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Portrayal of women on TV screens: Ratings vs Rationalism
I read an article yesterday in an English daily regarding the portrayal of women as evil witches, snakes and other assorted deities that Indian mythology has thrown up over the years. The stress has been on the evil of women and rarely men. Even the "Nagin" (female snake) is female but not the "Nag" which is the male. Is this something to do with the religious outlook of the Hindu religion that associates the male cobra to the mythological Shiva?
In any case, these deep rooted prejudices against women seem to be working for the channels showing this regressive attitude towards women in India. Their ratings seem to be taking substantial jumps when a character like this is introduced. The trouble begins when one starts looking within our own families and neighborhoods where this sense of women being regarded as either inferior or troublemaker or just evil has been ingrained over the centuries.

One of the more regressive of the ancient books makes several references to women in such a vicious manner is Manusmriti. There are many such books in India that makes for this kind of gender discrimination that is almost violent in nature and probably encourages the actual violence across social structures. Where is this coming from?

It is coming from a superstitious leadership both political and social. It is coming from the utter idiocy of activists who believe and encourage others to believe that Hinduism has an edge over other religions. It is coming from the Bollywood actors and actresses that visit the babas and the Radhe Maas of this country. It is coming from the utter disregard of industry leaders that consider ratings above all things including their conscience.

There are questions that one must ask to this society of ours if we truly want to become enlightened individuals? Are we going to allow almost 50 per cent of our population to be denigrated in this manner? Are we going to allow for minds to be turned back to some ancient century where women would be kept as vassals or merely child bearing individuals and home servants for the luxury of men?

Why are even the women following the brainwashed message that they are fit only for this or that kind of work? And why are men in this country so terribly misogynistic and constantly trying to wave their manhood around like it is a personal achievement merely that they were born as 'men'? What gives any individual the right to dominate another especially if the other is physically weaker in most cases?

To the women of Bollywood, a clear message needs to go out. Look at the effect you are having on society at large and despite the money offered they need to think of what they are promoting in the name of ratings and entertainment?

To the general population at large, there is an urgent need for each individual to become part rebel against a social structure that belittles women as inferior to men. And for this an incredible need for a liberal education across the institutions has to come about. If this does not happen, no matter what any government does by allowing foreign capital for pizzas and hamburgers and technology to come in, the morass that this country finds itself will only deepen even of coated by an outward surface of artificial sheen.

To all women in all of society… do not accept this denigration of yourselves on TV screens and other mediums. Do stay true to your individuality and rise up for challenges both at home and outside in the world around you. The men that strut around are not as powerful that you have been made to think they are.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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Rajesh Shetty
I would have appreciated if you had not brought in Hinduism into this and have people believe that it was the main source of gender discrimination. You would be enlightened more if u had asked the Shah Banos of the world what hard core gender discrimination is all about. How many in the present generation or a couple before this one, would have heard of Manusmriti , leave alone read it. And did holy books like Ramayan, which almost everyone is aware of, make everyone a maryada purush like Ram ? And dont forget it is the same Hinduism that worships woman power in the form of Durga. But then, did it solve the problem ? So don't use the issue of gender discrimination as an opportunity to portray Hinduism itself in bad light. This whole thing has less to do with religion and more to do with culture, which again is a function of time. However, gender discrimination due to popular culture in India, was limited to women working as maids in their respective households or listening to the whims of husbands. Even that culture did not promote seeing woman as sex objects, that could be raped or molested. Not to say that that culture is acceptable. But the biggest threat to women has come in the subject u mentioned in the latter part of your article, that is Bollywood. It is the kind of portrayal of woman, rapes and violence included, which has had a bigger impact on their already fragile status. In fact, it has steered the culture towards such negative territory, that the young generation seems to be suffering more due to lack of culture rather than from it. But then try telling it to any Bollywood director, he would pounce upon u in some TV debate and conveniently put the blame on some old and hardly read book like Manusmriti. Ditto the women and men acting, who chose money over conscience . Our culture , needed a refinement so that women would have been given some dignity, instead of only safety. But now it looks like Bollywood is hellbent on de-robing women of both dignity and safety !
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