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The Importance of Being Topless

Posted by on May 31, 2012
Poonam Pandey

Poonam Pandey

A few days ago I woke up to the nude shot of a model/ aspiring actress in the Bombay Times. The lady in question was a certain Miss Pandey who had offered to strip herself if India won the World Cup. Evidently, she saw in her offer an adequate incentive for our ‘boys’ to bring home the trophy and a more than adequate strategy to gain front-page coverage in the nation’s dailies.

I have not engaged myself with the matter of how her career or stripping schedule has panned out since we won the World Cup but I do know that she has a Twitter account that, in my imagination, must have a huge testosterone driven following.

Two days ago, when KKR finally won the IPL 5 trophy both Mamata didi and Poonam Pandey lost all inhibitions and made this victory their own. While the former ran about playing traffic constable for SRK and his team, Miss Pandey did her bit by shedding her clothes.

What better means to grab eyeballs than the hallowed pages of Bombay Times, a once respectable supplement, that lately is only too willing to idolize publicity seeking non achievers. In the copy accompanying her nude photograph in the paper, Pandey promised that this was just the beginning and more was to be expected. She then went a step further to inform the uninitiated reader (if any), that she keeps her followers on Twitter charged by sharing her photographs from her bedroom and her bathroom at regular intervals. Well done ‘India’s leading daily’ for throwing such crucial information at us first thing in the morning.

Which brings me to the essential question here as a parent and a reader – just how irresponsible has our media become? A few months ago it was porn star Sunny Leone who hogged the headlines, then a topless Rozlyn for Dhoni and now a nude Pandey for the national sport.

As a society, it is one thing to be permissive but quite another to glorify career options of this nature. Now to add to the list of artist, singer, designer, doctor, writer…there are also choices like porn star and stripper available to our children. About time the media exercised its discretion. In the meanwhile, I am considering discontinuing my newspaper subscriptions until my kids

reach voting age.

11 Responses to The Importance of Being Topless

  1. Penny Kontakos

    I come from a society where from one hand people like my mom raised me to wear dresses below the knee and avoid any kinds of pants as she was an orthodox christian fanatic where we had to learn to be meek and mild and on the other hand go to the Greek cinema where we would watch stark naked women on the black and white screen and my parents calling it art though in those days it was forbidden anything like that in English cinemas, as Australia was once a very conservative country. Also, my parents would buy the weekly Romanzo straight from Greece and my parents would show off our beautiful naked statues stressing how old and famous they were and we should be proud of them. I never wore a bikini in my life and felt self conscious once when my friend gave me a spare when we went to the beach. What a cultural shock it was when I went to Greece and found men changing into their bathers on the beach and my little daughter watching and laughing. Other women were topless and the worst were the old ladies laying on the rocks in the nude reminding me of sea lions. I gave up wondering what is correct and what isn’t. I taught my kids to decide for themselves if what they wore was cool on them and I never had a problem with mine, and even though my daughter loves wearing sexy clothes, she never showed anything which I considered indecent, and my son is very shy so he would never wear the small bathers like my husband but the long colourful baggy ones which remind me of American surfers.

    I agree with you at least not to bring to your doorstep media which offends what you believe in, but remember to always be there for your kids when they want to ask you why people do what they do and wear or not wear on their bodies which they find strange, and it really is hard to be a mom in today’s world. I remember my mum saying as a kid, “pray you do not become beautiful as men will use you and throw you away and you will suffer through life, but be plain and simple so the man who goes out with you only goes for the qualities you have inside you which is everlasting”. I think this was extreme thinking but it was her way of warning me about life.

    I personally never subscribed in newspapers or magazines unless notable ones like the Times as to me most are gossip mongers trying to sell as much as they could without caring its quality or how they slander people’s lives. My home is filled with books about Religions of the World, Encyclopaedia set, Politics and Sociology, Animal Kingdom, Fables and children’s story books as we all have different tastes. Now about people selling themselves so as to become popular, nothing is new in this, many famous actresses have done this but I do not envy them as they are truly lonely people, one such example was the great Marilyn Monroe who had nude shots taken from 1949.

    I feel very fortunate indeed to live at this age where I have Twitter on my mobile where I can receive breaking news and entertainment from around the world with those I regard worthy to follow such as the Telegraph, the local Metro, MSN entertainment and from the young who I find so loving and willing to teach me about technology which is ever changing and the cultures of their countries. Most of all, I have come to know Amitabh Bachchan who is not only a great actor but a scholar who has so much knowledge to offer which brings food for thought every night in his blog. The most recent discovery is you my dear, with your delightful blog which is so refreshing and thought provoking.

    Bless you
    Penny Aunty

    • shunalishroff

      You write so well. I took my time to read your post and realized that your posts read like pages from a book. A book full of wisdom and insights about a life well lived. Greeks really are so much like Indians, you were right. Thank you for finding the time to read my blog and sharing these montages of your life with me and my readers.
      regards,
      Shunali

  2. SimiG

    Excellent article Shunali. You are taking a stand to inscribe what millions do often think about…
    But sadly, those thoughts are fleeting and buried quickly…as they get on with their lives. Keep writing in this vein.

    • shunalishroff

      Thank you Sims. I wonder whose advice it was that I took before penning down thoughts of this nature 😉
      I have many thoughts in a day and I feel like carrying a notebook around lately, as when it comes down penning them later at night I sometimes go blank.

  3. kiranmanral

    Absolutely. I fumed and frothed about this on twitter and was told I was being ultra conservative and old fashioned and no nipple was seen, and no verboten body bits. Errm. I’ll stay conservative and old fashioned. I’d like my kid to see porn when he comes of age. Eight is still a bit young for him to see nude pics in the newspaper.

    • shunalishroff

      I have had some people write to me on Twitter that media cannot and must not be blamed and I should raise my kids with the right values. AS IF!

  4. Rohit Patankar

    Well Done Shunali. millions of Indians must be thinking on this terms. on one side we are saying that kids are being influenced by Bollywood, time to say kids are influenced by Print media. if this continues, it wont be too long when our small girls will start posing like poonam and Roslyn and make our life miserable.
    Thanks to media, Ms poonam and Roslyn both became more popular and i bet today’s modern kids with modern apps at hand, must already be searching these too girls online day in n out. As parent, everyone wishes this will stop soon and shading clothes for victory will be history.

    Thanks once again Shunali. Catch me on Twitter @rohitpatankar30

    • shunalishroff

      I think the media is raising monsters. The girls are not to blame as much as the media. Media is supposed to be the reflection of the society we live in and if this is the society we are living in then it is going to be a tough job raising kids here. Roslyn and Poonam are only emblematic of a much greater malaise that afflicts our society.

  5. Soni Aggarwal

    As someone who owns a PR Company, I have to say this genre of woman is making me re think placements for my own clients ! Some magazines are going the same route as well ! Its all quite sick actually !

  6. shunalishroff

    Sick is not the word. Do these people don’t have parents? What gives?
    We are suddenly so influenced by the West which is a society built on little value and only traces of culture that it is worrisome and appalling.

  7. Kanchan Wadi

    Really enjoyed reading your blog, read some of the entries today for the first time. Way to go….i’m sure you’ll write a best seller soon!

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