Monday, January 18, 2016

Respect, Sunny!




What an amazingly strong woman! Total respect, Sunny Leone.

I happened to watch the interview this morning. Even as I was watching it, myriad of emotions engulfed me, leaving my angry and helpless in the end. I had to document this emotion so that I get enough drive in the near future to do something about it.

(For those who are unable to watch the video, here is a quick note: Bhupendra Choubey interviewed Bollywood actress Sunny Leone on CNN IBN. He presented the most misogynistic set of questions to the star who was earlier in the porn industry.)

Read on.

In a country,

that reeks of marital rape, molestation, child sex abuse and what not in every nook and corner,

-where people conveniently feign ignorance and say 'oh not in my family, we would rather choose to stay blindfolded monkeys',

-where men are absolutely devoted to their wives and wouldn't lift their heads to see another woman and yet 'Sunny Leone' remains the most googled name,

-where hypocrisy is not just a state of mind but a way of life,

-where infidelity is unheard of in one's own circles, yet statistics reveal a mind boggling number of men and women cheating,

-where generations of women are conditioned to think that only men have a sex drive and worse, do not know what it means to have an orgasm,

-where Indian porn movies 'do not exist' and such stuff is done by the 'bad' people in the West,

-where politicians hold moral high ground yet are ironically caught watching porn during work hours,

-where people debate about capital punishment for rape and yet fail to see where the root cause lies,

it is not surprising that men like Bhupendra can get away after insulting an individual with the most obnoxious set of questions on mainstream media.

I would still not blame or judge these people. The root cause of all the hypocrisy in our society, in my humble opinion, lies in the upbringing. Generations of us, especially women, have grown up to a moral conditioning that expects us to not even talk to the other gender, dress down to not attract unwanted attention, held responsible if the spouse strays, shamed if she strays. The men have it worse - they are brought up by these sexually and emotionally insecure adults. Generation after generation, hypocrisy is being passed on as a genetic rubber stamp.

In a society like India, it takes a lot of courage on a woman's part to stand up for herself. Been there, faced that. For example, when I started my travel company, I was judged left right and centre - how will your son cope? Oh, you will keep travelling all by yourself, huh? Who will take care of your family? Why do you want to do this? In the initial days, I would sometimes let these comments affect me but eventually I realised that trying anything out of the norm will certainly draw mixed reactions and I need to understand how to smile, brush off and keep moving on. The irony is that the woman is lauded if she is going 'onsite' on work, but judged when she takes a break and travel to reclaim her own space.

Considering how difficult it is to deal with these reactions and still stay strong, I can't help but admire this woman's composure through out the interview. Despite the reeking misogyny of the questions, she held her head high and answered them with total honesty and courage - something near impossible to do, especially when one is being insulted and taken for a royal ride on mainstream media. She is probably the most level headed and emotionally intelligent woman I have come across so far.

What she does for a living is her choice. What she chooses to do or how she wants to lead her life is none of anyone's business. If we can give asylum to a convicted bank robber and heroin addict and embrace him whole heartedly as 'Shantaram', why can't we accept an ex-porn star who now wants to enter mainstream cinema? If she acts badly, that's a different thing altogether.

For all those questioning her choices in life - Just ogle at her if you want to, dig her videos up in privacy and leave it at that. If you want to take the moral high ground, first do the impossible - stop watching porn today. Will you or rather, can you? Then, keep your mouth shut.