Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Nerd, the Slut, and the Stud


-- Brian Mendonça




                
At a venue in Goa, various colleges were presenting models to strut the ramp for a fashion show as part of a youth fest. One college chose to highlight 3 avatars which – the announcer burbled – were the reigning icons of the youth.  The three which smoked the stage were the nerd, the slut and the stud.
The nerd was castigated for being bookish, poring over his tomes. The slut -- a shapely girl in a mini, contorting her attributes for full effect – sashayed to aspersions about her character. And the stud – there were two of them– strutted around for fair game, ready to spill their seed. If the purpose of education is to ennoble, it seemed to be having the opposite effect.
The nerd refers to a person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious.* A slut is a slovenly or promiscuous woman. What was hard to understand, was that the girl was enjoying her role. Seeking to please, she slithered her way across the stage and basked in the cynosure of all eyes. A stud is a sexually active or virile young man. As they took position, both studs glanced at the slut who was posing by the side of the nerd -- but looked at the audience for bigger game.   
So this was the matrix which operated among some of our youth.  This was their world -- with sex as the great equalizer –and a human being reduced to a piece of meat. If intimacy was there for the taking, why should anyone ask for a by-your-leave? If what was forbidden was ready and available, why have qualms of conscience? If the purpose of an education – studying – was held up to ridicule, why study?
The implications of this attitude spell national disaster since India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25. In 2020 the average age of an Indian is estimated to be 29 years (2011 estimates).
Later on, in a question round, a contestant was asked ‘Who is responsible for rape  of a girl – society, the government, or the girl?’ His answer was ‘Everyone – but the girl.’ So, on the one hand, it’s cool for teens to be hot, on the other hand society is also responsible for a heinous act.
Teens are tweens. They are neither children nor adults. As such, many don’t feel culpable or responsible for or to society. When a human being is viewed as an object and commodified, the self loses its sanctity.
It is the discourse – communication of thought by words -- of society which assigns value for an act. Sadly, just as 2013 rolled in, the incident spawned a joke. A fact-finding team is sent to Goa. ‘Are there any molestations in Goa?’ the team asks. The reply is, ‘We have Margao station, Karmali station, Pernem station, no molestation.’ That naivete is history now. So is our attitude to women.
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 *Most meanings from Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 11th edition. Article published in Gomantak Times Weekender (Panjim, Goa), Sunday 17 February, 2013. Pix source: Thisnext

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