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Will we ever get used to seeing flesh?

April 29, 2008

cheerleadersThe brouhaha stirred up by the bare flesh and athletic dancing of the imported (mostly American) cheerleaders at the IPL matches is over. The politicians demanded that the girls cover up or quit and well, they’ve covered up. In a recent match they were in “shiny blue lycra suits that covered their entire bodies under matching silvery skirts.”

Everyone seems satisfied. The politicians and the public (including women) who believe that scanty clothes=immorality as well as those who wanted the girls to dance and liven up the match.

Exposure to Bollywood dance numbers is not the same as exposure to cheerleaders
However, the argument that cheerleaders are no big deal because we are used to girls in skimpy clothes in Bollywood movies does not hold as one cannot compare girls behind a screen to live dancing girls. People associate these kind of live dance performances to bar girls performing in seedy bars and clubs. I am sure the presence of the half-clad cheer girls has been a bit of a shock to people, both men and women.

This is what historian Ramachandra Guha said in The Telegraph (UK):

All the organizers are doing by making scantily clad white women dance in front of huge crowds is to stoke the base, voyeuristic and sexual insecurities of the Indian male. It’s revolting and crude.

Sure, the dancing was a little crass, and in fact I would go a step further and say that perhaps it was unnecessary at a cricket match, but I am totally against any ban or getting the girls to cover up. There is nothing wrong if the girls are willing and the organisers think it adds razzmatazz. Its a good thing that the girls were not covered from head to toe at last night’s match (Chennai Super Kings vs Bangalore Challengers) in Bangalore. Not all state governments are playing moral police apparently.

If the Indian male gets insecure so easily, then he needs to see more such dances not less. But why talk of just the Indian male? One should say sub-continent. Even seasoned players like Shahid Afridi get “distracted” by cheerleaders! He has said:

The girls in skimpy dresses should be removed from the ground as this is distracting to batsmen…Cricket itself is an entertainment and does not require such cheerleaders to entertain..

Two questions remain.
Q1: Why so much fuss over the girls’ scanty clothes and relatively little over the fact that these girls were eve-teased and subjected to lewd remarks?

Q2: And why were the people who made these remarks not hounded out of the stadium by security?? There was unprecedented security at the IPL matches, and the guards were given strict instructions to arrest anyone who made racist remarks, indulged in rowdy behavior or threatened the players. And if some eve-teasing incidents happened outside the stadium, why didn’t the police arrest the hecklers?

I didn’t hear of a single arrest. Hear what a cheerleader from Uzbekistan had to say after a match in Jaipur:

I’m shocked by the nature and magnitude of the comments people pass here. Be it a 70 year old man or a 15 year old boy, they all ogle us and make amorous advances. I feel very threatened. We are here to entertain them, to add a bit of glamour to the game, but we are living in constant fear of molestation.

Many (including women) feel that this sort of behavior by rowdies is “natural” as the girls are “asking for it.” I am sure their solution to keep the men in check is to cover up the girls and tone down their moves, completely glossing over the fact that on Indian streets girls wearing “modest” clothes and walking demurely are routinely teased and molested. Why can’t our politicians and our police understand that there needs to be a zero tolerance policy towards eve-teasing as that’s the only way people will learn how to behave? But we are a long way from that. Forcing the cheer girls to hide their bodies simply reinforces the belief amongst the public that it’s the girls who are at fault.

I was in Goa recently. While we were at a beach we heard a group of boys discussing about how they planned to go a little further down the beach to an isolated spot to see ‘topless” foreigners sun-bathing. What were these guys thinking? That they were doing a “guy thing”? Did it occur to them that the topless women did not want to be seen? Why not go to a prostitute to see boobs or what the hell, go to someone who’s willing!

(Photo credits: BBC)

Related Reading: Molestation: Reasons and Solutions
Should religious places have dress codes?
Pratibha Patil tells Hindu women to abandon veil
A burqa wearing trend in India?
Women’s Airline uniforms – do they have to be short?

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67 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2008 9:14 am

    Hi Nita,

    I agree with the essence of this post – its sad that even women in India seem to subscribe to the idea that cheerleaders and as such “bold” dressing justifies their men resorting to molestation. As you very well pointed out – even a well-dressed and well-behaved girl is equally likely to be molested! A change in outlook is what is needed – both that of men and that of women.

    As regards your very last sentence in the post regarding the Goa Incident; I am shocked that YOU of all people suggested such a thing. Whats wrong if a bunch of adolescent boys want to see someone topless? I would categorize it as healthy sexual curiosity and not perversion. Of course – I am dead against walking up to a sunbathing woman and ogling at her .. but lets face it.. the woman dint exactly go topless on the beach without the knowledge that she will be visible to others! Whats wrong if someone discreetly watches the topless woman – the operative phrase being “discreetly” – without offending her?

    Kiran did I say they were adoloscent or immature in some way? They were in their late twenties and there were women (wives?) with them. Ofcourse Peeping Tom behavior can perhaps be understood in a 14 year old…but that doesn’t make it right. But I know why you misunderstood me, I used the term ‘boys’ and that is because I am in my forties. Sorry about the miscommunication.- Nita.

  2. April 29, 2008 9:21 am

    ithe typical indian cricket ground is so big, i wonder how many people going to the ground would actually get a chance to see these cheer leaders?
    trust me u need a vision of an eagle to be able to even figure out who is batting and who is bowling

    More people would watch them on TV. And up close! – Nita.

  3. April 29, 2008 9:51 am

    “I used the term ‘boys’ and that is because I am in my forties” —- well well .. – I’m in my early twenties so I automatically assumed ‘boys’ = ‘teens’🙂 .. as they say .. its a matter of perspective. Sorry for jumping to conclusions.

  4. April 29, 2008 10:16 am

    I agree that security officials should have taken action on eve teasing and passing lewd remarks. This has happened because our cricket fans are not used to these scanty clothed cheerleaders and these incidents will reduce after one or two matches. Moral policing or banning them is not going to help.

    The problem is that moral policing and banning comes naturally to the Indian mindset. Taking action against law breakers for passing lewd remarks is considered a waste of time! – Nita.

  5. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 29, 2008 10:32 am

    Nita, Kiran and Ankur,

    This whole thing is just a contest between all kinds of vested interest to grab attention. I couldn’t care less if those girls were or were not there; whether they were in bikinis, burqas, or totally bare-bodied. What does bother me is the hypocrisy of those who are making an issue of it, either for or against.

    Nita, what you say about the “difference” between skimpy outfits in bollywood movies and in live situations (whether dance-bars or cricket grounds) does not quite wash. Both are equally crass, and unless we decide to totally throw out censorship, both should be subject to the same yardstick of “decency” or otherwise.

    What no one seems to be bothered about is the very valid question raised by someone in the Maharashtra government about the work-permit status of these women. Surely that is an important issue, and if the necessary formalities have not been gone through, the message I get is that if you are one of the page 3 beautiful people, you can employ people from outside India without bothering about the legality or illegality of the action. This is one issue that must be seriously looked into, and if it is found that compliance with the law is wanting, immediate and stiff legal action must be taken against the dancing girls and their employers, and also against those in government whose job is to look into such things.

    One last point: according to today’s news, the Government of West Bengal has also expressed its displeasure over this business. So at least the compulsive Maharashtra-bashers can now cool off.

    Vivek, both bollywood dances and live performances may be crass but that is not the point I was making. I was saying that the girls are behind a screen and these girls are in flesh and blood and you cannot compare these two things because our audience is not used to seeing such sights in flesh and blood. Thats what I meant. You other points are very valid. – Nita.

  6. Aditi permalink
    April 29, 2008 10:54 am

    As a college student, I sometimes fear that nothing is changing, that my generation is equally backward, or even more regressive than the previous one.
    Every time I bring up a particular eve-teasing experience, often on the very day it happens, I’ve noticed my classmates (18-21yrs.) promptly asking:

    “What were you wearing?”
    “Where were you? Why?”
    “What time was it?”

    I expect empathy, not veiled accusations. It doesn’t matter what I was wearing! Everyone who’s experienced eve-teasing knows that no matter WHAT you wear, it doesn’t reduce, or change the level of abuse.

    This shows how deep & internalized the problem is amongst the young, educated urban ppl, forget the much larger majority.

    Aditi, well, I do agree with you that people of your generation can be very old fashioned. I never cease to be surprised at it. I remember I always had pretty progressive ideas compared to the generation above mine and now I find my ideas are more progressive than many of the generation below mine!🙂 I remember one research that I wrote about on inter religious marriages and found that most youngsters between the ages of 18-21 were against inter-religious marriage! I know this isn’t relevant to the present post, but just a point about how traditional the young can be.
    About your other experiences, it is indeed a pity isn’t it, that people tend to blame the woman even though women in sarees and salwars are teased in broad daylight. – Nita.

  7. April 29, 2008 10:58 am

    well censorship is not going to do us any good…the governments should first weed out the weeds in the government(those rapists etc)…i mean are they setting good examples? someone please put sense into these people….and i think people should be thought “Indian” culture…eg.no late night,no cricket(remember its from UK?),no drinking(wine,beer etc) only the local made ones,all men and women back to the fields,close the BPOs,close the MNCs open local shops,no bank loans…etc…

    Vishesh, yeah, go back to the dark ages, thats what these politicians want! They are narrowminded fools and will take us to the dark ages as they fall over themselves to try and please the lowest common denominator. – Nita.

  8. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 29, 2008 11:11 am

    Nita,

    I KNOW that’s not the point you were making. What disturbs me is that, by making such a statement, you are effectively endorsing double-standards.

    How is that?? I am saying we need to get used to seeing flesh, that is the whole point of my article. I don’t see this as double standards at all but simply seeing the reality. We need to get Indians used to seeing flesh, that is the only way out…by this I don’t mean that the molestations etc will stop (if thats what you take me to mean) but the protestations and the hoopla generated and the forcible covering up. Sorry if that wasn’t clear…this post is such that it is so prone to misunderstandings! – Nita.
    p.s. what will stop the molestation and eve-teasing is the policing, I said that clearly

  9. April 29, 2008 11:27 am

    Given the chance, I will take every measure to deploy dress code of conduct for every citizen in my country. I hate it when girls wear revealing dresses and people around them just keep gaping at them. Its just unbearable. (anyway this is just my personal opinion, may be I am too orthodox to be in this generation, I am 21.5 yrs Only)

    Re: Police:- I am always unhappy about police in Maharashtra.(I can’t say “in India” coz I never seen others). Because they rarely take the action needed on time. So do not expect anything from them.

    Vivek, Nita’s point is surely notable. Haven’t you seen many “……..” people being turned on just by sight of girl in shorts? So flesh and blood point explains it all.

    And you missed one point there Nita. Mentality of most Indian people is that “any women be it an actress or dancer who is public stage performer in sexy dress is similar to a ____ for them”. I hate to use that word, but its reality. No one actually respects any item dancers or not even actresses like Aishwarya Ray. Most of their fanclub will be willing to have a chance if they manage to get it.

    By the way, I heard that men in the middle east get turned on by seeing a woman’s ankle! The point here is that covering the woman up in not the answer, getting men used to seeing our god given flesh is the answer. This does not mean that women are to blame, its just that the men are not used to seeing the flesh. Thats the reality. But the point I am making that even if a guy is turned on as you say, he needs to control himself, he has to show some respect. But I agree that in India all these women are not respected by the general public. We need to change this mentality. Go only as far as the woman wants, no further. – Nita.

  10. April 29, 2008 11:37 am

    I think this is a great move by you Nita! Why not just white females…even if Indian females wear skimpy clothes and cheer lead from the sidelines, we should accept that! People don’t hesitate to watch those useless item numbers and other steamy scenes. So why this? There is nothing lewd about cheer leading. It’s just that this is the first time such a concept has been introduced in India. And cricket is such a great sport! What’s the harm in having some girls and boy cheer lead too? It increases the fun of the game! I see so many ball games here and cheerleading is a big sport here. People enjoy watching cheer leading as much as they enjoy the main event. It involves a lot of hard work and we need to look beyond the clothes that the women wear. In fact, the climate of India is so HOT. Why shouldn’t they wear short skirts? They can wear whatever they want! It’s the men (And many women) who need to change the way they think. I don’t even know what is meant by “Indian culture” anymore or what’s against our so-called culture. We want to copy the West all the time. So what’s wrong with this? It’s silly that we are reducing cheer leading to a mere skin show. It’s much more than that and saying things like “Cricket is a great event and we don’t need cheer leading for it” etc etc. is plain silly.

    Ruhi thanks. Even I don’t know whats this jingoistic stuff going around about “Indian” culture. Whether the are talking of ancient or modern culture. If they are talking ancient, the average woman needs to start wearing skimpy clothes and if they are talking modern… the same!🙂 About cheerleading, I have seen a movie on cheerleading and realised how tough it is to be a cheerleader in the US. Here no one has any clue about it. – Nita.

  11. April 29, 2008 11:39 am

    Forgot to add- We should focus on the eve teasing and give crash courses to the people of our country on how to behave! And how to stop staring at the cleavage of women. Where you can see the cheer leaders from your seat or not is totally irrelevant.

  12. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 29, 2008 11:41 am

    @ Aditi:

    I entirely sympathise (not just empathise) with you. I don’t know which city you live in, but as far as such veiled accusations go (“YOU must have been in the wrong”), I don’t suppose it would make much difference. Your statement…//This shows how deep & internalized the problem is amongst the young, educated urban ppl, forget the much larger majority//…speaks for itself. The kind of people you have named are products of the same hypocritical society and value system as that larger majority.

    @ Nita: //The guards were given strict instructions to arrest anyone who made racist remarks, indulged in rowdy behavior or threatened the players//

    LOL, since when did guards become judges of racist remarks and rowdy behaviour. These things are so common both in real life and in the opium world of bollywood and TV serials, that even better educated ( and therefore, arguably, “civilised”) people seem unable to distinguish.

    As for threatening the players, when the players themselves are not above threatening one another in full view of the crowds, isn’t it rather discriminatory to ask the guards to “arrest” people for emulating their heroes? Besides, how is a guard to know who has “influence” at what level? In the end it is he who will get it in the neck. And unlike a player, he has no opportunity to make up for lost income by endorsing colas or condoms.

  13. April 29, 2008 11:50 am

    Actually, Nita, I think the police in Maharashtra are much better compared to police from other parts of the country. I remember walking on the streets of Pune very late at night and still feeling quite safe. Most of the people in Pune/Bombay are much better when it comes to “eve-teasing”. They are more comfortable with women wearing revealing clothes. I’ve hardly ever faced any eve-teasing in Pune. Can’t say the same thing about Bangalore, Delhi or Calcutta.

    Well, I agree that there is less eve-teasing in Pune and Mumbai than many other cities in India but its there. I have experienced it myself several times. You just need one cheapster to start it off and his friends are drawn in. What you suggested in one of your earlier comments is right…these people should be rounded up and put into therapy. – Nita

  14. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 29, 2008 11:55 am

    @Nita:

    I meant double standards as between bollywood films on the one hand and bar-dancers or cheerleaders on the other. I thought I was very clear on that. “The need to get Indians accustomed to seeing flesh”, that is an entirely different discussion, and far more complex in its ramifications.

    @Suda:

    //men in the middle east get turned on by seeing a woman’s ankle!//

    So also did men in Victorian England. They were even more ridiculous: They had apron-like coverings to obscure the legs of sofa chairs, which might remind them of a woman’s legs and engender sinful thoughts!!! So women and furniture belonged in the same category.🙂

    Vivek, I agree that the issue is complex and my solution to the fuss over scanty clothes of girls is
    1) lets get used to seeing flesh 2) strict policing. 3) attempt to control their behavior by men and not blaming the women.
    These solutions are very different and each worthy of a post in itself🙂 but they are the solutions to the same problem…which is the over-reaction of people to scantily clad girls. – Nita.

  15. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 29, 2008 11:59 am

    Suda,

    Sorry for visiting on you the comment made by Nita, about men in the middle east.

  16. April 29, 2008 12:13 pm

    @Nita:

    I agree with Nita that getting men “used to” these things is the answer. I quote my own example. I’m Male and 24. A resident of Bangalore, I am not used to seeing females in short skirts.

    When I recently visited Malaysia, where the people of Chinese origin are much more “liberal” than us. Skin show is common. Much to my embarrassment, I had trouble preventing my eyes from straying towards the womens’ legs or other unmentionable areas. Mind you – I dont mean any disrespect to the woman wearing the skirt – its just that since I am not used to seeing such things, i initially had the “urge” to look that way.

    Surprisingly (??), I noticed that the Malaysian men would not take special notice of such things. They have been seeing it all their lives and do not see it as any different than a woman wearing a Salwar! Moreover, after I spent some time there, I too started getting “used to” it. Now-a-days, I hardly give a second look if I see women wearing such dresses – certainly not in a pervy kind of way.

    Point I’m trying to make is that it’s only a matter of people getting used to these things. Of course the hypocrites will continue to be that – Hypocrites. So u cannot change them.

    An interesting aside: I once had a conversation with my female friend – telling her that Indian girls should wear skirts because I frankly think it makes then look great. She told me that Indian girls do feel like wearing such dresses but back out because of all the “staring”. So is this a chiken-and-egg problem? Girls are waiting for men to “mature” before they start wearing such dresses. Men, on the other hand need to see more girls wearing such dresses to mature. So…??

    Thanks for sharing your experience Kiran. It does seem to be a chicken and egg thing doesn’t it! – Nita.

  17. April 29, 2008 12:49 pm

    @ Vivek
    I don’t get you!! What are you saying sorry for? You are the one of the thinker-commenter out there😉

    The confusion happened because the first of Vivek’s comments went into moderation while the other one did not! I have published his earlier comment now. – Nita.

  18. April 29, 2008 12:51 pm

    Nita, I very strongly agree with both you and Kiran that getting men used to these things is the answer. I find it repulsive when a man ogles a woman, whistles at her, or makes unwelcomed comments to her. The way I see it, women are and should be free to wear what they want even if that means I and other males must accept full responsibility for our behavior towards them. After all, isn’t accepting responsibility for ones behavior part of being an adult?

    “Responsibility and being “adult” is the key words here and thanks for saying it! That is the whole point, taking responsibility and being an adult! In some societies only women are supposed to be responsible for everything …upholding of cultural, religious and moral values, keeping relationships in the family, bringing up children, keeping the marriage together etc etc. – Nita.

  19. April 29, 2008 1:00 pm

    Enough flesh. Give them blood who wanted to see flesh and react like monkey or worst after seeing cheerleaders.

    Short and sweet, music to my ears! – Nita.

  20. April 29, 2008 1:07 pm

    I agree to your remarks. I think the reason why women are molested or passed lewd remarks because they are probably seen as people who are out of bounds to an average man. Because our society propogates the separation between men and women, there is a certain amount of curiosity relating to the other sex, which leads to such acts!

    Discrimation on the basis of sex needs to stop!

    Yeah, the segregation can drives both sexes a little crazy. The men react aggressively…I wonder how women handle it though. I think women in our society are taught control at a very young age. They are taught how to walk and talk “properly”, dress “properly” and generally “behave” in ways that society would approve. – Nita.

  21. Joss permalink
    April 29, 2008 4:04 pm

    In Britain we have never seen the need for cheerleaders at sports events, because the sport itself is taken so seriously. However, as someone with absolutely no interest in sport I can see the point in having some extra entertainment, at cricket matches in particular 🙂 Twenty twenty cricket looks OK, but five days of sitting around waiting and waiting and more waiting. Bring on the dancing girls, I say!

    Well, a lot of people have objected to cheerleaders on the grounds that they disturb the sanctity of cricket. However in India we are heavily influenced by American things of late…whether its burgers or hollywood movies and now it seems cheerleaders! But I think the IPL authorities are desperate that their IPL is successful and thats why they added this cheerleading “thrill.” It sure has generated a lot of controversy but I wonder whether its helped the TRP ratings. Frankly I doubt it. – Nita.

  22. April 29, 2008 5:40 pm

    Hi Nita,

    It seems there are many issues in this post so I’ll take them one at a time. First of all cheerleaders. In the United States, almost all athletic events have cheerleaders beginning from Little League and Pee-Wee up through college. When you grow watching boys and girls doing cheers on the sidelines, you tend not to notice it anymore. However, since most college cheerleaders have become more acrobatics and less cheers, the costumes have gotten smaller and tighter. It’s not about the cheers, it’s about drawing attention to your body. But no one sits in the stands and shouts vulgar and rude phrases either, that will get you kicked out at the very least. Doesn’t mean though that the spectators aren’t undressing the girls, because they are. It’s not about sex, but sex appeal and getting your fans to be worked up and emotional. In professional sports though, cheerleaders such as the ones pictured at the cricket matches are actually a distraction. Not all teams have them and those that do don’t always support them. In the pros, it’s all about dance and entertainment, not cheerleading.

    Moving on to eve-teasing which is a phrase I’ve never heard before. This is not just an Indian problem, harassment and fondling occur in every country. It may not be as well reported in the West but that’s because most women are resigned to being looked at. Touching and fondling though are a crime and can be prosecuted if it’s pursued. Not many are unless it’s systemic. And since many women carry Mace or a gun, unless your a criminal intent on rape or robbery, the casual male will not try much. That’s not to say that most men in America aren’t crude and disgusting because they are, but that’s mainly because their parents raised them that way. If you go to any shopping mall at any time, the constant parade of girls and young women showing off their bodies will quickly jade you to any desire to see more. “Cover up already!”

    As far as the beach goes, it is illegal for a woman to be topless everywhere. A few states and cities have been sued successfully on the grounds of discrimination because men can go topless, but few will bare their breasts. This also is connected to the controversy about breast feeding in public, but that’s a separate issue. Despite what people around the world believe and see in American media, you will rarely see a topless or nude woman in public. Only at concerts or large events where the police for the most part turn a blind eye to public flashing. If you want to go and see breasts you can find them, but what’s the point when you can just surf the internet.

  23. April 29, 2008 5:49 pm

    Nita it is not just flesh but the skin color and the clothes…
    U dont see women in bikinis or hot pants in india do u ?
    why so??
    women in india get wet in salwar kameezs and saris but never donne a swimsuit on a beach, while swimsuits are used in pools – if a westerner and an Indian both donne swimsuits on a beach the Indian gets more attention and sometimes lewd attention (from experience in kerala )

    People watch because the cheerleaders are different
    in skin color and attire
    on the lewd comments and ogling, things will never change – blame it on India being a male dominated country, victorian mindset and lack of mental maturity in even some 70 yr olds.
    lastly why do women also share the same ‘ asking for it ‘ mindset as men ?

    I know what you mean Prax, anything unusual is what gets peoples attention. An Indian woman in a bikini on a beach would be unusual and would get stares. Same with an Indian woman in a mini. However even if one feels like staring one should not stare openly as it offends people. Its not just the uneducated who stare openly, but also educated people.
    And why do you think a woman thinks the same way? She’s been brainwashed since childhood. – Nita.

  24. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 29, 2008 6:07 pm

    Nita,

    “sanctity of cricket !!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    It is preposterous that anyone should even think of such a thing in the context of 20X20 or whatever the tamasha is called. I am no great cricket fan, but I think I do have a vague notion of what sanctity means. In any field of human endeavour.

    haha! Know what you mean. But do remember that those words are coming from a person like me who is not a cricket lover at all. I would have no idea what is the sanctity of test matches either! I prefer 20/20 as it gets over fast… – Nita.

  25. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 29, 2008 8:06 pm

    Nita,

    If “getting over fast” is the main criterion, there are so many alternatives (football, hockey, basketball, volleyball) played in India, and many more (baseball, rugby, to name two that immediately come to mind). They are especially attractive because not only on TV but even at the venue you can actually see what is happening. You do not have to see replay after replay to capture the finer points. And on TV, you don’t have to suffer ads after every five minutes.

    The only merit I see in 20/20, as far as Indian and Pakistani crowds go, is that it will hopefully get the jingoistic element out of the game (if it is sustained in the present format, however idiotic). Cricket will cease to be a war by proxy.

    The sickening personality cult which grows like fungus on the glamour figures will also be scraped off, and we will hopefully see less of them telling us which soap, toothpaste, detergent etc. to buy.

    The sad part is that, while unlike bollywood, cricket does demand a tremendous amount of genuine skill, talent and hard work before you enter the big league, all those achievements will get frittered away in this cheap, poular and instantly gratifying version of the game.

    And as for the cheerleaders, however crude and crass their “art” it hopefully won’t give way to balle-balle Bhangra which, if present fashions are to be believed, seems to be the only expression of exuberant joy that this vast and varied country of ours has produced in its 5-6 thousand documented years of civilisational history.

    I don’t seek to enforce my tastes on others, but equally, I would also like to be spared from the infliction of their tastes.

    I don’t know how many of this morning’s newspapers in Mumbai gave no. 1 spot to ISRO’s truly remarkable achievement yesterday of placing 10 satellites into orbit in a single spacecraft launch. In Ahmedabad that story was largely tucked away on the inside pages. Page 1 was all about the disgraceful behaviour of two of our cricketers and the ouster of that lecherous ex-cop from the hockey establishment.

  26. April 29, 2008 9:22 pm

    Nita,

    // Exposure to Bollywood dance numbers is not the same as exposure to cheerleaders //

    I agree.Cheerleading is much better than some of those so-called ‘dance’ numbers!

    I feel very sorry for the girls though.They must be shocked by the uncivilised attitude of many Indian men(and some women too).

    If the organisers want to ‘spice up’ things,I would ask them to encourage their daughters and sisters and wives to do the cheerleading in the same attire!

  27. April 29, 2008 9:58 pm

    Brian, thanks for that detailed comment. I know what you mean. Cheerleading now seems to have gone to the other extreme, and more emphasis on being provocative. But as you said there is so much flesh on display that people don’t care so much anymore. And in any case even they want to, they can get reprimanded by people around or be picked up by the police. And about girls protecting themselves with a mace etc is a great idea. Here very few girls have that sort of attitude…they are still timid about self-defense.
    Even here its illegal to be topless but the Goa govt. allows it in certain places or rather turns a blind eye as the state is dependent on tourism. There are spots in Goa where you can sunbathe topless.

    Vivek, I guess we are just emotional about cricket and therefore prefer it to any other sport. About the question of talent to reach the top of a profession, I feel one requires a lot of talent to reach the top in any profession. I can’t say which profession requires more talent though! I would say different kinds of talent.🙂 About the satellites, yes it was front page news here. I wanted to write about it, but need to do more research before I can.

    Raj, why should the organisers ask their daughters and wives to do cheerleading? That would be forcing. No cheerleading is being forced to do anything. They are simply doing their job and getting paid a lot, some say several lakhs per appearance. Now why should Vijay Mallya’s wife or Shah Rukh’s wife do the same?

  28. April 29, 2008 10:35 pm

    Nita,

    I wanted them to encourage and not force them.Then people will realise that Indian men generally adopt despicable double standards when it comes to women.They would never want their own daughters or sisters or wives to dress in such a manner but encourage other women to do the same.Most Indian men will never learn to respect women because they think that their female relatives must be “homely”,”cultured” and so on but will never hesitate to exploit other women who need to learn a living.Shameless double standards of ‘free market capitalism’! 😡

    I am sorry,Nita,but I do not agree with your views that women should be encouraged to earn a living by exposing their flesh.Women are not objects but ‘free market capitalism’ sometimes leaves them with no choice.That is why I hate such concepts!

    Well, maybe it may apply to many people what you say but not to the organisers per se. Why in the world should these rich men encourage their wives to earn their living?? And from page 3 photos one can see that gauri khan dressed in skimpy clothes and so do all these rich socialites. And by the way why should you dictate your standards on other women Raj? They are free to do, they are doing it of their own free will. No one has any right to tell them what to do. And whether they are objectifying themselves or not is their business. I am not even against prostitution as such as long as the girls are willing. Cheerleading is a very very decent profession, and I don’t know why you feel its exploitation. I dont even think that prostitution is exploitation. Who is saying that anyone should encourage them? Its their business – Nita.

  29. lallopallo permalink
    April 29, 2008 11:02 pm

    Whether or not cheerleaders , with skimpy outfits, should be allowed during cricket matches in India is a question which has no easy answers, given the fact that Indian sensibilities lie from one end of the liberty spectrum to another end of the stone-age spectrum. Throw in selfish politicians , with their political agendas, in this potpouri of cultural morality and you have another drama to entertain us.
    What’s sad , though, is the beating which our slowly and painfully cultivated image of being a happening & liberal nation receives in front of the world after such incidents happen.
    We are not going to be taken seriously by the world if we keep investing our intellectual energies in these types of controversies.

  30. April 29, 2008 11:13 pm

    I agree with you Lallopallo. This sort of thing gives India a bad image. All international news agencies picked this up as its sensational news. The politicians are investing their energy on trying to ban cheerleaders and are trying to clothe them! Its ridiculous but it also shows that this is what concerns our nation a lot. Its nto just politicians. Every person has a view on this and a strong view. This shows India is highly concerned with this issue…let us not underestimate that. India is now threatened at what it sees as the onslaught of western culture…so this issue is a hot issue. We are developing a fast pace, there is money…otherwise why would anyone spend lakhs on cheerleaders unless they feel they will get a return on their investment. We should never underestimate the power of culture…in this case what we Indians see as a threat to our culture. That is what the polticians are exploiting.
    However, what the nation needs to be concenred iwth is eve-teasing.
    Unfortunately, the world is now getting the idea that that India is regressive as it requires women to be covered up from head to toe, much like what the Taliban is asking its people to do. We are getting an image of the Taliban. Cover up the women or shame on them!! – Nita.

  31. April 30, 2008 12:15 am

    Nita staring openly or ogling is last of my worry – i
    I look but try not to stare and as in the words of the series Coupling im a bloke😉

    But i am against visual undress lewd stare coupled with the eve tease – that is under the belt, n downright cheap
    people if they get a chance far exceed the staring eve teasing bit bit – remember the new yr juhu incident?

    But sometimes women are also a bit to blame – and i fully agree with aditi – this is a repressed society and women also play a part – dont u remember the attitude of the mothers of those guys?

  32. April 30, 2008 12:17 am

    Vivek ur spot on — t20 and ipl are a tamasha !!

  33. April 30, 2008 12:23 am

    i found brians and lps comment interesting too

  34. April 30, 2008 12:30 am

    I think when in India men and women will be 100% equal (freedom, rights, opportunities,…) all this troubles will disappear…but i also think it will take quite a long time. In the early 60 in Spain there was a big scandal with the massive arrivals of nordic tourists, wearing tiny bikinis…Here it was not common, like it happens now in India.
    Today, the most normal thing in all beaches in Spain is to be in top less!
    There’s nothing wrong, no one is scandalized,…we are free to be in topless or not, and no one will say to us (woman) to cover up.

    There are also many nude beaches (where i have been, naked of course!). There’s a lot of respectful atmosphere in those beaches because when you are nude with other nude people, its when u realize WE ARE ALL EQUAL, men and women. No one is looking to another without respect and the ones who do (or the ones who come to this beaches dressed) are not welcome.
    Its a beautiful experience, just a day at the beach, that’s it.

    Cheerleders, dancers,…are doing a job…it should not matter how they dress because everyone should be free to dress how they want!

    In India I’ve seen many men “almost naked” wearing just small clothes,
    what about them, there’s nothing wrong about that?
    so, why an indian girl can’t wear a mini if she wants?

    Francina, thank you for that comment. As you said here men and women are not equal. That is the main problem. Men think they have a right to demean a woman if she wears scanty clothes. In fact they think scanty clothes=shame and immorality. These views are so entrenched that they cannot see that they are being narrow-minded. It will take a long long time for India to wake up…I think maybe another hundred years. I don’t see much hope for this present generation. They seem less broadminded than even me. – Nita.

  35. April 30, 2008 1:23 am

    I have been misunderstood again 😦

    I never said that the rich men should encourage their wives to earn a living.I just said that if they are willing to pay money to get the cheerleaders to expose their flesh,they should apply the same standards to their wives and daughters and sisters,whether for money or not does not matter.I am just talking about the despicable double standards of men who want to keep their women “chaste” but encourage other women to objectify themselves.

    Providing money is encouragement,Nita! I wonder how many of the cheerleaders would be willing to work for free,especially in front of shamelessly rude Indian men and women(many Indian women say nasty things about those girls,too).

    I would be the last person to say that women should be covered up from head to toe.But if women are dressed scantily in a public place,it is (unfortunately) natural for men to stare at them.I know that it is not civilised to do so,but if women are free to do what they want in a public place,then men too should be free to look at them,shouldn’t they? I wonder how many Indian women will resist the temptation to stare at a cutely dressed baby or a child.Infact,many of them will ruffle the hair of the child or pinch the cheek of the baby! What do such women think? Did the child or the baby want or ask such a thing to be done to him or her? Why,the baby or the child is usually dressed by his/her mother! So what makes women think that they can do such things to a baby or a child who is not acting out of his own will? So is it alright for women to express their “affection” on a child who is not acting out of his free will,but it is not correct for men to look at women who are acting out of their own free will? Why don’t such women go to the places that host homeless and abandoned children who are desperately in need of such “affection”? Why should there be double standards for men and women? (Ofcourse,I acknowledge that passing rude comments and “eve-teasing” is a crime.)

    I never dictate my standards on any woman(or man,for that matter),Nita.I never said cheerleading is not a decent profession.But I am surprised to read that you believe prostitution is not exploitation.Any kind of organised prostitution is exploitation.Ofcourse,it would be a different thing if the girls do it by themselves.But even then,I wonder how many financially secure women(married or unmarried) would willingly offer their bodies to men for money.Is it wrong to have empathy(not sympathy,for empathy is far more powerful than sympathy) for those who are victims of circumstances? Is it wrong to hope that everyone should be able to lead a decent and happy life,Nita?

    (I consider myself very lucky not to believe in the bullshit called ‘free trade’ and ‘free market capitalism’.May such despicable concepts perish!!! The sooner,the better it would be for humankind!!! )

    Raj, You have said very clearly that the organisers should encourage their wives and daughters and you can read your comment again. I have no misunderstood you. But Vivek agrees so you have someone who agrees with you.
    And if you think that by paying a salary to someone is encouragement, I have nothing more to say.
    You did imply that cheerleading is not a decent profession, please read your comment again.
    Also about prostitution, please read my answer to Vivek. I meant prostitutes who are doing of their own free will. I have written about prostitues on this blog. I am talking for women who choose to do it of their own free will, they choose to earn their money this way, and that I feel they have a right to. I do not think that is exploitation. That is my view I am afraid and frankly let me go a step further and say that I am not even against pornography. These are my views and I don’t expect people to agree with it.
    And as to what you said about men looking at them…we are talking about leching here, and lewd remarks, who siad about looking???
    You say you don’t believe inimposing you standards on others, but your whole comment reeks of it. I am sorry Raj, but that is what your comments sound like.
    Raj, it is possible that you did not mean what you wrote, but then why not say it? I have not misunderstood you words at all. They are there for all to see. – Nita.

  36. wanderingmindz permalink
    April 30, 2008 4:38 am

    Well I don’t understand why cheer leaders are needed in the first place?? I’m not against their way of dressing or the way they dance …whatever. Are they really needed? Just b’coz in the west cheerleaders are seen at a sports match/event doesn’t mean Indians too should have it.
    The politicians who crticize the cheerleaders have double standards, they themselves are not ashamed of watching and even dancing in nautankis and tamashas with scantily clad girls and in open they appear ‘all white’.

    Actually I agree with you about this, I too think the cheerleaders are unnecessary but not because of their dress or dancing, but because for me at least it adds no entertainment value. However if it does spice up things for others, why not? Its harmless fun. – Nita.

  37. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 30, 2008 6:46 am

    Nita,

    //…I feel one requires a lot of talent to reach the top in any profession…//

    WRT the context of my specific comment to which the above is a response, are you suggesting that shaking one’s bum before a camera, spouting inane dialogues (in Hindi, of course) and boy-chasing-girl-chasing boy round and round a tree is a PROFESSION and requires TALENT?

    Sorry! All it takes is the right ancestry and the right connections.

    Vivek, I don’t know what you are talking about at all. Is that all a top actor does? I am amazed! Yes, I believe it requires talent to reach the top of the profession, any profession. I can argue on this forever, but in every profession there are people who use influence. Thats India for you. – Nita.

  38. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 30, 2008 6:50 am

    Raj,

    //If the organisers want to ’spice up’ things,I would ask them to encourage their daughters and sisters and wives to do the cheerleading in the same attire!//

    I wholeheartedly agree with you on that. I wouldn’t just “ask” them to encourage, I would COMPEL them, under threat of dire consequences.

  39. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 30, 2008 7:00 am

    Raj,

    I forgot to add:

    I understand one or two of the promoters/financiers/slave traders are themselves [shit] Hindi [shit] filmy bimbos. So they should themselves be made to join the tamasha.

  40. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 30, 2008 7:21 am

    Nita,

    //I dont even think that prostitution is exploitation//

    I am absolutely speechless! That statement coming from a journalist!! It would have been pardonable if it had come from a social butterfly. Or Marie Antoinette.

    Obviously what you are thinking of is the high-society call girls who do it of their own volition, don’t have to operate thorugh pimps, can pick and choose their clients, and get paid fabulous amounts. They account for considerably less than .01% of the practitioners of the world’s oldest profession.

    To know about the exploited lives of the rest of them, you don’t even need go looking for learned research papers. A half-hour conversation with an employee of any voluntary organisation working in Kamatipura should be educative enough.

    Vivek, I have written about prostitutes on this blog and in great detail and I have made my views very clear indeed. And even in the comment I am talking talking of prostitutes who are doing it of their volition. I have kept repeating that point… I am not against prostitution and do not think it exploits if they are doing it of their own volition. Why in the world are you bent on twisting my words…I wonder!! I think you have a habit of jumping to conclusions because this is not the first time you are doing this. Either you think I am stupid, even after a year of reading my blog, or you are deliberately being provocative. Let me add that I am not even against pornography as long as the actors are doing it of their own volition. These are my views and I don’t expect people to agree with it but please don’t talk stuff like how can a person like you blah blah blah, because I am object to it strongly. I have every right to believe what I believe and I respect other people’s views but you clearly don’t. – Nita.
    P.S. the fact that you have quoted only half my sentence tells me a lot Vivek. You are here to pick a quarrel and I have no time as I am busy.

  41. April 30, 2008 8:23 am

    @vivek and nita…
    actually i agree partially with both of you.
    call centers, bar dancers etc are very lucrative professions and most people in it do it because that way they earn a lot more than what they would in any day job. (this i am concluding from a half baked actual conversation which i did with 3 bar dancers who became jobless when police crack down at their establishments.)

    but i do agree that often underage girls r thrown into this profession partly because of perverts who fancy them or think that they have lesser chance of catching STD via them… and that is exploitation.

    Ankur, I was not talking of underage girls as they cannot give consent. I am talking about adults who give consent! That was very very obvious but if people want to twist, they can twist anything. Vivek quoted only half my sentence. – Nita.

  42. April 30, 2008 8:39 am

    also i strongly believe that pornography and prostitution should be legalized. because it would give NGO and govt bodies chance to clean out the mess, save minors from being pushed into this trade and also ensure that the health of sex workers is maintained and proper medical checkup is done.

    its hard for any body to regularize a trade which does not officially exist.

    I have written a post on this subject. You can read it here. – Nita.

  43. Ravi permalink
    April 30, 2008 9:32 am

    Interesting post Nita. Its sad that politicians are making this (regardin cheerleaders) an issue and its really weird the way crowds attitude towards them in the stadium. Why don’t we just enjoy beautiful people cheerin the crowd. When I first saw cheerleaders for an American football game, I had noticed that they not only set the environment vibrant but also colorful. I was really surprised by the way they cheered their respective teams for almost 3 hours. It was fun watchin them. I confess that on that day I had watched the cheerleaders more than the players makin goals. With in a month I had stopped noticin hot chicks around me because I got used to them and I don’t check them anymore. I m not afraid to say that I will change and behave like any other indian guy if I come to india and stay for awhile. I don’t think its entirely my fault.

    I think indian men are cursed with women carrying mixed attitude. Men are always the same whether they are in US or in india. But women in india r totally different from those in western countries. As we all know that women are more liberal/matured in western countries. But in india some women pretend to act like their counterparts in US/elsewhere. May be it is the reason indian men are confused and ventin out their sexual frustration by abusin women in public places like busstops and railway stations with wrong women.

    I would like to share my observation on myspace chat rooms. Go to any regional chat room except India and see a guy readily gettin a response from any girl. All you need to do is to add some gig to the conversation. But in Indian chat room you will know it no time that some thing is wrong with the people in there. Guys chat in guise and women do not disclose their names and they don’t even care to respond then what the HELL r they doing in chat rooms. But our very own indian dudes come out clean in other chat rooms. Thats something interestin. In both the cases the guy is the same but the person whom he talked to was different. I could never dare/prefer to go and talk to an indian girl on any chat room because I don’t want to feel bad for not gettin a response from her.

    You know what the people who control/enslaved women must die so that she can do whatever she can without any restrictions. They only men stop ogling and rubbing shoulders in public transport.

    @nita – you can edit my post if you think this is off topic.
    Thanks

    Ravi, thanks for sharing your experience. It has given me a lot of insight into the behavior of youngsters today! I don’t think it is off topic at all. Sexual freedom is an important aspect here. One of the reasons why some men go crazy when they see skimpy clothes is because they have no sexual freedom. – Nita.

  44. Ravi permalink
    April 30, 2008 9:34 am

    PS – I dont know how badly we(indians) need food, water and shelter but we need sexual freedom. Otherwise we will be lost in confusion.

  45. Ravi permalink
    April 30, 2008 9:38 am

    @Raj

    I don’t want to see a fat women (Mr.Mallya’s or Khans wives) dancing infront of 100,000 crowd. Thats really creepy even to imagine them doin that. LOL

  46. vish permalink
    April 30, 2008 9:53 am

    //If the organisers want to ’spice up’ things,I would ask them to encourage their daughters and sisters and wives to do the cheerleading in the same attire!//

    We will also blame them for nepotism if they do that! 🙂

  47. April 30, 2008 10:06 am

    From what I can see, it is women against men in this comment s section.

    Vivek, Raj- Sorry to barge into your discussion, but I feel that Nita is being misunderstood to a grave extent here. Even I don’t see anything wrong with cheerleading or with women wearing skimpy clothes and shaking pom poms! Will men be able to do it? NO. Will anyone even be interested if men do the same thing? No. So why not appreciate what those women are doing? That too in front of all those lewd people who come to watch cricket matches. Not to forget, millions of viewers who sit at home and watch those matches! Yes, they are being paid, but this does not by any means diminish their achievement or the fact that they need to practice a lot and stay physically fit. The temperature in India doesn’t help either! It’s a high stress job. And we definitely can’t compare it with office and other “professional” jobs. But let’s accept this fact- Neither of you or as a matter of fact, me, would be able to do it. So we need to learn to appreciate what others can do! And be broad minded enough and look beyond “mother, sister, wife” line of reasoning. It’s silly to equate things in such a general manner. Money is not the only criteria here. Not every woman does everything for money and we definitely can’t force anyone to cheerlead by shoving $$$ bills down their throats! Thanks.

    Thanks Ruhi. I am wary of this mother daughter wife reasoning too. And I agree with you that cheerleading is a hard job and I respect the women who do it. I respect people of all professions, be they actors, dancers, waiters, executives, or academicians etc etc. The people I have no respect for are arrogant and dishonest people. I do not judge people by their profession. I have an equally high respect for a woman who works at home and looks after her kids and the likes of those who earn a high powered salary. I do not believe in this “superwoman” syndrome. Every job in this world is important, be it home-making or making boardroom decisions… I cannot stand snobbery and looking down on people because of their professions. – Nita.

  48. April 30, 2008 10:16 am

    Nita,

    Unfortunately,I keep getting misunderstood😦

    I never said women should wear “modest” attire.Women are free to wear what they want,even go topless or naked.I think men have to control themselves when they see scantily dressed women.If they are not able to do so and stare at them,it is the fault of the men,not the women.I always said that lecherous looks or rude remarks or even plain looking is uncivilised behaviour.

    But very,very unfortunately,it is natural behaviour for men to look at women who are scantily dressed just as it is natural behaviour for women to look at cutely dressed children.It is a result of the so-called “culture”.I blame the “culture” and the men and women behind the “culture” and not the women who are dressed scantily just as I blame the economic system of “free market capitalism” and the men and women behind that nonsensical concept and not women who are involved in the flesh trade.Women in the flesh trade are victims of the despicable economic concept called “free market capitalism” that believes that anything and everything should be measured in terms of money,even human beings! Shame on such filthy concepts! I will never associate myself with such bullshit!

    I agree with you that women who want to sell their bodies or act in pornographic films of their own free will have a right to do so.But I wonder how many men who use the services of those women will even think of allowing their daughters or sisters or wives to do the same for money.And I wonder how many financially secure women(married or unmarried) will even think of doing the same or allowing their sisters or daughters to do the samefor money.

    I am sorry,Nita,but I absolutely hate any concept that reeks of double standards! If the “free market capitalist” organisers of the IPL want to have cheerleaders(a very decent profession),I want those scoundrels to ask their wives and sisters and daughters to perform the same dances in the same attire without paying them any money.They should not bring in foreign women to do the same in a country where women are harassed,abused and exploited for just being women! Then the shameless double standards of those scoundrels would become obvious for everyone!

    I am sorry if my poor linguistic skills made my comment look like I was trying to impose my standards on others.

    Vivek,

    I agree with you completely.Call girls who are involved in the profession of their own free will are a microscopic minority(in India atleast).The vast majority of women in the trade in India and those who are trafficked here from Nepal,Bangladesh and other countries are the victims of scoundrels who think that trafficking women and children to be used in the flesh trade is a “business” that is allowed under the bullshit called “free market capitalism”.They think that “free trade” allows them to freely trade women across boundaries.Shame on those bastards who are involved in trafficking women and children to be used in the “business” called “flesh trade”!

    Raj why do you keep using the term “allow” ?😀 I am lucky that no one has to “allow” me to do anything although I am a wife and daughter and mother.🙂
    Also how many women prostitute of their own free will or not is not the issue here. The issue here is about those who do so because they are the ones who I was talking about!! My comment was referring to those women! I read my comment again and i was crystal clear and therefore am really at a loss as to understand why people are going to town with this! I was talking about those who do it of their own free will!! If you are interested in knowing my views on the exploitation of prostitutes you can read my post (I h ave given a link in the reply to Ankur’s comment).

  49. April 30, 2008 10:32 am

    Ruhi,

    No,I did not misunderstand anyone.I perfectly understand what Nita is saying.On the other hand,I keep getting misunderstood because I did not study literature😐

    I competely agree with you that cheerleading is a decent profession and is a very,very difficult job to do in a country like India,given the regressive attitudes of Indian men(and women).

    What I am trying to say is that if Indian men and women want the attitudes of sexually frustrated Indian men to change,they should ask their wives and daughters and sisters to perform the same dances in the same attire for free.They should not bring in foreign women here as they would be shocked by the regressive double standards of Indian men and women.

    Ravi,
    😀

    Vish,

    Nepotism? What is wrong in that? 🙂

  50. aquariius permalink
    April 30, 2008 10:55 am

    Hi Nita, wow… i think this has to be one of your most discussed & commented upon posts!🙂

    my 2 cents – what is the big deal about some ladies cheerleading in “skimpy” clothes… it is a job that they are being paid to do, its entertaining and i think most people (men and women) enjoy the vibrancy their acts bring. there is nothing crude or vulgar about it.

    the ipl is also the right platform for such an act to be introduced as the whole concept of the tournament is super fast lively cricket with great doses of colour and razzmatazz.

    as for the copious amounts of flesh on show, well all i can say is the quicker we get used to it, the lesser the pain🙂

    have a great day…
    aquii

  51. April 30, 2008 12:35 pm

    Wow Nita! You beat me to the punch with this one. I am working on a post on this myself [and was wondering last week why Nita hadn’t written about it yet😉 ] And my thoughts are so similar to yours — especially the show-more-and-get -them-used-to-it part — my post isn’t going to look much different🙂

    The discussion here is awesome, spirited and encouraging🙂

    Having said that, I do agree with some of the comments here about the purpose of cheerleaders on the field — cheerleading as a sport is athletic and entertaining. I love it and like you, I have watched movies on cheer squads. But, for some reason, that doesn’t seem to be reflected on the field — the male cheerleaders are missing, the clothes get shorter, the cleavages appear. It’s the same in the U.S., as far as I have seen.
    I am not judging them, but I will not go as far as saying that we should just admire the athleticism. The sexy clothes have a purpose — to attract the male eyeballs and keep the mostly-male crowd excited.

    Now, the point is, does that make it okay for people to misbehave? NO! But the comments are going to come, since our men are not used to seeing their women this way (whether that’s a good thing or not is another matter).
    And the upholders of law — who we want to ensure that men stay their course — are products of the same society we are part of.
    Who trains them to think differently? Who sensitizes them towards such issues? Do we have such training programs in place?

    I think the real test will come when India cheerleaders become a reality and they wear similar uniforms. How that goes down with Indian men is something I’m really eager to see.
    Change works best organically. Once the men realize that “their” women are okay being this way, they’ll come around to it.

    That’s the point and also relates to what @ Raj says — that we have double standards about who we are ready to see in those uniforms.
    Also, I think the point @ Raj is trying to make with his woman-ruffle-babies-without-permission argument is essentially about space and limits — men make passes at women in the West too. A good cleavage show is likely to attract a comment or two here as well.

    But the difference is that a sexily dressed woman is NOT an automatic invitation to be mauled or laid, and most men here seem to respect that line.

    This kind of discretion takes time to develop. India is too complex for change to happen homogeneously and concurrently in all parts of society. We have to keep at it.

    On a different note, there is also an inherent cultural defense mechanism working here, I think — why do we need American cheering in cricket? For a cricket-crazy nation, isn’t cricket exciting enough?

    I feel this is a passing phase. But it makes for interesting discussion!

    Thanks, Nita🙂

  52. April 30, 2008 12:41 pm

    It is ridiculous to cover up cheerleaders. Either we allow them to perform as they do in other parts of the world, or don’t invite them at all. The whole controversy over their dressing and the eve-teasing that the cheerleaders having to face in India are leaving a bad impression on India society. Those who oppose cheerleaders and compare them with bar dancers do not know that Cheerleading itself is considered as a sport in USA. The wiki page says,

    Cheerleading is a sport that uses organized routines made from elements of some tumbling, dance, jumps and stunting to direct the event’s spectators to cheer on sports teams at games and matches and/or compete at cheerleading competitions. The athlete involved is called a cheerleader.

    I think India (even in the so-called urban-metro towns) is not yet ready to accept cheerleading and we better leave those cheerleaders alone.

  53. April 30, 2008 1:09 pm

    I am so confused about in which things we are not ready yet. We can send 10 satellites in space together but we can not have enough vaccines (or have expired vaccines which led children to die) for our children yet..

  54. April 30, 2008 4:32 pm

    Aquarius, couldn’t agree with you more! One should look at the issue pragmatically.

    Snigdha, the only reason I didn’t write about it earlier is because I was away. But I was following it on the news.🙂 And I will look forward to your post. And yeah, interesting discussion isn’t it! I feel I am learning so much about people and my fellow Indians because of this blog. There is no way I could have met such a diverse bunch in my real life.
    About the point of double standards, I find it difficult to relate the double standards to this particular issue. As far as I see most people equate the cheer leaders with bar dancers and therefore there is no way they are going to like it if their near and dear ones do it. As for the minority who feels there is nothing wrong with cheerleaders, I am not sure that they would object if their near and dear ones become cheerleaders. For example, Prakash Padukone’s daughter has joined Bollywood and the way she was brought up (she says) there was never any pressure on her to do sports. I am sure if Shah Rukh daughter or Vijay Mallya daughter decide to become cheerleaders (which anyway is not a long term career) niether SRK or Mallya will stop them or even hate it. They will bring up their families in a liberal atmosphere. In any case this is a purely theoritical discussion as we have no idea as to how they will react if their daughters want to become cheerleaders. But I feel we should give them the benefit of the doubt and not assume that they will hate it if they kids become cheerleaders. But why talk just about them. I was brought up in a middle class army background and the first thing I learnt from my dad was freedom of thought and action. I could have become anything I wanted, my parents gave me complete freedom. In fact even my mom was very particular about it. She comes from a very traditional old family where education was given great importance but at 18 she wanted to become an airhostess but her parents refused permission. Well, if I had wanted to become an air hostess my parents would never have stopped me. Its just that from childhood I have been a writer and right from the age of 8 wanted to become one. There was no question of anyone ever forcing me to do anything.
    About the other aspect, I agree with you that it is going to take a long time for men here to understand that a sexily clad girl is not inviting lewd remarks. I think this is an extremely important issue in our country as it has something to do with a woman’s daily life. Heck, so many times I have felt like wearing shorts and going to buy vegetables as its so warm, but I have never done it. Which brings me to Ruhi’s point…I applaud those who dress according to their own wishes, I absolutely and totally admire those girls who have the guts to wear what they want. I admire them because I am a coward and I can’t.

    Jo, ridiculous isn’t it! Its sad that people have no idea that cheerleading is a perfectly respectable sport. And there is no evil done if they want to look attractive and sexy either.
    Our Indian society is such that any woman who looks attractive and sexy (even if she is fully clothed) becomes a target for lewd remarks.

    Kartik, I think we have good scientists but poor politicians. Thats the problem.

  55. April 30, 2008 6:17 pm

    @ Nita “Heck, so many times I have felt like wearing shorts and going to buy vegetables as its so warm, but I have never done it.”

    Here in Florida and throughout the south, we where shorts year round. My wife never wears pants unless it gets cold. She alos doesn’t ever wear a dress or skirt, shorts only. Women who work wear slacks and skirts, but on the weekends most wear shorts as well.

  56. April 30, 2008 6:18 pm

    “wear” shorts. If I could spell….🙄

  57. Ravi permalink
    April 30, 2008 6:32 pm

    Ruhi

    //Will anyone even be interested if men do the same thing?//

    LMAO….I would definitely forget all the things I have learned so far if I see a male cheerleader wearing skimpy clothes and cheerin the crowds.

  58. Ravi permalink
    April 30, 2008 6:38 pm

    Jo

    I wonder do we have any urban/metros in india? Majority of people who claim themselves they are cool and livin a life of a mumbaikar whatever it is are not prepared and just not ready to accept really cool things like cheerleaders cheerin the public.

  59. Ravi permalink
    April 30, 2008 7:04 pm

    Raj

    I totally agree that we(indian men and women) have double standards.

    Guys

    Lets face the reality. We don’t have legalized access to pron, having sex before marriage is a sin, guy/girl remainin as virgins even if they r in their 30’s and most shocking thing is that their parents appreciate it. Who are we fooling? I think we are just fooling ourselves by quoting culture and tradition and living a life that is totally weird. There is nothin wrong if someone celibates on their wish but you can’t just force each and every kid to practice it against their wish.

    we have a history in which sex education popped up in the form of kamasutra at a time no one else on earth didn’t even know cultivation. I bet there were no moral police at that time. I m really sorry for all the people who are sufferin in this way.

    Basically indian women are not as beautiful as women in US/Europe/South america or even in asia. Even chinese women are considered hot as asian chicks. Indian women never got that recognition besides being dressed peculiar and wearing ornaments. But our women would never accept this. I m not doubtin the role indian women play as wife/mother and sister. They have already reached the heights of everest. Indian kids are blessed with good mothers. But we have few beautiful indian women whereas all indian men have same urges. I think its the imbalance thats provokin men do wrong things.So people who are WORRIED about the culture and shit please try to level this imbalance. If we have beautiful men and women in proportion then we wont have any problems or atleast make all the NOT-SO-GOOD-LOOKING people slim and beautiful. Im sure that will definitely work because recently an article in “science” said soon there will be only two races in this around the world 1. fat and ugly and 2. slim and beautiful. This topic comes under new evolution of mankind. Well It may not seem practical to most of you guys but it is what it is…..

  60. May 1, 2008 6:07 am

    Nita,

    Aha! Now I see where the misunderstanding regarding double-standards is coming from.
    The men (fathers, brothers, whoever) I was referring to does not include hi-fliers like the Mallyas or the Khans. I was referring to the regular guys who turned up at the event to gawk at the girls: I’m sure not all of them passed lewd remarks and quite a few of them turned out at the stadiums hoping for some skin-show. I doubt they’d want their sisters or GFs or daughters to dress (DRESS) similarly. [I think the cheers and dancing were not the problem — the clothes were.]

    As for @Ravi:

    Your rant about no-so-good-looking/fat/ugly/badly dressed Indian women — I don’t even know where to start! There’s an imbalance between ugly Indian women and hot Indian men with urges? Have the Indian men taken a good look at themselves in the mirror? What are you saying, brother?

    I am tongue-tied by your comment but I hope there are Indian men who think differently ….
    Or maybe I misread your comment (I certainly do hope so).

    Nita, what say you?

  61. Captain Sharks permalink
    May 1, 2008 11:28 am

    i believ the real cause behind all these is the chauvinistic stupid mentality of most of d guys (even educated people) towards women……to give all shit reasons like d girl herself is inviting vulgar comments bcoz she is wearing so so clothes or acting like a ***** r totally absurd,d main reason is they only need a reason….it is d stupid attitude of these people which sux completely…..no one has d right to target like this to neone,not even to a prostitute……

    Ravi,if indian men r virgin till 25,26…then obviously it wud be same with women too right,otherwise who r women sleeping with ? then how come all these molestations r only from one side ?all these r simply bullshit reasons,d main cause behind all these menace is d fucking mentality……indian women r not beautiful,as if these things happen only in india,moreover who said d men r something like god looking ??

  62. Captain Sharks permalink
    May 1, 2008 11:41 am

    hey! where d hell is my comment gone ???

    well it had slipped into moderation and now its visible to everyone.🙂 – Nita.

  63. May 1, 2008 4:14 pm

    Snigdha,

    Thanks for understanding what I was trying to say.Indians(and others from the East) do not realise that Eastern culture is full of shameless double standards.

    Indian women are worried about men staring at them if they wear skimpy clothes but will not hesitate to ruffle the hair of a child or pinch the cheek of a baby! At least the women can express themselves.Who will speak up for the child whose private space has been violated? Certainly not the parents of the child who only seem delighted that a stranger has pinched the chubby cheek of their baby.In the West,parents tend to view people with suspicion if they get too close to their babies or children.

    That is the difference between Eastern culture and Western culture.In the East,people are happy if they get their rights,but the same persons will never hesitate to violate the rights of others.If someone questions those attitudes,people defend this stupid “culture” by saying that this is the “reality” of the East.As if one should not attempt to change the shocking “reality”.I see no hope for the East as long as we hang on to this stupid “culture”.Shame on Eastern culture! May Eastern culture(and its despicable double standards) perish!!!

    Ravi,

    I agree and disagree with you.Ofcourse,Indian men and women have double standards.Indian men are sexually repressed.So are the women.I wonder how many women in India have pre-marital sex.But it does not stop with that.The sexual tendency of many women is to have as many children as possible(I apologise to women for saying this,but it is a fact).So when they limit the size of their families,they show their “affection” on the children of other women.There is absolutely nothing wrong in that but women should realise that such behaviour also arises because they have supressed their sexual desire to have more children.

    It is not just the men who are to blame.Women are equally responsible.I would even go one step further and say that women are more responsible.If mothers teach their sons to respect womanhood from a young age,there will be no problems.But they don’t do it because many Indian women hate womanhood.That is why they prefer to have sons.

    I agree that Indian women make great mothers but it is only till their children reach adolescence.Once their children become teens,Indian mothers(and fathers,too) don’t know how to guide them.From an appropriate age,I could talk with my mother about sex in a matter-of-fact and scientific way.She never felt embarassed to talk about sex with me even though she was brought up in a totally different environment.Actually,it was I who felt a bit embarassed to talk with her about sex.But I wonder how many Indian mothers are comfortable talking about sex with their teenaged sons.I don’t think many would talk about sex even with their teenaged daughters! All this is because of the so-called “great Indian culture”.

    I disagree with you about Kamasutra though because it is extremely unfair to women.It seems to treat women less as human beings and more as sexual objects to satisfy the desire of men.A real shame!

    I strongly disagree with you about beautiful women.Every woman is beautiful in her own way and Indian women are as beautiful as any in the world! I think that most Indian women are very feminine and voluptuous which makes them extremely beautiful to my eyes!

    Ofcourse,being so feminine also has its disadvantages because Indian women are not as fit as those in other countries.So what? As long as women are comfortable with their bodies,they are very beautiful! Being slim does not equate to being beautiful,man! I hate to hear that many Indian women have begun to starve themselves to become slim,affecting their own health in the process.Many Indian women also do not realise that excessive make-up and ornamentation does not make them beautiful.A beautiful woman is beautiful not because of her weight or make-up or ornamentation but because of her feminity,her attitude and her self-confidence!

  64. May 2, 2008 7:51 am

    Brian, the advantage of living in a developed country is that I guess, freedom of dress for women. Over here men don’t even realise what we women go through. One cannot dress according to comfort despite the hot weather and despite the fact that our ancestors (and I mean just a couple of generation ago) did so. For example the Maharashtrian saree is flimsy and can be worn like shorts (poor women wear it like that as they like the freedom of movement) and very comfortable but if I wear it it will create shockwaves as it is considered “revealing.” Even if one wears without hitching it up a good part of the ankles are revealed. At one time even well-to-do women wore it but slowly over the years the prudery has taken over and women have to cover their legs completely. Women have internalised this so much that they are used to the tremendous discomfort caused by heavy sarees in sweltering weather and even prefer it (for example like burkha clad women have got used to the discomfort) and many don’t have any idea at all of the freedom that shorts give. Its so sad to see women swimming in sarees and clothes…most women have no guts to wear swimsuits. I personally swim only in every elite clubs where I am sure that the crowd is used to seeing women in swimsuits. My dad always said,”The gol sari (the sarees worn today) has imprisoned Maharashtrian women.” Absolutely true.

    Snigdha, I can’t agree with Ravi but I know why he is saying it.🙂 I know Ravi for some time on this blog (over a year now) and well he has had some unpleasant experiences. I doubt whether he really means what he said. If it was a stranger who said that I would react even more strongly than you!🙂

    Captain Sharks, I agree that men who want to lech just need an excuse. What they are looking for (to tease and harrass) is a pretty girl/woman, not a half-clad one. If a woman is wearing scanty clothes they feel it gives justification for their sick behavior.

    Raj, I agree that Indian women are very beautiful and we don’t need to get obsessed with weight like in the developed countries. Infact I think that women in dev countries are far more fatter than Indian women if one has to talk generally as the whole of India as compared to whole of America!

  65. May 4, 2008 4:52 pm

    Nita,

    I just happened to read some of my comments on this post again today.I have understood what you wrote about cheerleading and prostitution and I think I have clarified my views on the same.

    However,I do think that I have acted in a stupid manner by trying to compare the behaviour of lecherous men with women who are affectionate towards the babies and children of strangers.I don’t know why I even tried to make such a crude and shocking comparison.Ofcourse, I realise that I was trying to compare chalk and cheese.The world definitely can do without lecherous men but it would only be a better place if there are more women who are affectionate towards the children of others.

    Also,I have written a stupid comment that the sexual desire of women is to have as many children as possible.I realise that it could sound very rude and very offensive to women in general and to mothers in particular.I apologise to you,Nita,and to other mothers and women who would have felt offended by those two stupid comments of mine.

    Raj, you are being too hard on yourself. I knew you did not exactly mean what you said, and also sometimes one writes on impulse and regrets it later as it seems wrong. So don’t worry yourself over this, it can happen to anyone. Besides I know you are a person who respects women a lot. It is really very good of you to come to the post and write clarify what you actually meant. Thank you Raj. – Nita.

  66. Neeraja permalink
    May 6, 2008 9:15 pm

    Hi..Am new to this blog and was spellbound by your writings.Great work nita..The guys in general cant accept the truth that gals are equal to them.So, when they wanted gals to be below them, listening to their words, asking their advice and so on.They expect this attitude in family and even in outside world too.When gals wear dress of their liking,the guy will think, how dare, she can do..we should show our power to her and try to threaten her.This is the attitude of normal man.

  67. John permalink
    January 28, 2009 8:51 pm

    @Raj and Vivek,

    I just had to comment. Raj said, and Vivek agreed, that:

    “I never said that the rich men should encourage their wives to earn a living.I just said that if they are willing to pay money to get the cheerleaders to expose their flesh,they should apply the same standards to their wives and daughters and sisters,whether for money or not does not matter.I am just talking about the despicable double standards of men who want to keep their women “chaste” but encourage other women to objectify themselves.”

    The whole problem with your statement is the phrase “their women”. Wives and daughters are not the property of the their husbands and fathers, and are free to wear whatever they want. The cheerleaders wear what their profession demands out of choice (as in, they chose to enter the profession), and the “rich men’s” wives and daughters will once again wear whatever they choose. It is not the “rich men’s” decision what the wives and daughters wear. The only thing the “rich men” can choose is what they themselves wear.

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