Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Stepford comes to Pune

If Mumbai has it, then Pune wants it too.
Ok, we don’t have stable electricity, orderly traffic, or even a world-famous dabba-delivery network.
And our public transport sucks. But hey, there are more important things! And if Mumbai’s nanga-panga store mannequins are being recalled – we must dump ours too.
Apparently, Mumbai men have been spurred on by lingerie-clad mannequins to commit unspeakable acts against Mumbai women, and we Pune women had better be careful it doesn’t start here too.
Out with the mannequins!
The female mannequins, that is. No bad things will ever happen if the male mannequins stay on, continuing to grace city chaddi-banian store windows with their faux manhood. The most extreme public nuisance any male mannequin could ever have the power to inspire is a wrinkled nose and mild tremor of disgust from a woman whose glance happens, entirely by accident of course, to settle briefly on the slight swelling the male-mannequin sculptor might have indulged his mine-is-bigger-than-yours aesthetic to secretly pad into the underwear.
So, let the fibreglass men stay. They are not a dastardly danger. But the women have got to go!
Besides, we never did like them, did we? There’s something about a female store mannequin that calls to mind the Stepford Wife. Stepford, of course, is that fictional town in America where the men somehow developed the technology to convert their wives into robots. Ahhhh – what a perfect dream! A beautiful woman who scrubs and cleans the home, cooks delectable gourmet food, and drives the children (having skillfully produced one of each kind) to their tennis and taekwondo lessons, an unwrinkled brow and welcoming smile adorning her face all the while. She never, ever, feels angry or disappointed or tired or frustrated or bitter. And at night … ah, night! But alas, ‘decency’ compels me to stay silent on the subject of what transpires at night. Night, of course, is when the mannequins’ charm becomes most active. At night men, driven wild with desire by their shiny plastic skin, their coarse acrylic hair, and certain sharply-pointed body parts (which ‘modesty’ prevents me from naming), will be out lurking with intent to attack real women.
The Mumbai corporator responsible for setting off this chain of events apparently feels that scantily-clad female mannequins are an affront to dignity and are likely to deprave, corrupt, or injure the public morality or morals.
I agree!
Real women have soft, and often slightly swollen, bellies. Real women do not have mathematical proportions. Real women change their facial expressions frequently. Real women often look messy. And real women are frightened of mannequins.
Yes – that’s the truth. In 2009, Journal of Consumer Research published research which showed that a woman’s self-esteem is directly related to the kind of models they are exposed to. The researchers ended their paper by recommending that overweight consumers avoid women’s magazines.
Maybe if the BMC had been in charge, they would have recommended women’s magazines being banned instead. And maybe if those researchers had been in charge, they would have recommended that men inclined to commit crimes against women should be locked up so that they could avoid lingerie-clad store mannequins.
So, let’s not bring our sons up to respect women. Let’s not bring our daughters up to respect themselves. Let’s tell them that they don’t really need to work hard and be sincere – all they need is an MBA from one of our city’s ‘renowned’ institutes, and their lives will be fun forever. In fact, let’s not worry about garbage collection, water harvesting, cleaning up our river, or creating affinity for social justice or a rule of law. Let’s just remove female store mannequins. That should solve all our problems.
first appeared as If Mumbai has it, then neighbour Pune wants it too in Pune Mirror on 4 June 2013