Well, my Bad Girls posts have so far gotten very little traffic. Let’s see if I can sprinkle some sex on top and get some eyeballs turning my way!
Years and years ago, before I went to college, I took a 6 week self-defense class. It didn’t turn me into a ninja or anything, but it gave me some common sense knowledge of how to defend myself and a few simple moves. I recommend every woman take one! Not men, WOMEN. Because women are trained to be passive and accepting and not defend themselves and you need a 6 week class to kind of shake you out of that and start you thinking offensively. And also to understand how trusting your instincts and being passive and accepting can sometimes be a good thing. One of the most interesting/important things I learned was that, when you are about to be raped, crying or throwing up might actually be helpful. Interviews with rapists talked about how seeing a woman cry (or throw up) could kill their sex drive and make them unable to perform. It shouldn’t be the only tool in your toolbox, but it can be one of them.
What does this have to do with Bad Girls and sexiness? In Indian film, “good girls” aren’t supposed to enjoy sex. It’s possible to make that sexy, to show a woman being reluctant and won over, but it’s not natural or easy. The natural instinct is what I learned in self-defense class, if a woman is crying or even just visibly unhappy, the sex drive in a man dies. But a Bad Girl, she doesn’t cry. And that’s sexy.
Having sex with a Good Girl just looks like a lot of work. First you have to slooooooooooooooowly wear her down to being willing to accept sex. Then, you have to slooooooooooowly undress her millions of layers, with her fighting you all the way (her mouth says “yes” but her restraining hands say “no”). Then you have to actually have sex, with no clear communication possible! Does she like what you are doing? Your only clue is going to be irrepressible physical response, because she won’t be talking. And I am getting this from the sexy idealized version in movies, I can’t even imagine how difficult it is to break through that reserve in real life, and be sure you actually have consent and not just tolerance, and also manage to learn to enjoy sex with a cringing motionless half-clothed unsmiling woman.
Most films don’t actually show us that sex scene, but we have loads of films that imply it through song. There’s a whole genre of “is that rape? Or flirtation?” song. You know, he grabs her hand, she feigns trying to escape (or is she really trying to escape? Unclear). Or even the female narrative, about “he was so naughty, I ran and he chased me, I tried to escape and he broke my water pitcher”. As a viewer, I have to do this whole mental gymnastics to make it “okay”. Like “maybe she secretly WANTED him to break her water pitcher!”
And then there is the “bad girl”, like a breath of fresh air. She’s out there breaking her own water pitchers. Or, like, offering her water pitcher to you to be broken. And TELLING you that she wants you to break her water pitcher. No mental gymnastics, no mysteries, just clear honest open communication. Nothing sexier than that.
That’s what a lot of “item songs” are. Which is also why the occasional drum beats against “item songs” disturb me. Because I feel like it’s not so much people thinking they objectify women, as thinking they sexualize women. More often than not, the thing that is sexiest about an item song is that it involves a woman going out there and loudly singing “I want sex! I like sex! Let’s have sex!” If that makes people uncomfortable, that says to me that they don’t like thinking about woman enjoying sex, they want to shove them into the “good girl” box where they don’t like it at all.
In India, a “good girl” hates sex until she gets her “first night” over with. And then of course she loves it, because Indian husbands are just that good. The only acceptable “I like sex!” song is one that is in the privacy of your own bedroom, post marriage. More importantly, the only person they want to have sex with is their husband.
The “bad girl” likes sex even without being married, without needing to be in love with you, and without you being the One and Only for the rest of her life. That’s what makes her bad, she has a normal human sex drive. The EVIL of it!!!!
This isn’t totally limited to women. We can turn to the Ramayana to see the big picture of this all. Raavan desired Sita and offered her sex, Ram offered her a marriage for the good of society and abstinance for years at a time. And on the other hand, Raavan’s sister Surekha desired Lakshman, not for marriage but for sexytimes, and he cut off her nose. Good People, male and female, see sex as a continuation of marriage and marriage as a continuation of social duty. Bad People see sex as just sex.
Really, sexiness is just an extension of the biggest Bad thing a woman can do, putting her needs above the greater needs of society. Whether that is disrespecting her parents, pulling off petty crimes, being rude in public, being westernized instead of Indian, it’s all Bad for Society. And the need for sex should always come second to being with the man that your family and society requires you to be with.
Which brings me back to why the Bad Girl is so dang sexy. It’s hard to have sex with a woman who is told that it is a sin to enjoy herself. But it’s also hard to feel sexy when you feel like you are only having sex because it is what society is telling you to do. Having sex with a Bad Girl, or even being attracted to a Bad Girl on the movie screen, is a moment of coloring outside the lines, feeling something just because you feel it and not because the larder social responsibilities demand you feel it. Being attracted to Rekha is rebellion, being attracted to Jaya is just what you are supposed to do.