Scantily Clad White Girls at Cricket Matches and in Bollywood Films...

Kerala Cricket Cheerleader
My brother caught this article and sent it my way.  An Indian Premier League cheerleader for the Mumbai Indians, a blonde from South Africa, was fired and sent back home after blogging about the goings on of cricketers at after-parties.  Gabriella Pasqualotto is astute, if not particularly self-aware, about the effect she creates on her blog,  "On our days off, we are free to explore and take in what India has to offer but it's not always easy. You can just imagine, a group of fit, easy on the eye, western ladies cruising the congested busy streets… To the citizens, we are practically like walking porn!  All eyes are on you all the time; it is complete voyeurism.  The women double take, see you and then pretend you do not exist.  The men see your face, then your boobs, your butt, and then your boobs again! As we walk, all you hear is “IPL, IPL!” with a little head jingle!"  Starting in 2008, the IPL started imported foreign women to work as cheerleaders at cricket matches, in an attempt to "create a spectacle and attract fans to the games."  Apparently it's worked, as long as they're not blogging about the sordid details.

IPL Cheerleaders
Indian women do not sign up to be cricket cheerleaders due to "family disapproval", plus the fact that they'd understand exactly what would be said about them during matches.  Quoting a Yahoo! India editor, “It’s a damn good thing that these women are imported because at least they don’t hear the stuff that’s thrown at them in the vernacular... [Pasqualotto] would drop dead in shock if she understood what was being said about her.”  

SRK with Backup Dancers in "Dard-e-Disco"
An article by Rahul Bhatia in Open Magazine further identifies the phenomenon, "you [the Bollywood watching public] also like white background dancers who once populated Khan’s and Akshay Kumar’s songs. Directors can bring you these extras because they come to India for work, and they come cheap... having local dancers on the screen 'is not as visually good' as having foreigners—who are 'okay with opening clothes more.'"  This Bollywood trend toward white backup dancers has upset Hindu nationalist parties in India, with Raj Thackeray of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena calling for a ban in 2010 on the estimated 1,000 foreign white actors [perhaps a generous term for backup dancers] that regularly work in Bollywood.   Veer Singhvi explains the MNS is engaged in a perhaps misguided attempt to woo female voters, "The MNS says [these dance scenes] are against Indian traditions, vulgar and cheap. They do this to get women's votes because women object to half-naked dancers, but it's not enough of an issue for women to change their minds."  

Akshay Kumar and Kylie Minogue in "Chiggy Wiggy"
So is this a case of dumb foreigners in India?  An Indian male public unable to handle some white skin?  Or a bunch of folks cashing in on the fact that white women in India are naive enough to reveal more than is culturally appropriate?  I don't think anyone's unaware of what's going on; the producers and foreign women are in it for the money, and the Indian male public is in it for the titillation factor.  It's a chicken or the egg question:  do white women needlessly provoke Indian men with their western mores?  Or do Indian men feel it's their right to harass white women simply because they're white?  Based on my own experience, I've decided the majority of Indian men feel it's their right.  But my real question is this:  where are the Indian women in this debate?  The ones who "double take, see you and then pretend you do not exist?"  You'd better believe that they're talking amongst themselves, and I can't imagine they're simply siding with Raj Thackeray.