Forty-Something Years in Ninaland

The Color Pink

Mar
18

I just watched the Indian movie

Pink with my parents. It was not what I expected in an Indian movie. It was not Bollywood style at all. There was no love story and there were no songs that the actors sang. Yet it was still an intense, provocative and important film.

It changed my entire perspective of India and Indians. My parents often threaten to move to India, especially when Trump makes a foul move towards immigrants. They always ask if I would come with them. No, I say. Hell no.

I’m a  single, childless, 41-year-old woman with an arts degree. It’s hard for me to go to Indian parties to face Uncles and Aunties with their loathing eyes: To them, I am an unmarried, unprofessional woman who openly drinks and probably sleeps around. India is full of these condescending people, let’s be honest. How could I live there?

For the record I don’t “sleep around” and what is upsetting about this fact is that I have the need to validate my dignity by stating it. If I did “sleep around” I would still be worthy of dignity. The movie Pink illustrates this fact beautifully. The movie promotes the notion that women should be respected regardless of their sexual practices or history.

The main character in the film states that she lost her virginity at the age of 19, that is earlier than I lost mine. I thought Indian people were backwards and I was so very modern. I’m a prude compared to many of the women in India. However what the film portrays is that Indian society is not moving as fast as Indian women. Many men, and much of Indian society, still thinks that women who have sexual relations before marriage and those who engage in drinking and dating, are “loose.” In our language, we would call them sluts, whores if we want to be really dirty.

I once called an Indian friend of mine a whore, very seriously, as an insult because she “slept around.” Now who is backwards? I think I’m afraid of Indian society because I’m afraid of the awful notions I myself have about women. I have never been one to have many boyfriends or sexual partners, however I still can’t talk to my mom about the ones that I have had.

She doesn’t want to know. Even though she knows. What this silence has taught me is to not flaunt my sexuality, to keep it conservative, to not wear revealing clothes or openly flirt with men I don’t know, or that I know. Publicly writing this very post scares me because adults in the Indian community that I know may be reading this. How dare I openly imply that I have had sex, ever. That there is a chance that their son or daughter had more than one sexual partner.

But what makes everything OK for these aunties and uncles in the Indian community is that most of their children are married. I am not married and sometimes think I never want to get married. Oh my god, I said it. The unthinkable. The only reason I think I may not want to get married is because I think marriage ruins many relationships.

The movie Pink shows us women who are struggling with their single identity, they are not married and are independent. They date, they drink and they go to parties. When one of them is almost sexually assaulted by a man, the woman hits him in the head with a bottle. I don’t want to ruin the story, but this story is a story that many girls can tell you.

Almost every woman, in the entire world, has received unwanted sexual advances at some point in her life. Whether it be from inappropriate people, like teachers, uncles, and bosses, it can also be from the very men they are flirting with and dating.

I have a relative of mine who made sexual advances towards me in my twenties. He to this day says I misunderstood when he came into my bed. It was a “misunderstanding.” I wish I could say his name out loud, shout it out loud. But there are too many complicated people involved and too much time has passed. And I’m too weak.

No woman deserves sexual assault. If she is wearing a bikini in the middle of the street, or wearing nothing at all, she does not deserve to be sexually assaulted. Even if she is your wife. In the movie Pink, the most gratifying scene is the closing statement made by Amitabh Bachchan where he just says “No.” The word no has no other meaning except for no. And when it applies to sexual consent, it is the deal breaker. If anyone says no to someone’s sexual advances, they must stop. Full stop. Period.

The movie made me think that Indians are evolving into believing more in the human rights of women. It made me less judgemental about India and Indians. Maybe I could live there for a time…

You may be wondering why the movie was called Pink. There is speculation that the word Pink in some countries implies “a vagina that is bought with violence” according to the Times of India.

Wow. What a word. Pink.

Pretty in Pink was my favorite movie as a kid. Pink was my favorite color.

I won’t let them ruin that for me. Maybe pink is the new black. I will wear it as a badge of honor. No one will violently buy or steal my sexuality. No. One. Ever.

I hope.

nina

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