Features Friday, March 27, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | March 24, 2015 | 06:14 pm IST A bunch of giggling girls say, yes, what’s there to be ashamed of, and they do it sometimes, not often, but sometimes. The girls in this video aren’t talking about having sex. Sex (heterosexual) is still not that low down in the hierarchy of Taboo Topics to Talk About. Probably right at the bottom of the list is female masturbation. From cheesy Hollywood films to even Bollywood films, male masturbation and sexuality are easily discussed, often with machismo, and sometimes with the sly teasing laughter. And in the case of Vicky Donor, with good taste. So when something like the Girls Openly Talk About Masturbation comes along, why is it not entirely a welcome feeling? After all, the YouTube description clearly says that the concept behind the video was "to persuade the mass to change their vision on such issues”, as “Self -Pleasuring activities are not a sin and therefore people must not feel ashamed." Lofty ideals, but the title is titillating and suggestive. The feeling only gets stronger when you see the questions the interviewer asks the girls. "Do you masturbate?" "How often do you masturbate?" "Have you ever been caught doing so?" "How was your experience doing it for the first time?" "What do you do to get excited for it?" Cut to February 2015. Arundhati B Nalukeeti, a social activist and a student in the University of Hyderabad, had posted a picture of a toilet on her Facebook page with a caption reading “Dark..dusty..and dearest... I hide here.. I dream here.. I masturbate here.. Dedicated to all Closet Narcissists...” It was not long before a battery of abusive messages were unleashed upon her. Though Arundhati had been receiving lewd messages soon after she took part in the Kiss of Love campaign, this post only seemed to have aggravated the situation. Strangers flooded her inbox with all kinds of profanity till there came a point when she had enough and uploaded screenshots of the messages on her Facebook page. A day before Arundhati posted the photograph of the lavatory on her social networking account, Youth Ki Awaaz published an article by Nishtha Relan titled “I am a Woman, And I Masturbate. Stop demonizing me for it.” “I realise how big a taboo this (masturbation) topic is. It is considered a much bigger revelation, and a much more demonised act for women than it is for men”, Relan wrote. Relan’s piece was appreciated by many and helped generate a healthy discussion on female sexual desire. And now the "Girls Openly Talk About Masturbation" video has been viewed over 20 lakh times since it was uploaded onto the YouTube channel of Nisheeth TV on March 17. Most answers were in terms of yes-no-sometimes interspersed between giggles, with little more comment than that. The only girl who wasn’t giggling when she spoke about her first time, was cut off mid-sentence as she talks about what she was thinking: “I was scared… I have to do this with my husband”. It would have been interesting to learn more about her fears, it could have given an insight into what a woman might think and feel about masturbating, given that sex is such a taboo in Indian society and even though everybody does it, there is no real collective acceptance of men and women as healthy sexual beings. When women are routinely branded sluts / whores / prostitutes for talking about sexual offences, talking about things like sex and masturbation invites lot more vitriol – see the comments on the page of the video. Watching the video one comes away with little except the fact that some girls in Delhi masturbate and they have no hesitation in talking about it in public. A more nuanced discussion would have been enlightening, and not entertaining as promised by the Category under which the video is classified. Tweet Follow @thenewsminute
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