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Dear Ms. Ritu Tawade,

Yesterday when I read that you, a BJP corporator from Ghatkopar in Mumbai, had proposed to ban scantily clad mannequins in lingerie shop windows because they are “indecent" and could lead to “wrong acts" by men, my first reaction was, gosh, you urgently need an invitation to a furious television debate. Quickly followed by a front row seat at a Victoria’s Secret lingerie show. The former so that you could enlighten us a bit about your preposterous suggestion that led Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to pass a proposal banning the display of bikini-clad mannequins in Mumbai. The second, well is tit for tat. You really think inanimate, starved mannequins (as most such mannequins in city markets are, unless you stepped into Palladium) fit into your idea of invoking the Indecent Representation of Women Act? You must be really desperate, lady.

The problem in debating your proposal is that it is difficult to figure out what it is you are opposing? Is your war against two piece bikinis that “pollute today’s generation" as you pointed out or sexy lingerie in general? Or, is there an extended logic that women who consciously choose to reveal their bodies (reflected by these mannequins that you blame) and openly buy lingerie are responsible for men’s “wrong acts"? Do you resent women investing in and revelling in their sexuality?

That’s not my only high-handed worry. The bigger concern is that if you are so dead set against a mannequin, how would you react to a flesh and blood model that actually makes a living out of modeling lingerie for calendars, brochures, print ads and shows? What would you do if Victoria’s Secret came to India—mannequins and all? Would you also be asking for a ban on swimsuit calendars and strip many of our Bollywood heroines of their legacy as former swimsuit models?

By confusing your opportunity (as a female corporator) to curb sexual crimes against women with moral policing you have unwittingly joined the Pramod Muthalik club. Perhaps we should send black bikinis to the BMC?

Other minor banal worries creep up as banal suggestions such as yours often incite. Since you are India’s first ever advocate of the morality of a display window, will you also ask for specially ordered mannequins that have a lowered gaze, that do not have short hair, that do not sit with legs parted, that do not jut out their bodies while showing off a high heeled shoe, that do not stare unflinchingly at their male counterparts?

A “morally corrected" body language for mannequins will probably restore law and order in your scheme of things. It will also keep you busy even as real women in saris, dupattas and burquas continue to get battered and brutalized out on the street.

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