Society provides a context for the popular culture. Similarly, cinema also imbibes reality. However, we often say that our movies and the televised world are not real, that they do not accurately portray the dilemmas, the nuances of modern life. If we look closely, we realize that cinema and the whole of popular culture is in fact a glaring reminder of those that are deeply entrenched in our society and in our culture-patriarchy, misogyny and moral indifference.
Item girls might have raised a few eyebrows when the concept was initially introduced but now the trend continues unabated while people and DJ’s blithely lap up the latest item song, irrespective or how stupid or sexist it sounds. For those who ask what the problem is, the problem is with the construction of language: that describes a girl as an item, that is, as a ‘thing’ that functions for the other’s utility. The problem is with the gaze of the camera, that most unabashedly described is voyeuristic and vulgar and makes it pretty clear that it doesn’t seek to celebrate a woman’s body, but rather to objectify and degrade it.
Yo Yo Honey Singh cannot find anything other than the length of a girl’s skirt to sing songs about, filmmakers cannot find anything more original than a dumb, utterly clueless female eye-candy to insert in their plot and the music channels are full of sexualized women parading around men, as if they have nothing better to do! It is either this or over decked women who can never manage to move beyond kitchen politics and nasty in- laws. They do not have any interests, any dreams, any beliefs. All this with the theatrics. No wonder we are becoming dumber by every second!
We can argue and defend this popular culture till kingdom come but the truth is, even our willingness to jump to its defense and brush off genuine concerns in the name of ‘masala‘ entertainment and artistic license speaks a lot about us. And anyhow, there is nothing artistic about it; creativity invigorates, it inspires. What we are often sold in the name of creativity is thinly disguised sexism. Now I don’t propagate censorship, but I certainly believe in claiming moral responsibility as citizens of a society, be it as artists or as audience. It’s time we accept that many of our actions actually reflect deep rooted misogyny.