MEDIA VS. SOCIETY: WHO'S TO BLAME FOR OBJECTIFICATION OF WOMEN?
It's hard not to bring up the depiction of women in media when we speak of ending violence against women. The objectification of women in media has reduced them from human beings to mere objects of sexual interest. Provocative images of women, pouty lips, hypersexualised body language et all, are repeatedly being flashed in advertisements of products; that have nothing to do with attractive women.
More often than not, many movies on the big screen, including many "family movies" are guilty of our culture of objectifying women.
If that's not all, stereotypes that dictate what a "good" woman should or shouldn't be like set the standard for society to follow. It would be wrong to say that we do not get influenced by what we see on the screens – be it electronic, visual, digital or print.
Is media mirroring the society when it comes to banal treatment of women? Or is the society learning from and imbibing what the media shows us?
@JaagoRe: invited @genderlogindia, a crowd-sourced hub on gender to shed light on how and why women are projected the way they are in the media. It may be interesting to look at some of their insights:
.@JaagoRe Independence is power. Free thinking, independent woman is the greatest nightmare for patriarchy. Direct threat to domination.— Genderlog (@genderlogindia) February 13, 2015
We are used to seeing the 'independent, free-thinking' woman painted in a negative light. The "good woman" has to be the submissive, meek, domesticated, quiet woman. Basically a controlled woman is the "good woman". How many of us subconsciously subscribe to this notion? How many women have been forced to align with this train of thought?
That's when we explored how women are portrayed in media vis-à-vis the role of the audience
.@JaagoRe Mass media working under a patriarchal construct mainly perpetuates gender stereotypes & maintains the status quo.— Genderlog (@genderlogindia) February 13, 2015
.@JaagoRe The way subjects dealing with women are treated indicate to a great extent the prevailing attitude of the society towards women.— Genderlog (@genderlogindia) February 13, 2015
Seen through the 'Male Gaze'
.@JaagoRe The sexuality of women was in patriarchal chains for a long time, but now it is being portrayed as seen through the male eyes.— Genderlog (@genderlogindia) February 13, 2015
That actually explains why sexuality of women is being used, or "misused" in media to appeal to the male consumers. When we actually start creating quality content, products or services, the need to appeal to this crass and superficial impulses of the country will wane away. It's still a matter of time that the audience and media both come to terms with that.
Can media rise above the trap?
Numerous studies link violence and objectification of women in media to real life cases of violence and abuse against women. The entire country cannot escape the constant bombardment of the media, then isn’t the onus on us to make media free of bias, bigotry and patrarichal farces? We should encourage media that promotes healthy stereotypes and images of women. It's certainly one step closer to ending violence against women.
.@JaagoRe We need to change the system. We need to create ideals for women defying patriarchal constructs, who stand up to the system.— Genderlog (@genderlogindia) February 13, 2015
Whose fault is it anyway? And who takes the responsibility?
.@JaagoRe Educate ourselves of this oppression. Speak against patriarchy wherever &whenever you can. Dont propagate the gender stereotypes— Genderlog (@genderlogindia) February 13, 2015
The final call lies with us. We need to be aware of the misogynistic ideals that we breed – whether it's in daily life or through mass media. If we witness it, we can choose to call it out. Speaking out against patriarchy, whether it’s on dining table, classroom, or on social media are some of the ways we can start to detach ourselves from deep-rooted patriarchal values that have resulted in a society that we cannot call safe for women.
Let's work together towards a country free of misogyny, that has values that respect women and free them, instead of stifling them. Only then can we have a country where all women can walk free.
Views expressed here are of the individuals alone and do not necessarily represent that of the brand.
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