Pic source: https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com
Recently Telugu film actress stripped in front of the entire street to protest against the sexual harassment and casting couch protests happening in the industry, she said “Telugu girls are not getting chances in the Tollywood industry. Some industry people are just using the girls and not giving them opportunities in the movies.”
She further added, “All my parents’ honor has gone. I have taken off all my clothes. I am standing on the road in front of so many men. But I am not thinking about my family, I am thinking about girls. From the beginning I have been saying this: you have to sleep, you have to sleep, you have to sleep. You have to prostitute, you have to prostitute, you have to prostitute. How many days? How long?”
Over the past few days, Reddy has been trolled incessantly, had obscene comments hurled at her, and even threatened with rape and death by “fans” of actor-politician Pawan Kalyan, whom she had criticised on TV for doling out patronising advice while ignoring “real issues”.
But the question isn’t why something like this happened because we’ve seen movements like this in the past-from the MeeToo movement in Hollywood to the list of 60 Indian academicians created by Raya Sarkar from colleges all over the country, accused of sexually harassing their students. These industries are no longer under the shadow of being safe for a woman.
But what turned the protest into one of the most debated issues is the support from the invisible sector of the film industry – the female character artists and junior artists. They have raised disturbing questions about the exploitative culture and politics of the film industry.
The question now is whether we are ready to accept this. I am not saying that harassment is acceptable or a woman or man being forced is acceptable but being ambitious should be acceptable. When a woman is stripping down in front of people, on the street she is certainly not doing that for attention but she is inviting you to look into the issue in anyway possible. So before you go ahead and call her names, think about all the things she had to go through, the state of mind she had come to before she even thought of doing something so proactive.
A couple of years ago when Disney star Miley Cyrus’s infamous Wrecking Ball video came, there was an outrage among her fans, the pop ballad song that showed the singer naked riding a wrecking ball actually had a deeper meaning. Initially the music video showed her intimately building a wall which represented her relationship then her vulnerability and regret took over and she stormed naked riding a wrecking ball to break the wall she built. If people can take their minds off the obvious and go into their imagination to see what the video really meant it would have been different.
For centuries India the land of Kama Sutra, Khajuraho Temples and Kangra Paintings have debated on nudity and pornography. The debate played out at its best where the visual arts and the nude paintings —championed as the preserve of refine and the erotic competed for eyeballs with porno prints, depicting naked human figures, even during the time of Mughal era, which took pride in highlighting Shringar Rasa (erotic love).
Kishore Singh, director of Delhi Art Gallery says “Traditionally, the unclothed body did not really excite comment; the clothed body was not really part of our tradition. For instance, a garment like the blouse only came in use about 200 years ago”.
We live in a society where our bodies are treated like a taboo. Men or women should not be afraid of expressing themselves, rather than objectifying and repressing their bodies should be a work of art, as an outlet to express and challenge such repressive notions.