Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Why is the sexual objectification of men disturbing and not equality of any kind?

It is amusing when the world around me talks of Bollywood objectifying women, by making its women actors expose their midriffs, cleavages and legs, and much more of course. Bollywood atleast for the most movie goers, makes that moolah by putting women on display. Most women actors, as opposed to the era of seventies and eighties are objects put on the screen, to be devoured by the eyes and the senses of a sexually repressed clan of men. Sometimes you can find them groping and feeling innocent women while everyone is busy getting on with the business of life.
And many times, you can find them ogle and cat call at women on the streets, which is a form of everyday street sexual harassment women like me face in this part of the planet. For this breed of sexually "bottled up" men, Bollywood and advertisers have come up with innovative ways to sell their products to them. 
This is common for each one of us. Seeing the Kareenas and Katrinas gyrate to the gullibility of obscene lyrics and show skin. Most movie makers in bollywood add an item song, to sell their movies and sadly the new crop of female actors, for a few crores do not mind reducing themselves to an eye candy to please the heterosexual male viewer.
Yesterday was another experience. While walking into the MGF Metropolitan mall, Gurgaon yesterday, I was rudely shocked to see an almost nude cutout of a man, in a checked pair of shorts adorning the advertising board. Usually, what I see are blonde models selling a brand of fragrance or a shy Indian model modeling for an Indian brand of clothing. This ad left me flabbergasted. 

For whose viewing pleasure was this cutout placed in front of a mall visited by hundreds and thousands of people everyday, including young children. Unlike Aamir Khan's PK act, which gives us a choice to watch or ignore, this one was disturbing. For we didn't get to choose, until of course we got an inkling of what it is, turn a blind eye to it and walk in quietly. 
A group that I am a part of on facebook, sometimes posts nude pictures of male actors to filch some harmless fun from it. Sometimes it has got me into a tangle, because many of the women who wallow in that kind of harmless fun are friends whom I admire and look upto.
That leaves me with a befuddling question. This article on Ms. Magazine examines female objectification in popular culture and states that more than ten years of research has proved that living in a objectifying society has been highly toxic for girls and women. Particularly petrifying was an old advertisement for Tom Ford, a fragrance for men. Where in a woman's nude breasts were on display, in between which she tightly held on to a bottle of Tom Ford perfume.
While the world crashes down when the person objectified in an advertisement or movie is a woman. How can we then justify the same kind of treatment when it is meted out to a man? Or does a man deserve that kind of a behavior towards him, since he has since a long time feasted on women and their bare bodies.
Objectifying any human body isn't progress, man or woman. This is not the kind of equality we are vying for. And if it is the punishment for men, for having been consumers of female sexuality, then again it is unfair. Trust me I am not trying to be a men's rights activist here.
It is high time, we get to raising hell for portraying a human body as a piece of meat. It is inequality, and we as consumers need to detest and discontinue the practice.

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