Yes, you read it right. An ‘ideal’ Indian woman, also known as a sanskari woman, is supposed to be asexual. In other words, they must not ever speak, hear, think or even feel anything which has to do with her sexuality. However, she can be the recipient of a sexual act so that men can be pleased and babies can be born.
That’s a load of bullshit, right? Yes, but it is not so for the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). They seem to actually believe in this. The reasons they cited for the refusing to grant a certificate to a movie called “Lipstick Under My Burkha” suggests this fact. Their letter reads: “The story is lady oriented, their fantasy above life. There are contanious sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of the society.”
For those who don’t know, the film in question deals with four women from different age-groups and different sections of society, their sexuality and sexual fantasies. The Censor Board deems this subject unsuitable for a film. Yes, it’s the same Censor Board which has no problem with films and songs objectifying women, normalising molestation as the wooing of a woman and vulgar comedies dealing with similar subjects about men. To many, this decision was a shocker despite the trend of absurdity that the CBFC usually shows, especially in recent times. However, if you think about this decision, you will realise that it is actually in sync with our society’s viewpoint.
We are a sexually-repressed society. The established norms expect us not to even talk about sex, sexual fantasies being a different matter altogether. In any patriarchal society, men get to express their sexuality more freely and even impose it over their partner. On the other hand, women always have it worse. For them, even acknowledging their sexuality is considered to be almost sinful. The notion that women can want and enjoy sex is not perceived and thought of well in our society. We have derogatory terms for women who do so. In order to protect themselves from such shaming, women bury one of their natural instincts deep within themselves. This gives rise to another big problem – that of consent.
In a society where sex is considered to be a one-way act in which women are merely recipients, it’s hard for people to understand the very concept of consent. Besides, most women think that a sexual act is a duty and not something in which they need to play an equal part. This is the reason why marital rape is not even close to being a serious issue in this country yet.
The Censor Board, due to its very structure, is a figure of authority which takes the society into account in their decision-making. Even though I’m not absolving them of their misogyny and absurdity, they will not change until the society does.
This post was first published here. It has been published on YKA by the author’s permission.