Sex And The Indian Woman: Are We As Liberated As The Media Claims?


Every now and then there comes in the media a period of creative block. There is no news to blow wildly out of proportion, and sales begin to dip.

The tried and tested cure to this is, of course, releasing the results of a sex survey conducted among a few thousand people (or so they claim) which reveals some shocking, scandalous news about how Young India is no longer bound by the diktats of moral guardians.

Of course, when these articles are sandwiched between news of how young professionals in urban “liberated” India were raped and/or killed either while driving home, or by someone known to them, it feels like all this talk about Indian women being far more sexually liberated today than in any other time in recent history is all a bit of a sham. Or is it?

Scene from Zingagi Na Milegi Dobara

While we wouldn’t go so far as to say that women in modern India can dream of the kind of sexual freedom that women in Europe, or the United States, or Australia enjoy, we can safely say that compared to nations in our geographic and economic vicinity, women in India are far more sexually active.

Young women in urban India no longer view sex as something to be used to blackmail their husbands after they’re married. We believe this generation of Indian women is perhaps the first where a considerable number of women have had multiple sexual partners before marriage, and are not socially ostracized for it.

More Indian women are starting to become more vocal about her sexual desires, and in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, are not shying away from experimental, open relationships where both partners enjoy sexual encounters with multiple people outside their relationship.

Even in non-urban India, women are less bashful about viewing men as physical objects to fulfil their desire, even if it is enunciated in little more than a soft sigh on seeing Hritik Roshan’s abs.

If movies are a mirror of society, then films like Deepa Mehta’s Fire, that explored lesbian relationships, and young Bollywood’s open portrayal of sex before marriage as normal and healthy in movies like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, are another notch on the headboard of sexual liberation. They free not only the Indian woman, but also men from the standard of stifling traditional marriages.

Of course, the phenomenon described above is isolated to the more liberal and urban corners of the country, while a large percentage of Indian women still live under oppressive social structures, where lust is seen as a sign of masculinity among men, and yet is an abhorrent emotion for a woman.

Right-wing extremists are the perennial enemies of any form of liberal thinking. A sexually liberated Indian woman frightens most Indian males while others may view such independence as an open invitation. The ridiculous argument about why women who dress provocatively “deserve” to be raped is invoked far more commonly than we would like to believe.

Indian women may have a long way to go before the majority of society views their sexuality as a subset of a far more diverse and complex personality.

But the advances made by women in both, rural India – where attitudes have progressed from being Dark-Age to Late-Medieval – and urban India – where casual sexual encounters and sex buddies are quite common in 20-somethings – give us hope, if nothing else.

We may be little less than a generation away from a time when the sexual voice of Indian women is finally heard above the thunderous roar of Indian male lust.

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One Comment on “Sex And The Indian Woman: Are We As Liberated As The Media Claims?”

  • Dhan wrote on 9 January, 2012, 17:02

    Hello

    While it is true that women in India are yet to be as free as women in say US, Canada or Australia, theere are still elements within that society which pressurise them to behave as per established male norms. Case in point is an articel from a newspaper in Toronto, Canada where a cop advised girls "Not to dress like sluts". http://www.excal.on.ca/news/dont-dress-like-a-slu
    . SO it is a worldwide phenomenon to comment about women's dress even in developed countries

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