A JDU MP was recently caught on camera dancing with some “gals” at a bar. The video would definitely put any proud Indian to shame. This is not the only time though, that law-makers have been caught midst such disgusting acts. State Legislative assemblies boast of ministers watching porn in a number of past incidences. These incidences clearly indicate that some parliamentarians think of women as shallow creatures who are only objects of sexual attraction. Again, these people represent us; so ultimately, it is a reflection of what we think of women.
Objectification or objectifying is an act where a woman is treated as a thing made to entertain and stimulate senses. This to my belief is another type of discrimination made by patriarchy to remind a woman that after all these years she has no human but a sheer animal existence. There is one significant thing that distinguishes this act of patriarchy from others. Almost all discriminating acts of patriarchy have been punished in some law or the other. Objectification though, is an act which is not punished, on the other hand portraying a woman as an object is often celebrated as creativity at times. Though not a punishment in itself, there is no doubt that objectification might lead to the commission of serious crimes. The 16 year old boy for instance, was the most brutal murderer of Nirbhaya. His environment and the way that women were portrayed to him would have to be one of the reasons of him committing such an inhuman offense.
Thus, not a criminal act per se, but objectification has definitely become a factor behind commission of various offences against women. One would obviously think that a practise of making a woman look like a thing has to be looked down upon. However, popular culture has made this a part of our lives, thanks to both Hindi and Hollywood movies.
When you talk about Hindi movies, the main role of a woman is to marry a hero. Oh and adding to the fury is a nerve-wrecking, heart-stopping item number. When movies show hundreds of hungry men groping a young woman on the big screen, the next obvious result would be the alarming rate of gang rapes flashing news screens. One such movement highlighting the objectification of women in Hindi Cinema is National Law School, Delhi’s gender circle campaign called #SexismKaPunchnama on facebook. The movement invited people to identify at least one sexist song in Bollywood. The resulting status updates took Facebook by storm. It is basically, just another way of questioning the way we see our daughters, mothers and sisters!
Hindi movies are often inspired from Hollywood. Therefore, undoubtedly, sexist objectification is not a phenomenon completely unknown to them. In fact, the rate is so high that Hollywood has a parameter to determine the sexism and objectification of women that has taken place in a year. This parameter known as the Bechdel Test was created by Allison Bechdel. Under it, there are three basic questions to decide if a movie is sexist or not: –
Are there more than two named female characters?
Do those two named characters have a conversation at any point?
Is that conversation about literally anything other than a man?
The most shocking part is that half of the Hollywood movies released in 2015 failed this test. This puts us back in the pride and prejudice movie era, where nothing but the boys mattered!
I cannot even begin to apply such a test to Hindi movies, the results would be overwhelming. Though, I would love to know the reasons behind the lack of action shown by our vigilant censor board on this issue, specifically in the item number industry. There was a time when films were censored as the heroine had no dupattas, we have certainly evolved, to a time where a woman is groped by groups of men singing cheap lines. But, we have maintained the status of being “sanskari” enough by cutting down on all the abuses and smooching scenes, coloured language is though, of course a big yes!
For any nation to progress, spirituality and later development of a scientific rationale are the most important factors. They create a sense of both hope and fear ultimately compelling them to comply with societal norms. When it comes to a developing nation like India where superstitions prevail above anything, spirituality more than scientific temper allows its people to comply with norms. Therefore, preachers of spirituality would have a tremendous impact on how the society shapes itself. India has had the misfortune of having spiritual gurus like Asaram Bapu and Radhe Ma. Videos of Asaram grooving with bar dancers, and now the rape charges showed his way of looking at women. Imagine the impact and influence this would have had on his followers. Television screens went wild with pictures of Radhe Ma recently, here was a godwoman with tons of make up having her fun. It was almost like a live item number. She is a classic example of an objectified woman. Is this the way then that India’s spirituality should define its women?
In conclusion, have you ever wondered why there is a difference between the shape of the hearts we carry and the ones we draw? The hearts we draw depict a woman bent over; this should be declared as the symbol of an objectified woman, eh? Patriarchy?
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