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Have you seen how they portray women on television?
I don’t watch much television these days. Well, especially the Hindi Entertainment channels. It has been so for quite a few years now. And no, it’s not because I’m some sort of a snob. It’s just that I cannot quite fathom the garbage that is propagated through that medium in the name of entertainment. There was a time when there were characters like Shanti on television but now we suddenly seem to have gone back in time.
I have bone to pick with the creators of the shows which portray women as these self-sacrificing, unambitious puppets. Or, if ambitious, then only as a vamp. As if real women, good women do not have any ambitions apart from that of the kitchen.
Entertainment is a huge medium which has the power to impact society with a positive light. But none of the Hindi or even Bengali television shows that I have fleetingly caught a few frames of seem to want to do that. I don’t know about the other regional language programs but from what I hear they are no different either.
Why do they write such regressive roles for women on television? #FeministMondays #Women Click To Tweet
What gets my goat is that the representation of a perfect woman is of one who stays within the four walls of the house, toils day and night for her family without complaining. Any deviation is considered evil in the very literal sense. What this does is reinstate this idea in the minds of the millions who follow the shows religiously that women are best suited inside homes. And trust me when I say this that it does a world of harm to those women with dreams to do something, be something more than just a wife or a daughter-in-law.
Women in television shows or even movies are seldom shown to have a career focus. Or, even if they start out pursuing higher education, the moment they are married, the story shifts to follow the same old beaten path. Pick any show and I’ll point out at least 2 extremely regressive aspects of it. And that’s a very conservative number.
Why are women on most Indian Television shows shown to have no aspirations? #FeministMondays #women Click To Tweet
Perhaps it’s the large percentage of audience they want to cater to. Or, they are still stuck in archaic times or simply bad storytellers. I don’t know. But it simply makes no sense to me. It’s like having the power to change the world for the better yet choosing to detonate a bomb instead.
What gets my goat is that the representation of a perfect woman is of one who stays within the four walls of the house, toils day and night for her family without complaining.
Why only the shows in movies since the advertising industry, or at least a part of it, still seems to be lurking in the past. According to them, women are only suitable to be mothers or air hostesses, provided they are fair. They don’t flinch propagating skin colour bias, not one bit. Fair people are confident and dark skinned folks are not? Really?
They can’t seem to think beyond women as housewives who love cooking 20 different things for breakfast every morning. News flash, no woman does, housewife or working. We are not so unidimensional. The kitchen is not the centre of our existence. I know housewives who do so much more, are so much more than an entity in the kitchen.
The kitchen is not the centre of a woman’s existence.
Then there are those advertisements which seem based on the premise of females being the laundromat of their families. Yes, really. Women either cook, wash clothes or scream at their dead husband for not taking insurance. They don’t show that women are sharing more and more financial responsibilities today. They don’t show that there is more to a woman than her kitchen or her cosmetics.
I don’t understand which world these creators live in. Is it the same world where women walk shoulder to shoulder with their spouses to provide for and protect their families? Is it the same world where not all women love cooking? Is it the same world where marriage doesn’t necessarily mean the culmination of all ambitions or aspirations for women? Because the shows and ads that are on air these days certainly don’t make it seem to so.
I haven’t watched these serials for ages now for I refuse to validate such nonsense. Advertisements, I can’t avoid, so that’s there. What about you?
This post is part of the #FeministMondays series (previously called #IAmAFeminist series) on the blog. Inspired by a TEDx talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – We Should All Be Feminists, I intend to talk about the need for feminism through my posts, posts on my experience and observation as a female. I intend to talk about issues concerning women.
Join me and let’s work towards a world of gender parity. Remember, each voice counts. Tell me your story.