5 Jan 2005:Amrita Shah, Indian Express columnist, yesterday wrote in her column titled 'Feminism in the time of MMS' that anybody who keeps asking — and there are many who do — why feminists oppose beauty contests should watch two film clips currently in circulation.
Sex, spycams and cinemascope
Take care before you change clothes, before
you take a shower. You could be on camera. That
cute little bug inside the bathroom cabinet,
behind the dressing table mirror, could make you
an actor very soon. Read
Sex surveys: India Today, Outlook in court
OUR MEDIA EDITOR
28th September 2005: Premier Indian news magazines India Today
and Outlook are facing flak, after publishing sex
surveys in their recent editions.
The Delhi High Court issued notices to India Today and
Outlook on Wednesday on a public interest litigation (PIL)
which calls for directions to prosecute the journalists and
management of the two leading magazines for conducting and
publishing the surveys. Read
Sex scandals of Kerala
God's own country has had more than its share
of sex scandals in the past year Read
Arguments against beauty contests - I thought those times had ended when I was in school, even in the Marxist state of Kerala. Apparently not. That's okay, just because the world has moved forward/backward does not mean that discussions should end. Especially when some of them can bring back memories of your childhood!
Anyway, as Amrita Shah requested us, I viewed the two video clips. The one that purportedly shows South Indian actress Trisha Krishnan taking a bath, apparently shot with a spy camera behind a mirror in a hotel room. Hey, hold your horses. I know you want to download it too, and verify whether it really is Trisha, especially after her mother's passionate denial. Now, I am not going to give you the URL; search for it kids, if you really want to see it. It's there, very much there! Anyway, coming back to the point, the actress in the picture is NOT Trisha Krishnan. How so? The experts at an unnamed discussion board say so. They have enhanced it, magnified it, and yes, the girl is one very sad looking female - maybe because she is paid to pose, maybe she has other problems - but it definitely is not Trisha.
Now we come to the second clip mentioned in
Amrita Shah's column. She writes, "The second
clip is of another film actress from the south,
Jyothika, being molested by a stranger in a crowd.
It is a long, lingering shot of a hapless girl’s
very public humiliation that was telecast by at
least one news channel in a story on the abuse of
new technology." It was not a long lingering
shot that I saw, but then probably Amrita Shah has
gotten a longer version. That, we can see, is
obviously poor Jyothika.
Coming back to the topic in question - I watched the video clips, but the connection to beauty contests was not apparent enough to my pathetic brain. So we shall now go through the rest of the column.
Amrita Shah goes on to mention the DPS MMS clip, the Kareena-Shahid kiss and the ensuing discussion in the media. "The discussion has covered teenage sex, the dangerous proliferation of technology such as mobile phones, issues of privacy and the culpability of those heading media houses or sites where obscenity could be peddled. All important issues, and yet something has been missing from the talk, something crucial, namely the content, the subject matter of the current surge of surreptitious film-taking."
She is right. "The content is a girl bathing. A girl being manhandled in a public place. A girl performing oral sex. A girl kissing her boyfriend. At a time when newsmagazines are writing cover stories on the sexual emancipation of the Indian woman, it seems like there are a whole lot of not very emancipated men who are having a hard time accepting it. So hard that they must secretly film, and then disseminate the results to thousands of
others," says Amrita Shah.
Ow ow. Hold it right there. There sure are a lot of not very emancipated men having a hard time. Very many indeed. But that does not mean that have they have formed themselves into small, secretive bands of videographers to upload their video clips on the Web and MMS them. All in the hope of ruining the lives of those emancipated women. In fact, I am reminded of another writer in Indian Express, who wrote that the Pepsi ad with Amitabh Bachchan and Arshad Warsi where Bacchan snarls 'paani pi, paani' was a direct, deliberate attack on the NGOs and social workers who were protesting against the various cola plants in the country where there slogan was 'water, not Pepsi'. Ridiculous.
I am sure the way I have described it is not exactly what Amrita Shah had in mind. She must have definitely been referring to the men who feel threatened by the new liberated, sexy woman, and that the video clips are a tangential reaction to something they can't handle. Then it begins to make sense. And then it stops making sense to most men, and continues making sense to most women. (That's just a guess, this writer does not have the resources to research it thoroughly.) Please bear with me while I attempt explaining the psychology here.
This, I assume, is because Amrita Shah has probably not asked men their reaction to the videos and engaged them in discussions. But this writer remembers the boys he roamed with in college, the roommates he stayed with when he started working, and the colleagues with whom he shared dirty jokes and pictures. I know for a fact that 90% of the men between 15 and 35 would not miss a chance to shoot a hidden camera clip of someone doing something private. Like sex, kiss, bathe, grope... Only they wouldn't go to extraordinary lengths to do it. Or will they...? I remember this classmate and his gang of friends - a bunch of blabbermouths - who used to climb their
neighbours' compound walls to catch bedroom scenes. (They occasionally fell off the wall, too!) Not one of the boys who heard detailed descriptions of the
neighbours' love lives told them not to do it. Not the Hindus, Muslims, Christians... Such are the ways of boys. Could they shoot videos too? They would have, if they had such cheap spy cameras then. They didn't, and had to make do with clambering up walls and falling.