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October 01, 2017 Sunday 11:19:35 AM IST

The Sunny Side of Open Voyeurism

Cover Story

Which sun shines on Sunny Leone? On August 18, lakhs of admirers in Kochi swarmed around Sunny Leone, the small-time queen of Bollywood. Roads remained closed for hours and the police had to resort to lathicharge to control the crowd. Nay, it was not a gathering of the lustful lot. Because the youth gathered there rationalized the intention behind their voyeuristic impulses exhibited in the open. They were attracted not by the estrogen boosting sexual appeal of the porn star, but by her sheer humanitarian appeal. This time they were paying tribute to her shift, her shift from “porn promoter” to “philanthropy promoter”. Sunny has adopted a “black” baby girl and she is so generous in mind too, the youth ratified, lauding her for her positive bent of mind. When Sunny shifted her appetite, our youths too shifted the reason behind their appetite for her. They shifted from adoring her body to adoring her generous mind. And they danced with her. What a sublime shift!


So what’s the real nature of this shift? From voyeurs to “open voyeurs” is a big leap indeed. Certain shifts in our disposition come without our awareness. Nobody is to blame. Decades ago sex contents were available only in porn magazines (in blue films too). And those magazines came with an invisible tag of “taboo” attached to them. And nobody dared to read those magazines in the open. Youths chose deserted places like dilapidated old houses, the privacy of their room or toilet to indulge in voyeuristic pleasures catered to by such magazines.



But today, it’s live porn in every youngster’s pocket. You can luxuriate in porn from parliament to any place of privacy. You now have enough privacy to watch porn as you can change the content on the screen within the fraction of a second if you are dotted while indulging in porn-watching. The abundance of freedom to unleash one’s voyeuristic impulses leads to a pleasing open secret or covert understanding that every youth  is a subscriber of porn. And porn is like any other thing you are watching on the screen of your mobile or on television. It is as trivial as an open secret. There is no need to attach any tag of taboo to the act. After all, a taboo is valid as long as it is capable of curbing the act it is attributed to. So voyeurism is not a shameful act. Then why should it be carried out in secret? One can exercise his or her freedom of choice regarding when, how and where one should watch porn. Thus the new millennium with its thrust on technological revolution is leading to the extinction of a group  called voyeurs and giving birth to a new species called “open voyeurs”.


Open voyeurs are special breeds who do not find any connection between socially advocated moral standards and voyeurism itself. They might or might not abide by mandatory requirements to be a civilian of a state especially in matters related to their conduct/attitude towards the opposite sex. Regarding their comprehension of social norms to which they subscribe or adhere to, watching porn or indulging in voyeurism is an act as common as having an ice-cream whenever one feels a “craving” for it. Whether one licks it in the open or not, is not an issue. What we witnessed around Sunny Leone is this new breed of “open voyeurs”. More than one lack of them swarmed around Sunny Leone to proclaim their stance as open voyeurs.



Speaking from a social perspective there is an ever growing tendency to push aside the very frontiers of moral standards in sexual behavior. Inhibitions which guarded the Indian in his social behavior especially in matters related to sex are a thing of the past. The liberty to openly declare one’s stance regarding one’s own sexuality is on the rise. We remember the protest against moral policing orchestrated under the banner of “Kissof Love” in March 2017, where lovers and couples indulged in a passionate open kissing saga at Marine drive, Kochi. And it was the second organized protest against curbing the individual freedom to fall in love openly and express love in the open. During the event, the onlookers, open voyeurs, fed their eyes and minds (and cameras too) with the lascivious expressions wafting from intimate love scenes on the beach.


If Sunny Leone was present in the public kissing drive at Marine Drive what would have happened? Would the males have changed their mind and left their female pairs to swarm around the porn icon to proclaim their solidarity with her landslide shift to a “philanthropy promoter”?

Jeny Raphael

She is a teacher, counselor and a research scholar based at Thrissur, Kerala.

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