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Friday 18 October 2019
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Amoral indignation


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What’s the brouhaha over a cleavage show all about?

Ranjit Kumar Dash

I am not sure if this should have called for such a serious consideration of the matter by me. It is not about the treaties Narendra Modi and the visiting Chinese premier were signing. It is about something that is quite homophonous with ‘treaties’ and cognate with what the box office was doing at the time – finding fanny. In a word, the leading newspaper of the country had this epiphany over a heroine’s cleavage. Funny.

The observation made in the one-line intro to a photo of the heroine the paper ran, together with the ‘OMG’ prefacing the observation, had the heroine in a flap. Now, look at the ‘W’ in the photo, I thought to myself. Look at the egregious lack of depth to the anatomy in question, I told myself. Have I got a problem too that I, unlike the content editors of the publication, fail to get excited about the “cleavage show”? The paper was doing what it has got used to doing for some time now, say since the mid-90s; and the inanities and publicity featured are not worth any controversy. Not until Deepika, debonair all these years, flew suddenly off her Twitter handle. The sass, the moral indignation she packed into her tweet makes me ask, what is the fuss and outrage all about? Cleavage? Is there much by way of that to blow one’s top or burn one’s bra?

The heated exchange
The heated exchange

Yes, Deepika Padukone, you are a woman. And believably, that does not owe to the seemingly overwhelming fact alone that you have breasts. But natural you have breasts. But, rather unnaturally you have made their meeting point your belated cause célèbre. Women libbers hardly fuss over their breasts any more.

We – most of us from your fan club – indulge our eyes in the lithe you overall, but that is more on account of your dimpled smile and its wattage. As for the twin assets you bring to your serious work in life, do you think anyone really troubles about them? I doubt. Frankly, this is not it. Those mangoes or huddled pair of doves one cannot easily take one’s eyes off when one sees a well-endowed female! And it is perhaps then that cleavage matters, and cleavage carefully exposed might make the owner uppity and (meta-)physically conceited; somewhat justifiably so, providing the female in question is exquisitely bosomy.

You in your moral indignation have snapped, ‘Got a problem?’ What’s your problem, madam? Actually, you were being paid a compliment – agreed, a prurient compliment – for dressing the way the show business has taught you to, for success. Do you not need the male gaze to survive in the world you’ve signed up for? Converging with that world, the media for its part has gathered together the visual terms of reference that are standard fare in a line that buys and sells images of attractive women. Now what ails you and why this sassy, shirty protestation? If you think you are being messed with, you have not understood the terms of reference in the unwritten pact of voyeurism you signed your persona into when you entered the line.

The views expressed by all guest writers are their own.

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