Monday, March 07, 2005

they like it that way?

Someone just said “… Them blondes and brunettes (bless them) that pose in playboy do so out of their own will. This happens to be their chosen profession. I am pretty sure that if you were to offer these chics an alternative source of employment they would not take it up. This is easy and fast money. There has been a history of really well to do film stars baring it all for the centre fold of this magazine. For these hollywood stars - money ain't the only reason they do it. Its the fame that comes with it and they have chosen to achieve it by this way….”

This is about women in prostitution and pornography. wilfully or naively, what we do not see is that yes, these women have taken up these professions on their own, but were driven to them as a final resort. ive heard so many people claim that these women have chosen to earn their living that way after all, so whats the big deal. heres whats the big deal.

Choose to earn that way? You don’t get employee benefits, pf, insurance, medical cover, perks. you don’t even have a set of labour laws to protect your rights. Yours is the first head to roll when the cops and politicians want to look good. You also lose the right to call your person – your body – yours. Because you stripped once before the camera, people assume youre always "available" – its never a rape.

“...... of a truncated woman: her head severed from her body with a sword, a symbolic penis”- Andrea Dworkin.

A quick brief of what a shoot entails: you spend a couple of weeks on a totally unhealthy regimen designed to make you look more “sexy”. This would include a course of diuretics to make you lose water and look thinner, applying hormone ointment on your breasts to make them look bigger (who knows the long term effects). Of course there’s good old silicon as an alternative (whose long term effects we do know but don’t care to reveal). So much for quick money. This is the maintenance of “stock” in this trade. Im not even glancing at the perpetual near starvation or the sick sexual fantasies that your audience has which youre forced to act out. Easy money?

“It costs a lot of money to look as cheap as I do” – Dolly Parton.
Get real. For every 1000 women barely making ends meet, living as prostitutes and starring on porn magazines and movies, maybe one will “make it big” – and pay the price dearly for that. (tell me, even for the one who makes it big, where are our ethics when we are ready to dole out more money to some woman's slavery than to some woman's bid to break free of her chains?)

“A person working as a prostitute to fund a drug habit is the least free individual on the planet.” – Germaine Greer.

In India, we have no idea of the real extent of substance abuse. So I don’t know how many women take up prostitution or pornography to fund a drug habit. Tell you what I do know : ive been to a few red light areas in my city. The women don’t do it for “kicks”. It is a way of earning money to feed the kids, and sometimes a husband whos a boozer. Glamour? youre talking sex under a truck, in a bus terminus, next to a public bathroom. Just anywhere where theres place to lie down. Foreplay? Talking? Caring? Forget it - it’s a matter of in and out again – literally.

God help you if youre “famous” and “well known” - that wont make sure that your vegetable vendor doesnt leer or feel you up and treat you with respect when youre paying him with money that you earned with much more pain and effort than he ever did.

no, not all the women in prostitution and pornography are pushed into it. only some, whose husbands beat them and “lease” them out to pimps and porn film makers. The remaining do it because that’s the only way societys ready to employ them…. when did you last see a recruitment ad saying “wanted, retired or practising prostitute (or porn star) with 5 years experience?” we have a sanctimonious attitude towards these "fallen women". (fallen where, because of whom)

they are not able to get jobs. And before getting sniffy or condescending about that, lets just quietly sit back and remember how the most brilliant and well qualified amongst us was worried and desperately looking for “placements” in our final year, or after we graduated. these women are illiterate and don’t have “job skills”. Please… look at the state of education here: amongst the literate population, which gender fares better? Which gender at least gets a chance to learn to read and write? Even if they were literate, capable of getting a job and did land one, how seriously do you think they will be taken with a previous career of prostitution/ posing for porn?

For the women in Hollywood whom you say are rich and have done it for kicks…. I think they deserve to be quartered. They help to further push down every one of the desperate struggling women in prostitution, and reinforce the vicious system that these women are victims of. Sex workers prostitute their bodies. The Hollywood “chicks” prostitute womanhood and womenkind.

"A woman reading Playboy feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual" - Gloria Steinem.
we're not joking.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Woodworm said...

Firstly, Happy Woman's Day!

This is something that may or may not be seen as pertinent to this post but a friend asked today...

Yes, women have been mistreated and have been wronged for many decades. They need to be given that respect that they have to. I guess the answer is in women to assert their positions. But I wonder, i dont know, women will stop using their sexuality and men their physicality?...And I am not really sure of the answer. Frankly, do you feel women like Shobha De who write what-you-would-definitely-call-filth in news magazines and novels do any kind of service to feminism? Don't you think there is some truth in the statement that new-age woman flaunts sexuality just as much as men flaunt physicality? Does confidence equate with flaunting sexuality? Well, you may have a point with the sex-workers - but have you been to Bangalore hangouts on weekends... and seen how the average modern woman on the streets dresses up (or down)?

And I read Maya Angelou's Still I Rise..I believe it was your post in Melancholetta...

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Yes, as a matter of fact, it does bother me a bit. I can very well understand that "individual sexual freedom" is an unalienable right, but then - crass exhibitionism and Page 3 antics don't make sense as well...

And when you talk of pornography, how would you rate the Britney Spearses, Madonnas, Baby Dolls, Kareena kapoors? Don't you think these women have control over their destiny? I don't believe Mallika Sherawat is the icon that feminism needs today.

Sexuality is something I believe feminism is really confused about, or perhaps - I am really confused about from what I read...!!

3:54 am  
Blogger Indu M said...

I discovered recently that this logic of 'they like it that way' permeates into the most educated of circles. Comments were made by some friends on how certain girls 'deserved' to be eve-teased because they dressed a particular way.

It sure doesn't help that our generation (and the next) is being increasingly fed images of how important being 'hot' is. I feel the saddest part is that instead of both genders coming to respect each other, more and more young women are actually craving to be objectified by men.

I agree with the fact that many women themselves are confused about the image of the 'liberated' women. I don't think even the media gives you genuinely good examples. Asserting your sexuality seems to be the discerning trait for being 'bold'. Its not enough that Charlie's Angels fight bad guys, they HAVE to do it wearing cat suits, bikinis and stilletos.

4:11 am  
Blogger Dileepan said...

"Sexuality is something I believe feminism is really confused about"

I agree with most of Woodworm's thoughts, including his comments on "Still I rise"

12:52 pm  
Blogger Dileepan said...

And I agree with Indu's comments too!

12:55 pm  
Blogger Sanketh said...

Issues

1) Don't generalize on problems women have. It is a totally different issue here in the US. The cases of exploitation exist here but I think people here have better opportunities than women, or for that matter men do in India. Forget it. Instead of being a culture comfortable with their sexuality .. the US is all about that.
2)There are problems in India and we ought to acknowledge that. But like Cherry said in the previous post I don't really know much about it.
3)I agree with RL when it comes to women and their sexuality. Esp in the modern context. I have seen this in Bangalore and to some extent in Pilani.
"... more and more young women are actually craving to be objectified by men." Indu hit the nail on the head with that. I'd like to add that men are more part of the problem than you give us credit for.
4) The 'shock and awe' technique that feminism adopts has got to change. I am almost sure when I say a significant chunk of women think sexuality is all there is to feminism. It may be a part of it but I don't think it merits such a lotta attention.

12:57 pm  
Blogger Vitalstatistix said...

@m,
Since when has prostitution become synonymous with playboy ? As an independent post I would agree with you. But as a reply to my comments, the relevance of this is lost on me. My comments if you will read them again were exclusively wrt playboy. Now playboy is no ordinary porn magazine. Its what you would call the elite porn magazine. Majority of the females who feature on it have already made it big into the porn/modelling/movie world. They are ppl who dont lead a hand to mouth existence and are doing it not because they want to build a house but because they are not happy with their two bedroom apartment and want a five acre country cottage. So if Ms.Gloria Steinem (whoever she is) thinks that a playboy model (who though doesn't have a medical policy or HRA or fuel allowance but makes twenty times more than what I earn despite me having all the above mentioned benefits) has undergone more tortures and cruelty in life than the holocaust victims of Dachau and Auschwitz, then its an opinion that I still disagree with.
"A woman reading Playboy feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual"
I still think its in bad taste.

Women who are forcibly pushed into prostitution, I sympathize with them. Only yesterday I read in the Times that Britney Spears is going to pose nude for Allure. What do you have to say about that ? I think you already have echoed your thoughts about that in your last paragraph. That my friend, is what I was talking about.

@woodworm
'Happy Women's Day ' ???. Seriously ???? Dude, didn't think you subscribed to the concept of women's day, Valentine's day, men's day, brother's day, step brother's day etc :D? Otherwise would agree with you

@Indu, agree with you too
@Jack, agree that you agree with the other two :D
@Sanketh, thnx for the US perspective. It only goes to support my argument.

8:58 pm  
Blogger Woodworm said...

To vitalstatistix:

I dont know - The list of all women's blogs I happened to see - had a Women's Day message in it :)

I do think Women's Day means a bit more than the other Hallmark sponsored days. It definitely doesnt hurt to have one and I happen to notice that a lot of women relate much to it....

Dont ask me the dreaded question - "Do you mean to say the other 364 are "Men's Days"" ? It was just a one-line wish dude!!!! :(

4:09 am  
Blogger m. said...

hi all.. sorry for the delayed response. work was getting rather hectic!

@indu : yeah.... sharp observation, that.... i agree! we are pretty confused ourselves arent we... :-)

@woodworm: first - thanks! i had such a lovely day :d

second - feminism doesnt applaud women objectifying themselves - patriarchy isnt better cos a womans practising it! in fact, every time someone like sherawat gets media attention, it leaves us cringing because one stunt like that sets us back almost to square one again. there are two sides to women dressing the way they do. been chewing on it for a while, will blog soon! :-)

third - maya angelou... i dont want to start off on why hers is a brilliant poem.... her story is a mindblowing one - its nice to discover it yourself. will you please try to read about her life if you can? i think youll appreciate it too. btw... why did you assume she was talking of dancing in the nude?!!

fourth: shobha de's kind of take on things... i havent ever been interested in reading her stuff. so this is my opinion about what ive been told she talks about : i personally think its too basic. alright so you bashed the guys and said theyre no good. where does that take you next? have you thought of something useful to the women? in being so obsessed with male bashing, your philosophy is again male centric and again, the women get left out of the picture. big deal. i think thats a non-starter!

fifth: when you say feminist take on sexuality, who in feminist literature are you referring to?? im sorry, i seem to be recommending a whole reading list to you, but (here i go again!) have you tried any of the second wave feminists books? they deal with quite a diverse set of issues, from food and cooking to sexuality and abortion. germaine greers "the whole woman" is a really well written one :-)

@vitalstatistix: hullo. there IS a very direct link between porn and prostitution - the psychosocial and economic aspects are so strongly twined... im sorry, but im really drained so i cant explain whats in my head right now more clearly. and no, i dont know why some people do the things they do. (even if i did, people like britney spears are of sub zero interest to me!) all im writing is what i think/ understand about something. i dont have all the answers for feminism!! this seems to be getting very heated up : not my intention.

10:10 am  

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