Friday, August 3, 2012

with dreams of sitars and incense dancing in the air

I've been reading more than a few stories recently about a controversy surrounding Bollywood actress Sherlyn Chopra's choice to model nude for Playboy.  At least part of the buzz in newspapers and the blogosphere is simply because she's the very first woman from India to to get naked for Hugh Hefner's magazine.

The most surprising thing about this story, at least from my perspective, is simply that there are any firsts (within the realm of good taste) left to be had anywhere for Playboy.  After all, the magazine's been around since the mid 1950's, meaning it will celebrate a 60th birthday sometime next year.  With more than 700 issues in it's history, I find it at least a little bit surprising that there are any ethnic groups not represented by a Playboy pictorial spread.
"I have become the first Indian to pose naked for Playboy, and nobody can take away that achievement from me."
   ~ Sherlyn Chopra
"At a time when innocent women across the nation from Gujarat to Guwahati have been subjected to sexual abuse and humiliation, one wonders if Sherlyn Chopra’s pictures wound a woman’s integrity. Isn’t it an irony that on the one side, as common women strive hard to safeguard their modesty, the Sherlyn Chopras encourage voyeurism?"
   ~ Gayatri Sankar

"My sister is proud of my achievement. I haven't told anything to my mother, but I think I will visit her and tell her that she has to accept me the way I am."
   ~ Sherlyn Chopra
Sherlyn Chopra made the decision to pose nude in Playboy despite some pretty tricky opposition. First, Playboy is illegal in India, where Chopra works and lives (you can access it on the internet). Second, as an old friend put it on Facebook last night, Chopra is now seen to be diminishing a belief about “Indian women” globally–that they are modest and pure.
   ~ Samhita (via Feministing)

"It is not an easy task to be nude in front of the camera and look good at the same time."
   ~ Sherlyn Chopra
"She considers herself the liberated Indian woman, who is not shy to flaunt her body, thoughts and sexuality. She speaks as she thinks."
   ~ Divya Arya (via Hindustantimes)

"I had fun meeting him and his girlfriends. I am thinking of making him my idol because he lives his life on his terms and conditions. I also live my life on my terms and conditions."   ~ Sherlyn Chopra (on Hugh Hefner)
"I am now forced into an awkward position where I have to defend Chopra’s decision to pose nude for Playboy in the face of misogynist ideas about women’s purity and modesty as it relates to Indian nationalism. Critique the retrograde and sexist ideas about sexuality that give a magazine like Playboy so much capital, fine. But not the women that choose to do it. Conflating a woman’s sexual expression with the purity or modesty of her culture is one of the roots of sexism and patriarchy."
   ~ Samhita (via Feministing)


  1. Never heard of her, but yeah, she's hot.

    1. I'd never heard of her before all the hype about being the first Indian woman to pose nude for Playboy, but you are right, she is hot!


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