Can a woman ever erase her past?

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By Sabrina Almeida

Mississauga, January 29 (CINEWS): Just ask Sunny Leone! Bhupendra Chaubey, the sanctimonious CNN IBN anchor who recently interviewed her just couldn’t get past her previous porn star status. While he has been called out for his misogynistic ways, he is not alone and represents the mentality of many in India, and perhaps around the world too.
As one accomplished female executive in Toronto recently pointed out, though women have come a long way, even in the Western world there is always a glass ceiling on their accomplishments.
While Sunny was unapologetic about her choice of career and quite clear that she didn’t regret it (good for her), there are others who may not be comfortable with the choices they might have made and are looking for a fresh start.
Society however has them boxed in and refuses to let them break free. It’s the reason why Pamela Anderson will always be known as the Baywatch girl irrespective of any other television show she may have done.
Veteran Bollywood actress Sharmila Tagore too recounted how she spent years trying to erase the sensational image she created when she posed in a bikini for a magazine cover in the 1960s. And that was a single photograph!
It is no secret that Channing Tatum’s role in “Magic Mike” was a flashback to a previous career in his teenage years. While he admitted to a darker and seedier past life, it hardly garnered much attention. Now an actress, I’m sure,
would not be able to live this down.
Call it a regressive attitude, gender bias or whatever you want, the truth is men would rarely have to put up with this nonsense. For all his stumbles, Charlie Sheen is just a “naughty little boy” who has never grown up! But Madonna
will always be a “material girl” and it will be hard for Miley Cyrus to get past the twerk queen title given to her three years ago.
Not only does the world have a short memory when it comes to a man’s past, anything negative is merely seen as a stepping stone to their success. Why then is Sunny Leone not accorded with the same respect if not because she is a woman?
I recall the conversations in our social circle when the Ornge scandal broke. Kelly Long’s rise from a ski-instructor to an executive position captured more attention than Chris Mazza’s serious lack of judgement and incompetence.
It’s not only men who hold women to higher standards but the sisterhood too. We seem to look more closely, to scrutinize the background in the hope of finding something sinister or sleazy. It would not surprise me if women in India truly believed Sunny Leone was responsible for their husbands straying or watching porn. Chaubey’s ridiculous attempt to link the rise in porn viewership in India with her being the most googled person in that country
exemplifies that.
After having watched the interview, I concluded that Sunny Leone showed more grace and character than Mr. Chaubey did. A reversal of roles for a “respected” senior journalist and a “naughty” porn star, no?
Now Chaubey claims he wasn’t being a moralist. And if you pay close attention to his questions surrounding Leone’s earlier profession, they are always qualified with “some” are saying. So he is the voice of the prudes and prejudiced in India then?
In spite of all the support Sunny Leone has received, it is hard to believe that anything will change. Once people (celebrities included) get past their cosmetic outrage, her porn star past will climb back to the fore. The roles she
portrays in her films exploit and reinforce that image. Is any director looking to change that? Now that is what would make a real difference!

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