Friday, September 21, 2007

1.TREND: Is stripping a new form of non-violent protest against oppression?

One could have easily let it pass but the frequency of such occurrences leave you wondering if a trend is beginning to take shape amidst the civilized society. While it is tough to ignore it, the image nevertheless gets itched in your memory. Many may have missed it and rightfully so but the sheer coincidence of similarity between two diametrically opposite events of recent occurrence rattled my mind to take a dig at it.

As skimpy clad models get paid to walk the ramp in Delhi, transport employees in Jammu stripped to their bare essentials for not being paid adequately. Hasn't shedding clothes become a familiar human expression, though people strip for cross purposes. From stripping on the streets of Rajkot (above) to walking with bare minimum at the Lakme show (below), the art of stripping holds distinct currency for its protagonists. It seemingly varies between `catching attention' to `catching the eye'!

While designers bring out their creative best to uncover female skin, stripping as a form of protest has something no less innovative either. It is not a matter of choice for the protesters but the inevitability of being forced to shed clothes. Interestingly, both forms of stripping hog the limelight. Not only do the pictures grab column inches, these take precious air time too, becoming essential part of the media archives to be replayed for scoring better TRP ratings.

Why it doesn't matter to either of the sexes to outsmart other in the art of stripping? They have descended from the same moral high ground anyway, the proverbial Garden of the Eden! The crucial question: is there a psychological switch or a biological trigger that forces people to strip? With some of the most conservative people in ordinary life resorting to such extreme step, one wonders if it is in response to being `driven to the wall'.

Psychiatrists may have to split hair to get down to the psychology of stripping. So, it may be for the sociologists. But biologists have some sense of it as they consider men `left-brained' and `logical' and women `right-brained' and `emotional'. What amazes is the fact that despite using different portions of the brain to arrive at crucial decisions, there is gross similarity in the end result - at least in the matter of stripping. What is seemingly logical for men may indeed be emotional correct for women!

One might argue if stripping in public is worth the analysis. People do resort to stripping to grab attention but it's sociology may provide some interesting insights. It's inherent value lies in it being a non-violent expression against atrocities and violence. The likes of Pamela Anderson strip to stop violence against animals. Hundreds of young Greenpeace strippers braved chilling winds to highlight the impact of global warming on shrinking glaciers.

Does stripping empower the protagonist? I'm beginning to think so, as stripping is used as a medium to convey the message. Be it on the ramp or in the streets, there is a method in the madness of stripping. While it may project creativity and glamour on one extreme, it does reflect courage and defiance on the other. The power of stripping was at show recently during a one-day cricket match in England when youngsters stripping to unveil a brand of bikini had cost India the match!

Without doubt, the female form grabs more attention than men on the streets! Men offer a pathetic display of unruly bodies and there is something eerie about their last piece of cloth too. It is no surprise therefore that an enterprising woman in the UK trains people on the art of stripping. What to wear, how to strip are essential elements of this new art form. It may not be too long before street stripping becomes a gainful engagement. Watch out!

FOLLOW UP

On March 26, 2008, 41-year old Atali villager Indravadan Patel, an employee of a firm in Karjan which had closed last year, stripped down to his underwear in the provident fund office at Akota in Gujarat to protest against the delay in payment of his provident fund dues of Rs 50,000. Patel's claim that a clerk asked for bribe and delayed the release of his fund made him to take the extreme but a peaceful step. The clerk was suspended and the officials promised to settle the matter at the earliest. Does life not imitate art? In Lage Raho Munnabhai, a bollywood film released in 2006, an old man's pension was held up by a clerk under similar circumstances. The hero advises the old man to go to the office and practice Gandhigiri by taking off his clothes and handing them over to the clerk. And the work gets done. The only surprise in the present case is that it worked in Gujarat.

Stripping can get you a lot! Did Madam Carla Bruni, the French First Lady, say this? Your guess is as good as mine!

2 comments:

Vinay said...

Your interest in stripping is as sweet as jalebi. In producing this piece you have out stripped yourself.

Blogger said...

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