A municipal council has mooted a plan to ban mannequins in innerwear. These creatures in clay will have to be clothed in outer- wear, never mind if they do not have their bras and panties on.
Those lifeless figures in bikinis staring at you and me from shop windows tease, taunt and titillate so graphically that we turn into sexual predators, ours groins on fire. That is if the Mumbai’s civic authorities are to be taken seriously!
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation – whose business, strictly speaking, is to look after the city’s civic affairs, has now begun to fancy itself as the keeper of morals. It wants to keep men’s libido under check, and women safe from the prowling male of the human species. In short, the Corporation has become synonymous with chastity belt, only that it has, this time, been wrapped around a man’s head.
The Corporation has mooted a plan to ban mannequins in innerwear. These creatures in clay will have to be clothed in outer- wear, never mind if they do not have their bras and panties on. It is felt that men get sexually aroused when they pass by a shop window displaying skimpily clad mannequins, and could be driven to committing rapes.
Corporator Ritu Tawade said such mannequins in lingerie could “affect the mindset of men” and provoke them to commit “wrong acts”. Although, the Corporation is yet to clear Tawade’s proposal, she has been acting on her own.
She is said to have forced some shopkeepers in her area at Ghatkopar to change their display. “One must think of the awkwardness a woman will feel standing in front of such a mannequin,” Tawade told the Indian Express. She also believes that these scantily-clad mannequins are indecent and therefore “likely to deprave, corrupt or injure the public morality or morals”.
Obviously, Tawade seems to be wide off the mark. For, if she presumes that Indian men can be aroused by these often un-sexy looking mannequins, they must then be completely loony.
And Tawade does not think that men in briefs can excite a woman. She has not mooted any step to ban male mannequins in their jocks!
Strangely, administrations in India seem to be barking up the wrong tree. Does the Mumbai Corporation seriously think that banning lingerie-clad mannequins can stop sexual crimes against women? At best, the proposal appears like the desperate cry of a government that has not been able to adequately strengthen its policing to prevent crimes such as rape.
And by playing the moral police – this time to keep men’s mind sexually cleansed – the Corporation is only following in the footsteps of radical political organisations in especially Maharashtra (capital city Mumbai) and Karnataka (capital, Bangalore) that stop girls and boys from getting together, beat up college girls when they are seen in a pub…
In Chennai, one engineering college goes to great length to stops its boys and girls from even talking to each other. They are carted in separate college buses, and asked to sit separately in classrooms and even use different staircases!
Yet, a rape is committed every minute somewhere in India, and when that occurs, the woman is not only asked the most embarrassingly intimate questions by crude cops, but also castigated as being of loose morals.
If this is not bad enough, the Mumbai Corporation now plans to dress up mannequins to banish sex between the male ears.
Gautaman Bhaskaran is India Editor of FMT, and Chennai-based author, columnist and movie critic. He may be emailed at [email protected]