Feminism In India
Indian media quite obviously has a huge role to play in influencing our perception of women in society. And when it comes to feminism as we see it today, there is a huge unavoidable red flag waving in our faces. The Indian media industry is heavily male dominated, just like most other sectors of the economy (which is not surprising). Not all, but most media reinforce negative stereotypes of women limited to inferior, submissive and subordinate roles such as a housewife or homemaker. On cinema and television, women are portrayed as weak minded creatures with the inability to make decisions.
If this portrayal wasn’t a problem big enough, women within this industry also face their own set of issues. Women have equal representation in cinema and television, but that doesn’t translate into equal earnings, opportunities, and growth. The media needs to put in an effort to cover gender inequalities, violence against women, custodial rape, victimization by in-laws, etc. I also think more husbands should be portrayed as house-husbands, which is not uncommon in the 21st century. Releasing 1 movie showing the other side as opposed to the 100 others that are so clearly ignorant of gender equalism is no game changer. Even sexist advertisements are to blame.
Those Item Numbers
That is how women are portrayed in Bollywood, Tollywood, Sandalwood, Kollywood, Mollywood, Ollywood, etc. movies. You won’t believe how many woods make up the movie/television industry in India, all contributing towards releasing 1000 films a year, which is twice the number of movies released by Hollywood. I kid you not, in at least 900 of these films, the plot usually revolves around an almighty hero, a damsel in distress and a cliche’ villain. Stalking is, apparently adorable. Courting a woman needs to be borderline criminal, yet people don’t understand that, especially in places where women get harassed. And let’s not forget those catchy songs objectifying women in all the wrong ways. Item numbers we call them.
The Censor Board of Film Certification
Clearly, the Censor Board loves item numbers because misogyny and objectification work very well in a song. Headed by Pahlaj Nihalani, the Censor Board has stopped several movies in the past from being released because of reasons such as too many sexually provocative scenes, homosexuality, against Indian culture, etc. That’s Right, the birthplace of the Kama Sutra and the second highest populated country in the world is against the exploration of sexuality because of our ‘culture’. #Uncultured
Photo Credit: namanbharat.com