Friday, January 05, 2007

Car ride with a sexologist - 2

Two distinct events confuse me.

The first is the flashing of breasts that happen at an event like the Mardi Gras. Apparently men dole out beads for flashing here. And greater the number of beads a woman has, the higher is the recognition and attention. Much of it is done in fun and mirth.

The second event is the flashing of breasts that happens on a TV show like the Jerry Springer show here. Here some members of the audience often flash their breasts at the prime participants in the show. But here it has a different take altogether. Here it is intended to convey insult.

What could be erotic in one scenario could also be insulting in another scenario!

Much of the ideas of eroticism are culturally conditioned ones and that often dictates what parts of the female body should be covered. For the Arabs probably the whole female body is one huge walking erotica. For us Indians, even the shoulder of a lady (even a bra-strap) would be considered erotic. The Europeans have a lesser erotic idea of the breasts compared to the Americans who are relatively more prudish about it. Even a simple anatomical part like the navel assumes erotic significance in various cultures.

Expatriates intuitively respond to this cultural signals. Maybe because of this husbands are often okay with their wives wearing anything she wants in US but not the same in India.

What often surprises me is the depiction of clothing in Indian mythology (atleast the Amar Chitra Katha that i was exposed to :-) and how Indian women's clothing has become more conservative than before. This seems quite different compared to other cultures.

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