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Author: Moupriya Das
[Bio: She is associated with many feminist groups,dislikes her work in I.T industry and gets turned off by sexism. ]
OH, it’s so cool to see the buxom “ITEM Girls”. OH, It’s so cool to see one or two forced Items songs Included in every single Rowdy, Dabanggs and Tigers movies now days. OH it’s so cool for these men to heave in excitement sitting in the front cinema row, watching on screens the women and the so called ” Heroines ” of the cinema treated as trash in the movies, by the Hero of the movie, ridiculed and played with. OH, it’s so cool that these stupid songs are “topping the charts”. OH, it’s so cool to play the “Hero” in our streets in the evening, passing lewd comments, touching and groping girls in buses and trains. And, it would be fun if the girls are scared and timid…..so let’s attempt to go for it AND THEN WE WILL BLAME THE GOVERNMENT, POLICE.
Songs such as Munni, Sheila, Fevicol are derogatory to women. They have such horrible raunchy lyrics. There was a news story in a tabloid about how two sisters named Munni and Shiela wanted to change their names for fear of being harassed. How much offending these lyrics are, you will actually come to know when you hear your kids humming these very same lines without understanding the meaning of it!! I would never want my kids to grow up thinking that using words like “laundiya patayenge missed call se” is a perfectly Okay thing to do! Over-promoting such raunchy songs affect the moral fabric of the society! It is so hypocrite of the celebrities who first write, sing or dance to “item numbers” and then say “be brave” to the common girls who have to go to their work, school and colleges without 50 bodyguards on their sides. Such songs are rampantly used by the harassers in a way to boost their morale. Have you seen the videos of songs like chikni chameli, halkat jawani, munni or fevicol? It’s like a lead woman is dancing and she is surrounded by 100 odd men who are literally hounding around her lecherously. The visual itself is like a musical depiction of sexual harassment!
The people saying that these item songs do not encourage these harassers have to know that most of them are not matured men but teenagers with highly impressionable mind and they try to do what they see. It’s true that sexual harassment happens even where there are no movies or TV, but these kinds of songs and vulgar lyrics do encourage the youngsters more.
Jokes on rape, doing a “mock rape” to teach a lesson to a girl, condoning lewd jokes or eve teasing as fun, justifying objectification of women as a routine norm influences mentality of people in long run. It’s not like it directly causes rapes or other violence against women. But it does enforce gender bias & inequality by celebrating stereotypes!
Are we so stupid that we do not understand that it’s not the Police who stop Rapes, it’s not the Politicians who control these creatures, its US, it’s WE who are to be blamed for it.
Do we really feel that the Rapes will stop if the law is enforced very strongly, ( yes it may reduce to an extent, but , very marginally ) Do we feel giving Death Penalty to these Rapists will dissuade them from committing such heinous crimes?
It’s WE have brought this situation, it’s we who are to be blamed, it’s the death of our consciousness which has brought us to this situation.
Right from the childhood when a girl is born, she is either supposed to be treated as a burden, supposed to do more work than the sons of the house, do more work as a wife compared to husband and as a mother has to work till the last breath of her life. And all this is happening in front of her father, brother, husband or a son.
Our mainstream media says it’s alright to pass lewd comments on women, ITS JUST PERFECTLY FINE TO PURPOSELY INCLUDE “ITEM” SONGS in every single Rowdy and Dabangg movies nowadays so as to get the whistles, claps and lewd comments from these masses and make them BLOCKBUSTER SUPER HITS, It’s just perfectly fine for the camera to exploit the best parts of a woman`s body for the Hero`s eyes.
Because of such Realities, Men get bolder. Raanjhaana is a reality and films like Raanjhaana makes men go bolder. Haasi toh faasi. Wow.
Throwing up your hands and saying rapes happen everywhere and items songs have existed for decades absolves BOLLYWOOD and the media of any responsibility when it’s simply untrue. Misogyny is rampant in Indian society and Indian media including films and that includes item numbers.
Women in BOLLYWOOD are generally reduced to making an appearance for a few minutes to sing songs and play the damsel in distress for a male hero to come and save. Popular dialogues are about giving a “thappad” to an actress. Sonakshi very proudly roams around at every event and awards show repeating the only line she’s famous for – “thappad se nahi darr lagta, pyar se”. How can anyone even argue that BOLLYWOOD doesn’t hold any responsibility in spreading this culture of misogyny and turning women into nothing but helpless creatures or sexual objects.
It’s not about songs or specific stars. It’s about reinforcing a certain mentality. Item songs etc. objectify women & they contort notions of masculinity. Males are led to believe that chiding/teasing girls is what real masculinity is all about. No wonder you’ll find that in real life, boys who’re well behaved & don’t go around ogling over girls or flirting are labeled as childish or less manly or boring.
Popular culture has enforced myths that you need to be deviant or mischievous in order to be a real man. Crimes happen not just due to mentality towards victim but also due to mentality of perpetrators.
We did have songs & scenes of heroines enjoying sexual harassment & falling in love with the same guys who harassed them. Benaam Badshah even showed the girl falling in love with her rapist!
It’s only rapist that rape but society does need to be questioned as a whole. All this “Kya bolti tu?”, “Chalti hai kya nau se barah?”, “Apun bola tu meri laila” makes men think harassing girls is herogiri or sign of being ultimate man!
Bollywood just sympathizes and it has much greater role to play than just that.