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Sex… For Women

by Swarna Jana

Although it is a voice of dissent; involving issues related to women, let’s start with Indian film actor Ranveer Singh, let’s not delve into the nitty gritty of the infamous case, called Ranveer without clothes. One can also state it plainly that Ranveer Singh has stolen his fair share of limelight by “hurting sentiments of women” in his much talked about Nude! Last but not least, I must add up one very important clause in the above statement – as observed by a few Judges in India, and not by people like me.

I, a woman, could not even find his groin, let alone be his penis in that picture, and unfortunately, my sentiment running at odd with the judiciary, found the photo to be quite aesthetic and artistic, showing slender limbs of a young man – framed on the basis of male gaze on male physicality! I hope, had these judges been in Italy, they would have pulled David’s clothes down to his knee. Here in India, I am clueless regarding whose sentiment was hurt and how, certainly not for women like us, or may be I should doubt my sexual orientation and not how Indian Judiciary defines women’s sexual desires – no clothes leading to lust!

Ranveer Singh, the controversial image

Scientifically speaking, male gaze does not work for us – females, in the same way as it does for a man, unless conditioned otherwise. And even if in this age of advertisement and marketing, we, females, are victim of subtle stripping off of our natural realisation of sexual desirability. The Indian Constitution says that it is our Fundamental Duty to flourish in our fullest potential! If so, then India needs to undo this over learned Male Gaze, rather than validating it by slapping the same reasoning or emotion; from above on women, on the basis of baseless assumptions regarding what do women find sexually provocative.

The next case is about the following headline ‘Sexual harassment complaint won’t prima facie stand if woman wore provocative dress: Indian Court‘ (Wionews, August 19, 2022). In this case, a 74-year-old man, accused of sexual harassment twice, produced “allegedly sexually provocative photo” of the compliant in his bail hearing, and some lower courts in southern Indian Province of Kerala came up with the observation above. More specifically, the following: “In order to attract Section 354 A (sexual harassment), there must be physical contact and advances, involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures. There must be a demand or request for sexual favours. There must be a sexually-coloured remark. The photographs, produced with the anticipatory bail application by the accused, reveal that the complainant herself is exposing in dresses which are sexually provocative. Section 354 A will not prima facie stand against the accused.

David, the renaissance sculpture, by Michelangelo

This observation clearly indicates a dilution that no woman must access swimming pool or the chances of sexual harassment (if not rape with the much required clause of sexual penetration and not of any other kind) will be the highest in such settings, and you cannot even complain! If a woman is in her swim-suit, anyone seems to be free to touch, grope or torment her with lewd remarks, and all these will be fine by the definition of this Court, because she was presumably wearing clothes that reveal body parts! Why blame Burqa, then?

If I am not mistaken the lynchpin motive of both the cases, and many other alike, are the same, i.e. Indian Social System, as evident from these judicial observations given is not only trying to control how women should dress, but how would they think or reason or rationalise or feel and express, as well… this is to say, controlling a female by both ends – external and internal. This system is not only defining female body being the embodiment of lust, but at the same time, it is segregating the emotion, called lust, from any mental and moral faculty by excusing the offender and putting the entire blame on the female body, itself – the origin and the execution point – both.

Khajuraho Temple in India

The highest point of sarcasm is reached when we see the system is trying to undo the guilt of control by putting the factor of “controlling tendency” in a Gender Neutral Environment for coming up with a self-explanatory bias, i.e. Male bodies in Nude are sexually provocative for women onlookers, too. However, the questions arise here: How do they arrive into such proponents, where is the research and what about the data? It might rather suit Ayatollah Khomeini or some other fundamentalist Islamic clerics lecturing on Shariah Law, but certainly not the Indian Judiciary. I am really offended by the system for trying to decide everything on behalf of a Gender without even asking them What is SEX for WOMEN?

Boundless Ocean of Politics has received this article from Swarna Jana. Ms Jana, a Masters in Forensic Psychology, is the owner of Kolkata-based publishing house, Spout Books.

Swarna Jana

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