Who gives Amazon India or the artist the explicit right to design a vulgar and obscene artifact? This particular product, so aggrandising described as a “Tripolar Creative Ashtray”, even going to the ludicrous extent of naming it “Gold Women” is something to ponder over – this is now magnified as a social issue, which brings under its umbrella, the identity and self-respect of a woman! Samrudhi asks hard-hitting questions. A Different Truths exclusive.
This advertisement on the online shopping website Amazon India reminds me of the renowned French Feminist Simone de Bevoir’s The Second Sex where she aptly writes “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” In a society which is steeped in hedonism veiled under the camouflage of so-called “patriarchy”, tradition and culture, depicting a woman with her legs outstretched, showcasing her vagina on an ashtray, violates all civilised notions. Time and again, Amazon India has been in the news for its many such controversial advertisements. But this particular product, so aggrandising described as a “Tripolar Creative Ashtray”, even going to the ludicrous extent of naming it “Gold Women” is something to ponder over – this is now magnified as a social issue, which brings under its umbrella, the identity and self-respect of a woman!
This so-called “creative” (I don’t know why it is called creative when it is nothing more than undisguised lust) design, called a “Table Art Decor” and even as “Fantasy gifts for men” is nothing more than an outrageous disparage against women. It makes me question, why is it always the woman who is depicted as a “showpiece”? In a misogynistic culture, women have been subverted, marked down as victims by men, their body becoming a subject of discussion, art, depiction in diverse designs varying disproportionately across gross ends of the spectrum – from Devi to Dancing Damsel to Bebo and now Golden Woman on an Ashtray – men out there need to realise that she isn’t your plaything that you can turn into different designs to suit your needs, desires or fantasies. What’s even worse is that the so-called “moral” men have become so very double faced that they are the ones, who comment upon women wearing dresses that expose legs (taking into account the recent outrage on Priyanka Chopra’s meet with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi) and yet, they don’t possess even an ounce of guilt in crafting a figure of a naked woman, displayed obscenely on an ashtray!
Who gives Amazon or the artist the explicit right to design such an artifact that is a direct insult, a deliberate defamation, and insult of womanhood? I would like to ask, why don’t you design one that shows a naked man with an erect penis, instead? But then, you won’t do that simply because you play to the public’s whims and fantasies. This just serves to dismantle all your long upheld theories of tradition and morality, reducing your identity to blasphemous perverted minds, defiling a decent social order. This photograph haunts my mind with a few terrifying revelations. With the so-called evolution of man, he is more prone to using the “other sex” in any and every possible means to achieve his narcissistic designs. Cloaked though we are in the folds of civilization, forced to follow certain rules and norms to coexist peacefully, deep down humans (particularly men) are still very much savages, driven by the hunger of the self. This “showpiece” clearly denigrates all idealistic stands, revealing the rapist minded society we have unfortunately become a part of!
To quote Simone de Beauvoir again, “Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female – whenever she behaves as a human being, she is said to imitate the male.” Why have men chained women to the shackles of tradition, trying to rein over her? I wonder, those people who display this ashtray on their bar table, what is the message they want to send! Isn’t it something like, “Come, girl, let’s get into bed”? Indeed, such men are nothing more than patient wolves. Why are women constantly hounded by the majority of the male population that has long since been waging a cold war against the “other sex”, making them unwitting prisoners of this hedonistic culture by sheer coercion?
In a recent book launch that I attended in New Delhi, one of the “male” Guests of Honour described the Bharatiya Nari as a Goddess, someone way different from the Western woman whom he boldly defamed as “a departmental store showcasing her body”. This is a very controversial comment because all women fall under the same banner of “womanhood”. Disrespect for any woman of any culture, race or nationality is but a direct acquisition on me and all the women out there. You have eyes to see – but that doesn’t give men exclusive rights to violate a woman’s privacy, making her an idiom of hedonistic fantasies.
Isn’t it high time to reflect upon such issues that have not only tainted the image and repute of a woman but also put a blot on society’s mindset? Many unanswered questions tickle my brain as again and again this Amazon advertisement flashes in the canvas of my mind’s eye. The Indian Constitution in Article 51-A (e) explicitly states that “It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women”. Isn’t this featured product on Amazon India one such example of a “derogatory” act? You made laws to protect women, and yet the lawmakers themselves have gone on to undress that very woman and display her on the desk! This is grossly inappropriate and that day shall be here very soon when women, collectively, shall assert their individuality, bold enough to claw at and rip apart your masks of idealism and expose the shocking depths of hedonism ingrained in men. Such acts by websites or people, whosoever it may need to be called to question and rebuked, because “justice delayed is justice denied”.
Photos from the internet.
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Samrudhi Dash, hailing from Odisha, is a twenty-six year old writer, with a Masters Degree in English Literature from JNU, New Delhi. Her published works include four poetry anthologies, and her debut novel “Beyond the Horizon” (2017), by AuthorsPress, New Delhi. She has contributed poems and articles in many journals and anthologies of international repute. She believes in a life by design and an equalitarian world order where men and women have a balanced status.