When we think about art, we think and discuss about the artist at length, the art form and the medium used for completing the work of art. But hardly do we talk about the models who are posing in order to ensure that the artwork comes out to be nothing less than perfect. I recently came across a creatively thought of and a well made five minutes documentary named “The Female Nude” directed by Hem Jyotika and Dev Mishra highlighting the plight of an Indian female nude model.
Who are female nude models?
Female nude models are those models who as their name suggests pose nakedly in front of artists to earn their livelihood. There is not a very large community of such models in our country also the awareness about them is also minimal.
After watching the documentary I began to list down the problems faced by the female nude artists. There are a number of problems that include
- They are not paid enough to meet their daily expenses conveniently and thus find it hard to cover the expenses of basic essentialities as well.
- What we often find these women saying is that even though the artists earn thousands and lakhs of rupees from selling or auctioning the paintings or sculptures of these women, these models are hardly given even a small percentage of the amount.
- Forget paying them for what they truly deserve, the artists do not even care to invite these models to come and see their portrayal in the form of various art forms (painting, videos or sculptures).
- Another demeaning thing faced by these models is, once they start getting old, the artists demand new and young models. This causes the problem of unemployment and thus these workers are rendered jobless because of two major reasons
a) they lack the basic education to carry out any other job
b) they have no experience in any other field.
What hurts the sentiments of these female nude models the most is that once they get old, when their body stops being the same as it used to be earlier, they are conveniently replaced by younger models. No one actually thinks about how these women will manage their household and in some cases an entire family.
- These women are very easy target of male sexual fantasies, they cannot control what they do and neither can they stop men in and around them to stop fantasizing about her. What she can hope that they don’t dwell on their sexual fantasies for long. In many extreme cases this continual male sexual gaze and fantasy can turn into rape.
- These models feel alienated from the city; they feel like they don’t belong anywhere in the society. They neither receive any dignity or respect nor rather are outcast from the society
What is the basic problem behind all this?
The main problem is lack of awareness, before I saw this documentary I never gave a thought about these models and how they manage to run their lives, what conditions they live in etc.
It is very important that knowledge is passed regarding the same. It also would be a great gesture by NGO’S and government organisations to take up this issue and work towards the betterment of such women. On the part of the artist, there can actually be a fixed percentage of money that should go in the pockets of the models, before it goes in the hands of the artist. This will ensure that the models can be self sufficient.
Considering sentiments of the female models two things can be done
a) that once their bodies are deemed as not fit for artistic purpose, they can be helped by the authorities, by getting a job, so that she can continue earning some amount of money.
b) Also once in a while it wouldn’t hurt the artist if he allows the models to accompany him to see the display of the artwork.
The society as a whole should make them feel like they belong to the society should respect them and make them believe that they are an indispensable part of the society.
Regarding the problems of being easy target of male sexual fantasies, it’s sad that nothing really can be done to stop these men. However the art classes where nude models are present and this form of art is discussed should have presence of only those men who do not make the models uncomfortable by their stares or behavior rather those who are passionate about art.
If one actually thinks about, there are numerous of ways in which the entire community of female nude models can be helped by little financial or non financial aid. All that this issue requires is consideration.
In conclusion I would request all of you to please watch the video and present your views and suggestions regarding the plight of an Indian female nude model.