Sherlyn Chopra at playboy.com.
Indian women are renowned as some of the most beautiful in the world, but they still haven’t appeared in Playboy. Until now. Bollywood C-lister Sherlyn Chopra (Twitter) will be the first Indian to appear nude in the softcore glad rag this November (Hollywood Reporter).
Despite being historically and religiously more open about sexuality (the kama sutra, no majore proscriptions in Hinduism), modern India has some major issues treating women honorably. Of G20 economies, India was recently rated the worst place to be a woman, worse even than Saudi Arabia. Crime against women is rising, especially cruelty in the home.
The same voices that are appalled at a woman’s naked body in print are often part of the acquiescence to the casual crime and abuse that takes place, usually at home. I’m not saying posing nude is the answer to India’s social ills, but loosening up a bit might help. Still, I can’t imagine how much trouble Ms. Chopra is going to get if she continues to live in India. That said, however, Indian-origin porn star Sunny Leone has made a pretty successful entry to Bollywood (filming in Sri Lanka also), so perhaps slowly the country is beginning to change.
Perhaps the issues aren’t connected at all. Perhaps that’s just me. I do think a woman’s body is hers to do what she wants with. Within families and relationships that’s obviously negotiated, but on a social level, if she wants to pose naked, that should be totally fine. If a woman wants to wear a miniskirt and walk around a city, also fine. That it’s currently not advisable in India or here is one thing, but the solution isn’t to hide women away.
There’s one school of thought that the world is that way so to keep women safe they must behave a certain way. But that doesn’t work. It just leads to women being abused or dowry killed or girls being aborted in the family structures that are supposed to protect them from the hostile streets.
Personally, I think the solution is more openness and to change the bad parts of the world, not to ask women to simply work around them. Does that have anything to do with an Indian in Playboy? Maybe not. But in my head it’s a good thing.