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Swara Bhasker’s Masturbation Scene: Let’s Talk of Female Sexuality

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Swara Bhasker’s masturbation scene from the film Veere Di Wedding has led many unsuspecting viewers to gasp. While the actor is being applauded for pulling off a scene which could have backfired and come out as cringe-worthy, we must also discuss how it is one of those rare scenes which addresses female sexual desires on the Indian silver screen.

Barring a few films like Astitva, Lipstick Under My Burkha, Parched and Fire, the subject of female sexuality and sexual desires remains a seldom touched upon subject in Bollywood. This is perhaps due to the stigma associated with the topic of sex itself in India. On top of that, female sexuality is a mythical creature, which men in our country only seen in international films. For them, Indian women are creatures with zero sexual desires.

Perhaps it is time to take a cue from Bhasker’s scene in the film, to have that conversation.

Societal denial towards the existence of female sexuality

Women in our country are seen as objects meant to fulfil male sexual desires. Our patriarchal society reduces them to being bodies to be used exclusively by husbands to propagate the familial bloodline. Thus, when it comes to the topic of sex, women have a job profile, but not an entitlement to sexual satisfaction. They are to let men fulfil their carnal desires, without expecting ditto from them. Traditional Indian women are expected to be obedient even in bed. They are to endure sex and oblige their partners, and not demand satisfaction.

This is perhaps why Indian men understand sex, but not sensuality. Women are just mediums in this event. So where does fulfilment of their sexual needs stand in this hierarchy? Perhaps the age of sexual awakening has led many women to ask this question.

Men, naturally, are having a difficult time accepting that sex at its foundation, is a mutual interaction.

Women have a hard time having this conversation, even among themselves

It’s not an easy conversation to have, especially behind closed doors in hushed voices, even with close friends or partners. Women have been sexually repressed since so long, that their awakening comes across as wrong or rebellious even to themselves. Do we even deserve to demand sexual satisfaction? Does our sexuality liberate us, or make us slutty or shameless? This hesitation and shame leads down a lonely road of sexual self-discovery, which ridden more with guilt, than ecstasy. One where the definition of pleasure is to be discovered alone and kept to oneself.

Remember that scene from Delhi Belly, where Tashi goes down on his girlfriend? I watched that film in theatre (don’t question my taste in films yet, please). The girl sitting next to me just squealed, “I can’t believe they are showing this in a film!”

This is how uncomfortable women themselves are, with depiction of their own sex lives on the screen.

While men can thump their chests and watch films like Masti, Kya Kool Hain Hum and their equally crass sequels, it suddenly becomes a big deal if women on screen even discuss sex.

The generation X and millennial women are coming out in open to talk about sexuality, at least among themselves. This interaction isn’t just about cracking masturbation jokes or sharing anecdotes about unsatisfactory sexual encounters. It is about everything from consent, to declining desires, to sexual dissatisfaction with long-term partners, and the pain of their needs going unnoticed and untended to.

Which is why we need a steady stream of films which touch on this subject, even as a funny sequence. Bollywood films, even the commercial ones hold the power to generate a conversation and of normalising taboos. If we cannot portray a woman masturbating on screen in 2018 and address that yes, women have needs too! Then when?

Perhaps this one scene will make get partners talking about female sexual desires. Perhaps it will tinker a small bell inside their brains as to how less they know about what women want in bed. Or if they want anything in bed at all. We will take even the prospect of this conversation over living in denial forever, any day.

Photo Credit : YouTube

Also Read : We Need To Stop Defining Gender Fluidity And Sexuality

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.

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