livid (and now famous) assertion this past weekend that the media’s objectification of her is disrespectful to women. This was specifically with regard to the Times of India article “OMG: Deepika Padukone’s Cleavage Show!” that highlighted Padukone’s cleavage in a surreptitiously taken video from a trailer launch event. “YES!I am a woman.I have breasts AND a cleavage! You got a problem!!??” Padukone tweeted. “YOU don’t know how to RESPECT Women!”
“If admiring and focussing on a woman’s assets is a crime,” then by all means, ban item numbers. Ban the fashion industry. Ban most means of money-making, really.”
But here’s the catch: Admiring and focusing on a woman’s assets is not a crime. Doing so without her consent is. Doing anything to her body without her consent is, be that eve-teasing, harassment, rape, or circulating a particular video or photograph of her to millions of people who wouldn’t otherwise have had access to it (the latter-most being a crime that Jennifer Lawrence and several of her Hollywood contemporaries famously fell prey to just a few days ago).
This isn’t to say that item songs, a still problematic mainstay of Indian cinema, are absolved of their many, many flaws. They glorify objectification; they are a shameless money-making assault on good storytelling; they are usually just terrible music. But, for all their shortcomings, they have absolutely nothing to do with how the women starring in them should be treated when removed from their very particular context. To argue otherwise is to make the very dangerous assumption that every minor provision of consent can be extended to universality. That just because a woman has shown you her body in any capacity, she is “asking for” whatever else you choose to do to it.
In a nation where the gravity granted to female consent is already absent to a terrifying and life-threatening degree, this isn’t an argument to which we should be attaching any credibility.
Again, the question itself reveals a fundamental lack of understanding of why nonconsensual female objectification is dangerous: It is dangerous when it sets or reinforces a precedent for disregarding female consent or, more importantly, a lack thereof. Forty-two percent of Indian girls have faced sexual violence in some form by the time they’re through with their teenage years. Ninety-two Indian women are raped every day. If the weight granted to male consent had also been under siege in India for centuries and if it claimed lives on a daily basis, I would raise just as loud a din in defense of Hrithik. As things stand, I think he’ll be all right
“Sheila Ki Jawani” was refreshing to see in the Indian mainstream because – as Padukone exemplified most recently – being a woman in India means being surrounded by an age-old, culturally persistent disregard for your consent. Myriad headlines remind us every morning that personal space is a myth; that yes means yes and no means violence; that if you want to live in a country where the female body is not a liability, you’re in the wrong place.
Being a woman in India means your most mundane decisions – what to wear, what route to take to work, how many drinks to drink – are weighed down by the potential to become life-threatening at any moment, without your permission. We are constantly reminded – most depressingly by ourselves – to dress modestly and arm ourselves against a culture whose mind-set, apparently, is that if you can see a female body, you can have it.
"Sheila Ki Jawani" was the perfect defense for Bollywood’s leading ladies against their hoards of drooling voyeurs: Yes, I am showing you my body, Sheila says. Yes, I’m aware that it is supremely attractive. No, that does not mean you can touch it, that doesn’t mean you can photograph it, that doesn’t mean you can monetize it, devour it, or otherwise claim it.
This Is Love - Will.I.Am (ft. Eva Simmons)