Is Nudity Gender-Biased? Where is The Outrage?

Ranveer Singh New Viral Photo
Nudity is a complex domain when it comes to our country. It is accepted in divine feminine form in temples, in ancient architecture, and holy naked men in annual melas are talked about. But when it comes to women who walk around showing bare skin, it is unacceptable. While traditionally our attires allow for ventilation, there is always a premium on dressing modestly. So much so that the censor board comes down with a heavy hand on anything which is linked to the female body and nudity. Since last night the internet is only talking about one person for baring it all. While the internet is busy talking about how bold it is, won’t it, if the genders are reversed, outrage many? 

Yes, you guessed it right, I am talking about Ranveer Singh who has bared it all for a magazine and can be seen posing naked on a Turkish rug all over the internet. Fans’ verdict largely has been that it is an aesthetic tribute to Burt Reynolds. For the uninitiated, the American actor posed nude for the first ever male centrefold of Cosmopolitan in 1972. But is our Twitterati really so evolved or do we smell of double standard?

Why is it only obscene when women show skin?

Remember the time around the release of Padmavaat? When after renaming Padmavati as ‘Padmavaat’ Deepika Padukone’s midriff was covered through VFX in the song “Ghoomar”? It was too indecent for a Rajput queen to dance and show her midriff. Remember Kiara Advani’s leaf photo controversy? The actor later spoke about how she had to turn off her DMs due to the suggestive messages. She said in an interview while she enjoyed the memes she “switched off some of my DM notifications because I did get a lot of those suggestive ones. Especially after the leaf picture went up. I was like okay we can’t do this right now.”

Suggested Reading: Are We Witnessing The Peak Of Male Objectification In Bollywood?

Other actors have done it too

The other male actor who comes to mind is Milind Soman, who broke the internet back in 2020 for a nude birthday run on a beach in Goa, the internet didn’t waste any time in lauding him for his feat. However, around the same time controversy’s favourite child Poonam Pandey was booked for an obscene shoot on government property. Yes, Soman too got booked, but if the reaction time in Pandey and Soman’s case is any indication then it was an afterthought for the latter. 

Women's nudity, poonam pandey nudity, poonam pandey arrest, poonam pandey obscene

PC: Asianet + Instagram

Yes, several other male actors have preceded Singh in his current “feat” which the internet can’t stop celebrating. Aamir Khan in PK and recently Vijay Deverakonda for Liger are fresh in our memories. But why is it that a man’s bare body does not bother us in the same way as a scantly clad woman does? Why does a woman undressing offends our morality and traditional values but a man doing so is perceived as bold or even as art? 

Ranveer Singh New Viral Photo and Perception of Nudity

I don’t have a bone to pick with Ranveer Singh or the magazine but why is it that our sense of morality is gender-biased? Why are we so quick to glorify the male body and objectify the female body? Why is there no equilibrium when it comes to responding to nudity? Why is it that Poonam Pandey going topless is demanding attention to celebrate Indian Men’s Cricket Team’s win, but it is ‘maddening love for the game’ when Sudhir Kumar Choudhary, the ardent Sachin Tendulkar fan, turns up in his painted torso?

Female nudity has been always looked at as erotic and the male body as aesthetic. Consuming female nudity as porn behind the anonymity of the internet is normalised but the cleavage is morally corrupting in public view. Isn’t there a need for equilibrium then? The need is to introspect what controls the narrative and creates such a culture. As long as we are not able to clear our minds of the years of conditioning that even controls women’s minds and how they look at their own bodies the equilibrium is never going to be achieved.

The views expressed are the author’s own.