31

In defence of sluts

POSTED BY Shubhangi Swarup AT 5.50 PM, 19 March 2010
TAGGED UNDER |  sex | women | promiscuity | Bindass TV |

‘Just because I’m bindass doesn’t mean I sleep around’ goes an ad campaign for Bindass TV. Its part of a well-executed campaign targeting the youth by speaking their language. Good for them. But why sleeping around must be spoken of in the same vein as drugs, atheism, farting in public and laziness beats me. Does sleeping around imply promiscuity or pre-marital sex? Giving this college kid in the ad the benefit of doubt, assuming she isn’t referring to pre-marital sex (though I suspect most people reading do), promiscuous women aren’t known to have higher chances of being terrorists, schizophrenic, heartless or broke. Last I checked, our population disaster wasn’t attributed to urban sluts. So I don’t see why they must be targeted on bus ads like this. Especially by a channel that produces a show like Emotional Atyachar. Just because I’m bindaas doesn’t meant I want to test my partner with hidden cameras either. Breaching trust in your relationship, trapping him on primetime television is as horrible as cheating on your partner, I’d think.

The backstory of this print ad lies in the TV ad, where the college kid is dancing rather sensuously i.e. feeling herself up in a nightclub, while a letchy guy checks her out. Cliché. More perverts harass you on Mumbai locals than nightclubs. It annoys me to see how an ad that is otherwise sophisticated and unconventional melts into cliché. Even Bollywood has discarded these clichés for sexually proactive heroines, without portraying them as morally depraved.

I studied in a convent school. I went to a college where the ratio of females to males was 8 to 2, of which one would’ve been gay. As a result, most of my close friends were hormonally charged girls, who went from obsessing over boy bands and cricketers to frantically searching for a touch-and-feel boyfriend, settling for any chump who came along. There came a point when emancipation simply meant ‘wake up and smell the coffee’. The boy you chased for months was either not interested or worth it. In order to assert yourself, you had to move on, date as many people as you could to regain your self-esteem. Losing self-respect seemed like a good way of finding it.

All of them turned out fine. None of them is a junkie or STD affected or even repentant. They’re young ladies that the college kid in the ad would aspire to grow into. Many are on the verge of settling down. Which is when double standards pop up in all colours of the rainbow.

Firstly there is the myth of a soul mate and the perfect love story. In this, the boy and girl roam around like lost souls, twiddling their thumbs till they come across each other and find happiness. Marriage is a sign of that happiness. A wedding is a celebration of that happiness. It’s unfortunate how one’s past, love and lust included, get totally whitewashed, when probably each of those encounters brought you a step closer to where you stand today.

I just finished reading the Kannada classic Samskara by UR Ananthamurthy. It’s about an earnest, learned, virginal Brahmin who is forced to question his worldview after tasting good ol’ Kama in a dark forest. Experience, he realises, is a neutral term. It is we who paint it in black and white.

It’s sad that all sexual experiences are seen as promiscuity, and that promiscuity has a gender. Slut has a gender. Think about it, what do you call the male equivalent of a slut? Playboy? Ladykiller? Lover boy? Womaniser? None of them comes close.

For some reason, we seem prepared to accept women as sexually active, but sexually proactive? Pleasure seeking? Nah, that’s where our liberalism ends. There’s something worse than sex, which is to actively seek it.

P.S. There is also another ad where the image of a bearded guy comes with the line ‘Just because I’m bindass doesn’t mean I sleep with guys’. I wont bother with that one. Surely some day the change in Indian laws will breed greater acceptance of homosexuality in the country. Once again, being gay isn’t the same as farting in public.