It's all about objectifying women

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It's all about objectifying women

India is going through a very different phase altogether – be it in terms of politics, activism or the kind of entertainment that people are getting. Not just politics, there has been another chord – gender equality and women rights – which has been struck a thousand times but nothing much has changed.

Be it the way the ‘fair sex’ dresses up, the kind of work they do, the kind of people they talk to – everything has been under the scanner by a society which is unapologetic about its patriarchal mindset. When we speak about gender equality, about giving equal opportunities to women,  a ‘free’ and easy environment in office, home and public space which men enjoy as their birthright, it emerges that women have always ended up being given the short-shrift. 

And it just doesn’t stop here. Cinema  one of the biggest entertainers after cricket is also to be blamed for the pitiable image of women in our country. Right from wooing their love interest in the films, to wearing revealing dresses to the lyrics of the songs – women have always been objectified and commodified. As if a women clad in a saree will be any less than a women in a two-piece attire. It is all in the mind how one wants to see his woman, but the raunchy songs only add to the commodification of women making the environment more hostile for the fair sex.

But, hasn’t this been there forever? From Marilyn Monroe to Meena Kumari to Rekha – they all have been the ‘goddesses of love and sex’ for decades now. The only difference between ‘then’ and ‘now’ is perhaps the portrayal of women was more sensitive, the ‘oomph factor’ more understated and elegant. Unfortunately, that time is gone, and whether it is reel imitating real or vice versa, the fact remains that today the appeal seems to lie in being raunchy and sexually explicit. With gender-related crimes on the increase, films and songs with  salacious lyrics like buffet of girls, katal karen tera bomb figure, etc by the popular singer Yo Yo Honey Singh, who has been rapped many -a-time for his raucous, women-unfriendly songs, are adding to the already unhappy situation. 

Talking about lyrics, commodifying women and targeting the ‘infamous’ rapper, Anurag Bhomia, a lyricist who has penned the song Jo na aati tu meri zindagi mein na fikar hoti na liquor hoti and is very popular with the youth brigade, says, “Whose fault is this? The public or Honey Singh’s? These kind of songs have been there forever now, from Munni to Shiela to Ooh la la. And moreover, no one is forced to listen to these songs, people download them on their phones and share them through pen drives.”

“India is called a ‘culturally vibrant’ country but it is actually suppressing the thoughts, freedom of expression. This is actually a ‘pseudo culture’. People have been listening to all kinds of English songs which are equally vulgar like Tonight I am f***ing you, but when it comes to India, there is so much of hue and cry. And to add to that, I would say that there is a demand for such songs and that is why singers are delivering them too,” says Anurag.

Commenting on this, Sabhyasachi, professor of Sociology in Jamia Millia Islamia University, says, “Consumers toh banaye jaate hai. But the fact of the matter is that nowadays words have lost their meaning and charm. Shabdon ke mayne badal gaye hain aajkal and the ‘feel’ for words is gone. Love songs no more show ‘emotion’ but only emphasise on the ‘body’ and ‘sensuousness’. And I think that these kind of songs are like fast food for thoughts. They are good for those who don’t have time for meaningful things, like books. And so, these songs get absorbed in the lives and hence they use these lyrics as reference texts in their daily lives.”

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