The New Sexual Revolution | Celebrating The Spirit Of 70s
Nudity, sex, unisex and feminism have been a hot issue in popular culture lately. Google’s blogger decided to ban NSFW content which was followed by an awkward reversal in policy. Instagram came under criticism for gender biased nude content filtering which resulted in #FreeTheNipple hashtag. Vogue India’s video on women empowerment featuring Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone was met with criticism that was often oblivious to the hypocrisy inherent in within.
Fashion, a staunch reflection of our lifestyle mirrored the rising wave of gender equality and sexual revolution in a myriad of ways. Notions of gender equality, sexuality and beauty of human form were expressed with explicit trends, androgyny and even a protest-march catwalk at Chanel. From Hedi Slimane’s mono-boob dress exposing the nipple to Rick Owen’s taboo busting garments that gave a peek-a-boo of male genitals, the provocative fashion trends are an inherent reference to the rebellious and libertarian 1970s.
Relaxed flare trousers with retro flamboyance embraced by skinny male models with hairless bodies spark a whole new debate about the conventional philosophy of masculinity. The bare-naked female bodies, something sexual but not grotesque indicated the 70s free spirit dealing with sex, rock n roll and empowerment.
Much like 1970s, our society is enduring a significant paradigm shift in social attitudes and behaviours surrounding sexuality and empowerment. Everybody has their own version of freedom and liberty. Some consider marriage to fulfil their earthly human happiness while others merely laugh it off as a form of social and financial bondage. Some still let the church and other religious organizations dictate their personal choices while others claim that matters such as marriage, birth control, sex and adultery are issues that concern the people involved and no one else. Who’s wrong? Nobody. More like the clothes we wear, our choices aren’t a one-size-fit-all. What fits you may not fit another. It is significant that we celebrate the diversity in society, respect an individual’s choice and not compromise on individual freedom to avoid oppression in any form. The ‘choice’ was the very message that Miss. Padukone repeatedly ranted and emphasized in the Vogue India video. But what many read was her articulation of choice to have sex before marriage, outside marriage or to not have sex as an outrageous promotion of adultery. The same people who look up to Hindu mythological figure Draupadi (who has five husbands while her husband had sex outside marriage) were offended and slut-shamed the actress for merely advocating a choice. Even few feminists spoke against the video claiming that it only addressed elite women’s issues. But then, elite women are…. let me guess… women, women who aren’t any devoid of taboo and judgements. Feminism isn’t about setting up a hierarchy to prioritize issues but instead tackle them collectively. It’s definitely not about celebrating a Taylor Swift destroying her ex’s car and criticizing a Meghan Trainor who wouldn’t mind cleaning the dishes for her husband. It’s about assessments that are devoid of gender.
Google run Blogger came under criticism for its decision to ban #NSFW content. One cannot ban content without seriously impacting freedom of speech for everyone. The last people you want to dictate what one can or cannot say on internet are the advertisers who control big ad-based social networks. Google quickly rolled back the idea in wake to the protest against the censorship.
Fashion industry, no stranger to criticism has often carried a burden of guilt and has more importantly taken responsibility when it required. With bold discussions about personal freedom, gender equality, feminism and a heightened LGBT activism gaining momentum, when gender and sexual stereotypes are questioned and dismantled, the fashion industry has stood up to the situation and responded in kind.
Indication of how brands and industries have evolved in order to sync with popular sentiment of the people in an attempt to break away from their mistakes and guilty histories is the victory of individualism and reflection of the rebellious and libertarian spirit of 70s. We’re witnessing the new sexual revolution.
Following are some illustrations I made to celebrate freedom, NSFW, nudity, sex and the spirit of liberating 70s in a psychedelic trippy vibe.