RainbowMan: Sunny Leone and the Power of Being Naked
Harish Iyer doffs his hat to Sunny Leone, who is comfortable about her past of being a porn star
I have always desired to be shot in the nude. As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I had body image issues all my life. I thought I was ugly. I thought my body was disfigured. I thought I looked absurd. My life has been privy to the naked glances of my tormentors. I was shy, timid and every epithet that is a synonym to weak.
As you can see, I have overcome a lot of fears in life. My ultimate goal in life was to overcome this fear of being watched in the nude. I f@#ed up a chance that I had of featuring as myself in the film Amen, directed by my closest friends Deep and Jeet where I had the chance of speaking about and enacting my traumatic experience in the nude. That said, I could never relive the emotions of a traumatised child that I was. The film was a dream come true for me. I had survived my childhood with a staple diet of films, that helped me get into the fantasy world where the weak and the meek would transform their negative energy would be empowered in the end.
I failed in what was a dream come true for me. I couldn’t strip in the film. I was way too body conscious and way too perturbed by the ghosts of my past that I was encountering. Karan Mehra played me in the film to perfection. Days passed, I recovered from the trauma of having my dream realized yet unrealized. It was that time that I had a bad break-up with my then boyfriend. I confided in my friends Deep and Jeet.
I was angry and I was very upset. It was then that my friend Deep asked me if I would like to strip and shoot a picture. He knew me well. It was a vent to my anger that I needed. I was proud of myself and was proud of getting my anger out with the absolute pride of loving my body too well. I put up the picture on Facebook for a few minutes. I felt utmost pride in it.
The point I am trying to make is that nude can be therapeutic. It is always not a bad thing. It could also mean that you accept your body in its form and feel proud of every inch of flesh in your body. Well, that’s what ‘being happy in one’s skin’ means to me. I have not been an exhibitionist. But sometimes, letting yourself loose, irrespective of prejudices and judgments has its own high.
Sometimes feeling pleasure on screen and instigating the feeling of pleasure in voyeurs could give you the feeling of being powerful, or even make you feel philanthropic. I mean, what’s more powerful than ensuring that there is a gush of blood flowing in the right places. It is a perception. If you don’t like it, well, change the channel or break the CD. Don’t preach what I should feel, or what I should see.
Indian women are told to be careful with their bodies. How many times have you heard:
“Hide your hips”,
“Why so red are your lips?”,
“Your bra is peeping,”
“Your boobs are seeping”,
“Your nipple is pointed”,
all judgments anointed.
We just don’t leave women alone. Not just here in india, but women across the world are judged and often misjudged. (and so are men, but that’s another issue) In such a world we have a woman called Sunny Leone.
Sunny Leone, an adult film star, who makes her way from Penthouse to Bigg Boss to the big world of Bollywood. Nothing deterred this woman. She is unashamed of her past. She in fact is happy about it. She is the shining example of what our India should be – all embracing, non judgmental.
Our Bollywood industry also needs to be applauded for not making her “another item number” but giving her roles that have more for her to do rather than just a raunchy scene or two. It will take time for her to bag a role where she is completely draped maybe, but well, we are reaching there. This is the kind of Indian society that we should be proud of. The society that gives women an equal chance for a job and doesn’t make a fuss about the actor’s past, nor makes it look like a magnanimous gesture. This is the India that I would like to grow up in.
I would also like to thank Bhupendra Chaubey for being disgraceful and distasteful in his interview with Sunny Leone. In his longish interview he tried to rub Sunny’s past on her face and tried to humiliate her with his coarse words and uncouth attitude. Thankfully, it worked in favour of Sunny. There was a deluge of people who came out in support of her, Sunny Leone, the actor who was a Penthouse adult star. Thus with his journalistic suicide, Chaubey stirred several good people enough to break their silence and be vocal and unequivocal about their support to Sunny.
And Sunny, for millions of people who are ashamed about their bodies after undergoing incest, rape, acid attacks and cigarette stub marks, you are an inspiration. Your act of embracing your true self and being brazen about it is an inspiration to souls who are taught to feel guilty about their looks or their bodies. You are an inspiration to me. Thank you for being yourself, your naked self, your true self. I love you.
(Harish Iyer is an equal rights activist working for the rights of the LGBT community, women, children and animals.)
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