Search Results

77 items found for ""

Pages (12)

  • Home | The Stephanian Forum

    The Stephanian Forum IDEAS Stephania View Culture View Politics View Society View Allen Mathew 2 days ago Revenge Bedtime Procrastination: What is it and how you probably have it. It’s pretty darn dark outside, and raining; I’m in my room, with the fan running and the tube light switched on... Jane Eliza Cyriac Sep 15 The Impact of COVID-19: Refugees. According to reports from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly 1 person is forcibly displaced every 2 seconds. Drona Sharma Sep 7 We are Grateful Dear Corona Warriors, greetings on behalf of your anxious yet grateful human family. Team Culture (2020-21) May 2 Gender Constructs In India Team Culture (2020-21) : Amy Alexander, Anoushka Dominic, Aryan Kathuria, Prashasti Sarraf, Reva Chhabra, Sahil Kumar and Ujjwal Kumar... Team Stephania (2020-21) Apr 25 The trials and triumphs of virtual college: A Stephanian Experience As COVID strikes again, the fear of spending yet another year at home was creeping in. Stephen's still remains a mystery to a majority of th Shilpa Mariam Joseph Apr 18 India’s Political Landscape is Ideologically Bereft Around the world, right-wing populism is on the rise. Since the mid-2010s, we’ve seen one election after another ending in the victory of... Nanditha Elizabeth Roy Nov 29, 2020 The Recipes of Life It was like any other morning- I woke up to the sound of my dog barking and reluctantly got out of bed to let him out. The sun was... Mariam George Nov 18, 2020 Surface-Level Activism When the very same people who chose to stay quiet during Sushant Singh Rajput’s unfortunate death become overnight ambassadors of mental... Renee Jose Nov 8, 2020 We Need To Talk! The increasing dialogues on mental wellness, in lieu of the rising numbers of suicide cases among the youth, has urged many of us to... Diya Maria Abraham Oct 4, 2020 Dissent, But Make It 2020 Taking dissent online is not a new phenomenon. It has been used by activists in countries where governments are ‘repressitarian’- meaning Jasjeev Singh Sahni Sep 30, 2020 From Desks to Desktops: The Virus’s Undoing of Education The biography of education in India foretells a constant state of flux in the medium of teaching. From the slate-chalk, the blackboard-chalk The Stephanian Forum Feb 13, 2020 Bon Appetit It was just another day when First Years were rushing to make it to the Morning Assembly on time, birds were chirping and 8;30 a.m.... The Stephanian Forum Jan 19, 2020 Protests: A Plea for Justice or an opposition propaganda? The Stephanian Forum delves into the significance of protests through a cogitative analysis of history. It is a widely held belief that... Debanjan Das Oct 22, 2019 Over-efficiency of Parliament: A dangerous precedent? By Debanjan Das, 1st History. The recently concluded parliamentary session was indeed an eventful one. It was for the first time that the... Abhishri Swarup Sep 30, 2019 Paperboat By Abhishri Swarup, I History Dear Ammu, I will meet you soon. I set my letters afloat as paper boats for you to find wherever you are.... Who We Are The Stephanian Forum is an initiative by a few students of St. Stephen’s College who aim to create a platform to voice their opinions without a filter. It is an open space where ideas, perspectives and experiences about everything, from a grain of rice to the dire situations we face today, coexist. If you’re wondering who we are and what we do, know this, YOU are us— you define The Stephanian Forum. From the articles you read, to the ones you ponder over and finally those you contribute to this space, all that we are capable of, starts with you. DISCLAIMER The Stephanian Forum is an independent initiative taken up by a group of students of St. Stephen’s college. It is necessary to note that this is not the official website of the college and has no correlation with it whatsoever. The content published on this site is entirely based on the independent and subjective opinion of the writers. ​ ​

  • Society | The Stephanian Forum

    The Stephanian Forum SOCIETY "Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both" -C. Wright Mills Drona Sharma 19 hours ago We are Grateful Dear Corona Warriors, Greetings on behalf of your anxious yet grateful human family. Across continents, you form a single team, serving a... Renee Jose Nov 8, 2020 We Need To Talk! The increasing dialogues on mental wellness, in lieu of the rising numbers of suicide cases among the youth, has urged many of us to... Jasjeev Singh Sahni Sep 30, 2020 From Desks to Desktops: The Virus’s Undoing of Education The biography of education in India foretells a constant state of flux in the medium of teaching. From the slate-chalk, the blackboard-chalk Aishwarya Mukhopadhyay Sep 25, 2017 Surviving in a Post-Truth World: Shoma Chaudhury on the needs of the times Disclaimer: The Stephanian Forum does not take any institutional position on its content and would like to inform readers that the views,... Vrinda Sharma Aug 13, 2017 Freedom of Expression and Netiquette Disclaimer: The Stephanian Forum does not take any institutional position on its content and would like to inform readers that the views,... Shreemayi Samujjwala Jul 30, 2017 Unfetter those words now, shall we? Disclaimer: The Stephanian Forum does not take any institutional position on its content and would like to inform readers that the views,... The Stephanian Forum Sep 23, 2016 Comedy is a blood-sport I live to see times when a comedy show that means no harm to any individual, religion, god or the society as a whole, is crucified. To... Pragya Jat Oct 15, 2015 On Secularism and a Happy Co-Existence. Secularism, a term as intrinsic to my understanding of India as electoral competition. But, apparently for some in the current political... The Stephanian Forum Sep 19, 2015 Of gendered spaces and absolute equality. An interview of The SUS President for the year, Aina Singh. The interview team comprises Rishi Bryan (IInd English), Urvi Khaitan (IInd... Vikram Grewal Aug 17, 2015 FIFA 16: Snowballing Feminism into Football. Ignoring the ‘fratricidal’ FIFA wars over Sepp Blatter, the officials at EA Sports gave the masses something unprecedented earlier this... Soumyajit Kar Jul 28, 2015 How much of feminism do we understand? “She feels good when they split all expenses, but also when he buys her flowers. Inside the modern feminist lies an archaic desire.”... Prerna Geeta Manian Jan 10, 2015 Following a Religion- A Façade? “You are a black stain on Hinduism if you love a Muslim man.” “I won’t let you marry a Muslim.” “Muslims are terrorists.” While studying... Soumyajit Kar Dec 16, 2014 Gender and the Epics “Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.” — Joseph Conrad Hinduism is probably the...

  • Gender Constructs In India | The Stephanian Forum

    Gender Constructs In India Team Culture (2020-21) Amy Alexander, Anoushka Dominic, Aryan Kathuria, Prashasti Sarraf, Reva Chhabra, Sahil Kumar and Ujjwal Kumar Our deep dive into India’s gender constructs requires a comprehensive understanding of the significance of the word ‘gender’. Gender, against contemporary belief, is beyond chromosomes, customs, or checkboxes. In itself, gender is a social construct and is a product of societal views, to put it simply, it is what society determines to be your identity through its preconceived notions of femininity, masculinity or anything in between. This is why gender is something that we as a society create and enforce. Often used interchangeably with the word ‘sex’ that points to a more biological definition, gender is not independent of social and cultural context. Gender refers to the personal and social characteristics but not the biological traits that we associate with different sexes. Human behaviour tends to create a system that keeps society structured and functioning by organising society into distinct roles that complement each other. Indeed gender influences how we organize all of society and how we distribute power, ergo our society is largely stratified by gender. PatriArchives: How Yesterday’s Wrongs became Today’s Incorrigible Human civilizations have been experiencing major transformations since the Early Ages. The Homo sapien is often seen as a social animal adapted to live in communities from the very beginning. These societies have defined certain laws and customs meant to be practised by all. Most scholars attribute the long-standing disparities between the two genders to the lack of education and awareness in ancient times, although that does not entirely explain why we continue to exist in an unequal patriarchal society​, which is defined as a male-centric community where men are considered superior and more influential than women; moreover, women are not accorded equal stature as of men​. This system has been known to operate at the core of every sphere of many nations like India since ancient times. It is important to understand the role of power dynamics in forming and maintaining gender constructs which thrive in a patriarchal society that manufactures collectively shared norms about women’s subordinate role in society in order to perpetuate the power imbalance through both positive and negative reinforcements. The prevalence of harmful cultural practices like sex selection, child marriage, dowry-deaths, and honour killings remains high in several developing countries, reflecting the rigidity of perverse beliefs and norms. The continuation of these practices is often times supported by both women and men due to the internalisation of this power imbalance, making violence acceptable for the victim, who may be afraid of challenging shared norms out of the fear of backlash. In modern society, these gender-based differences stand out in the form of discrepancies in the income tax laws​, inequitable dispense of remuneration​, fewer job opportunities for women​ and certain​ binding marital laws​ together with ​unjustified​ ​divorce protocols​. These societal prejudices and stereotypes have such a strong and deep-rooted foundation that they continue to influence mankind by allowing male members to assert their upper hand in family decisions, whereas females are expected to subdue their thoughts and opinions, and affirm with the male decision. The working women of the upper-middle-class society are often denied permission to continue their jobs after marriage. In the rural areas, a girl-child is still considered taboo; girls are denied education and are married away at an early age. Moreover, the dowry system has been able to maintain its prominence even now, both in urban and rural societies. “Boys will be boys”- this is the phrase used to justify the pushing, shoving and aggressive behaviour of certain men. This kind of behaviour is accepted from boys and men because this is the symbol of masculinity. Boys are taught instrumental qualities such as being competitive, physically strong and confident to prepare them for the labour force whereas girls are taught expressive qualities such as empathy and sensitivity which prepare them to care for children in society. Society has specific constructs in their minds which characterise certain attributes with one gender, and then expect men and women to behave according to their respective gender roles. In India, people generally associate masculinity with dominance, strength and aggression, while femininity is often associated with nurturing, emotions and passivity. These roles are encoded within the minds of children straight from birth. We have colour coded gender labels that suggest dressing male infants in blue and female infants in pink. Be it dolls for girls or trucks and car toys for boys, gender labels could be found in every aspect of parenting. Generally, fathers are more engaged with their sons in “gender-appropriate” activities like sports, while girls are encouraged to get involved in household work. Boys are given more independence, fewer restrictions on clothing or curfew. They are often free from performing household tasks like laundry, cleaning or cooking which are supposed to be feminine. Girls on the other hand are taught to be nurturing, considerate and obedient. These characterizations continue later in life. Men tend to outnumber women in professions such as law, military and politics. This is while women tend to outnumber men in care-related occupations such as healthcare, childcare and social work. The question is, “Is this all justified?” Should certain roles be linked to biological sex and power structures? ​ Is it Structural or Conscious? Answer: Yes Gender conflict theory is a social science perspective that holds that stratification is dysfunctional and harmful in society, with inequality perpetuated because it benefits men over women, transgenders, and other gender-non-conforming people. Gender conflict theory argues that gender is best understood as men attempting to maintain power and privilege to the detriment of women. Therefore, men can be seen as the dominant group and women as the subordinate group. While certain gender roles may have been appropriate in a hunter-gatherer society, the only reason these roles persist is that the dominant group naturally works to maintain their power and status. According to conflict theory, social problems are created when dominant groups exploit or oppress subordinate groups. Therefore, their approach is normative in that it prescribes changes to the power structure, advocating a balance of power between genders. When we think about stereotypes that exist in our society we can conclude that most of them have a historic context. For example- Dalits in India were stereotyped as unhygienic on a pretext that they had to do menial jobs. Even if legally our society no longer enforces any work on a particular individual owing to his caste, creed, gender, or ethnicity, these stereotypes are mere generalizations that we are carrying with ourselves. Women face stereotypes on the grounds of being physically weak, people assume that they cannot protect themselves from societal elements that again think that they should stick to a patriarchal framework while choosing how to dress, where to work, and how to talk. Let's first think about why men have evolved to be physically strong. We have all learned in our history lessons that as cavemen females had a lot of offspring they would stay in an impregnated state for most of their lives and therefore men had to go out and hunt this requirement of being physically strong is what has led to evolution like that. ​ Initially, women in society were considered legally subordinate to men. Men were given the right to education and were considered the head of the family. They used to be their sole- earners, raising their families single-handedly. At the same time, ‘inheritance of property and fortune’ used to be the right of the eldest son in the family. On the contrary, women were ill-treated, were denied education, and were deprived of any share in the property; which made them lose their individuality. Their role in society was constrained to taking care of the household and looking after children. Most of the time, they were exploited and subjected to domestic violence, which ultimately led to their subordination in society. ​Child marriage, sati, polygamy, dowry and purdah systems​ were other manifestations of this evident disparity. Girl-child was seen as a liability because of the prevalent dowry system. And hence, as the ages pass, this gender stratification ossifies itself in the skeleton of our society. Gender stratification refers to the unequal distribution of wealth, power, and privilege across genders. Economic and political power structures that reinforce traditional gender roles often cause more dysfunction than function. Like denying girls the right to quality education in India or keeping them from working outside has been one way that our society has kept power in the hands of men in terms of living a better life, seeking different opportunities and being financially independent. ​ Contemporary education in India is a relic of this gender stratification. According to the Census of India in 2011, the disparity in education due to gender inequality in India is easily visible through India's child literacy rates which is 65% for girls and which is far less than the literacy rate of 82% among boys. The reason for it can be comprehended from the fact that a lot of stereotypes and prejudices exist in Indian society against different genders. The benefits of a girl's education are generally seen as going to the family she marries into, thus providing little incentive to people to invest scarce resources, both human and monetary, into the education of their daughters. Also, given the relatively low educational attainment among people, especially in rural areas, the marriageability of an educated girl presents its problems. These factors combine to cement the attitude of inherently opposing education to females. However, if somehow some of them get a chance to attend the school in their foundational years, they often fail to continue their studies to the progressive years as the gender gap widens with progressive levels of education owing to greater barriers in education that girls face due to deeply ingrained social norms and gender stereotypes correlated with biological factors. Although India has witnessed substantial improvements in female literacy and enrollment rate since the 1990s, the quality of education for females remains to be heavily compromised and there is still a long way to go in ensuring that girls have the same access to quality education as boys. Due to the comparatively low literacy rate of females (59.3%) in our society, they have to be financially dependent on their male counterparts and this dependency is again exploited by them. Quite forlornly, gender stratification also manifests itself in the form of gender-based violence. Gender-based violence is a form of discrimination that seriously inhibits women’s ability to enjoy rights and freedom on basis of equality with men. It includes all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse. Gender-based violence finds its roots in the dominant male psychology of a patriarchal society. In the social structure of a country like ours, if one is born male, he is bestowed upon with special rights which women do not have. A male child has fewer restrictions than a female one and that’s where the seeds of superiority are sown into him. That child, when he grows up to be an adult, looks down upon girls and considers them to be mentally and physically inferior. Historically, gender-based violence against women is also prevalent because of the widespread socio-economic dependency on women and fear of banishment. Why it’s not just Zeroes and Ones ​ It is believed that well-functioning families need people to have complementary skill sets and gender gives us a way of pairing off these skills. Society in turn encourages gender conformity by making people feel that they have to fit these moulds if they want to be accepted and desirable. And by also teaching people to reject those who do not conform to these gender norms. Boys and girls are socialised to take on traits that are complementary to help maintain stable productive families. But there are faults in this idea. As not all families today are nuclear units with one man, one woman and a gaggle of children. We need to expand the definition of family to include same-sex couples, single parents, multi-generational families, or childless adults. So, it's less obvious to assume that a man works outside the house and a woman works inside the house. Secondly, the idea of complementary gender rests on there being two distinct and opposite genders. This idea of gender as a binary isn’t universal and it ignores all those whose identities don’t conform to a two-gender system. Any discourse on a topic like gender constructs would be incomplete without a reference to intersectionality and its role in identifying the deeper often hidden layer behind many of these constructs. People experience discrimination differently depending on their overlapping identities. To look at any two parts of one’s identity in isolation would take away the ability to fully understand their experiences in society. A Dalit women’s experience of the world will differ from that of a woman of privilege. In the same way, a trans woman’s experience of the world will differ from that of others. Intersectionality allows us to understand the complexities of an individuals experiences of discrimination and prejudice by taking into account the different social categories an individual falls into. That is to say, intersectionality is a way of understanding the different types of overlapping discrimination that an individual may face depending on their race, gender, age, ethnicity, class or any other characteristic that places them in a minority class. Understanding this intersectionality in the fight against gender inequality means not only fighting gender constructs but identifying other forms of oppression and taking an equal stand against all instances of unequal power dynamics and cerebral opportunities. ​ Featured image credits : Rhea Rose Kappan

View All

Blog Posts (65)

  • The Power of Harmless Flattery

    Ah, childhood! If I could go back in time and experience those moments again. I didn't yearn to be a grown-up. I was the oldest in my generation so I had enough power to boss around the brood that followed after me, thanks to my parent’s big families. Being the firstborn, I had enough influence over my uncles and aunts, enjoying all the attention and warmth of the family for a period. Moreover, I came into a family with very few females, so I was received with much anticipation. I thoroughly basked in that glory till the younger ones came along; one by one. But even then, I was the big sister. I never bullied them, but they would probably have a different story. For the time being, it's my story, so I decide to place on record that I was a very gracious big sister. Summer holidays and school holidays were times when all of us came together at our ancestral home. One day, all of us were sitting together and playing. My ammachi (grandmother) called out for me. I picked myself up very reluctantly, knowing I couldn't say anything. As I approached my ammachi, I had a look of displeasure on my face because I knew she was going to give me some chores to do. She said, “Maria, please fold Grandpa's shirts and keep them in the cupboard.” One look at my face, and my grandmother knew what was going on in my mind. Then, she told me, "Do you know why I called you from that lot? It's because only you can do a perfect folding. Grandpa always says that when you do it, it doesn't even have to be ironed.” My face lit up and I took to the task with all my prowess. In my excitement, I forgot about my cousins playing on the other side of the house and most importantly, I was so preoccupied with impressing my grandparents that I took no notice of the fact that I had never folded my grandpa's shirts before! And oh my, did I not do a good job! So here was my first management lesson from my grandmother, who was no MBA graduate. She not only got the work done but also got the best out of a cranky 10-year-old with harmless flattery. Flattery is a word with a bad reputation, often considered in a negative context. But is it always that bad? Flattery feeds directly into our ego and self-identity. It makes us feel good about ourselves, so naturally, we are not immune to its charms. It affects our behavior outside of our awareness. We tend to respond more positively to situations, people, and products that make us feel good about ourselves; so says the psychologists, not me! Like the child who said the emperor is naked, sometimes we need to be brutally honest. But it's okay to boost each other’s ego once in a while and lift self-confidence with small words of praise and flattery. Believe me, it works like magic!

  • SOS: Indian Art and Culture

    They say that art appreciation is also an art form. The art and culture of any nation is the backbone of its civilization. India stands apart on the global stage as the amalgamation of multicultural, pluralistic value systems, beliefs, traditions, fairs, festivals, rich classical music and dance forms, handicrafts etc. But people who understand and appreciate Indian art and culture are a dying breed. One can always argue that there are more pressing problems than cultural illiteracy that ails our country. But given the current state of affairs the very ethos of the Indian civilization, which is in great part embodied in our art and culture, it will die a slow and painful death. In these harsh times when artists of great talent languish in sheer neglect, is it not the need of the hour to salvage and reclaim the legacy of our heritage, a heritage that has taken thousands of years, and the toil of numerous artisans, poets, singers, dancers, sculptors, architects, performing artists et al to develop and preserve? Enter the advent of smartphones; the concept of what a person does with his or her leisure time has undergone a sea of change. Ask the average Indian youth of today if they have ever heard of a Raag Malhar or Bhairavi and I'm sure the answer would be a big no. Forget our parent’s generation, how many of us have been directly or otherwise been exposed to the classical arts and literature of our great country. Maestros like Bismillah Khan, M. S. Subbulakshmi, Bhimsen Joshi, Zakir Hussain, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Shivkumar Sharma, Allahrakha, Kishori Amonkar, Ravi Shankar, Amjad Ali Khan, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and so many more that are such intrinsic parts of the repository of rich Indian classical music, are probably just names one recalls from the GK textbooks. In the words of a former diplomat who is deeply concerned about the depletion of cultural enthusiasts or rasiks (people who enjoy and understand Indian art and culture), “India must rank as one of the most unique civilizations of the world, marked by great antiquity, substantial refinements and unprecedented audacity of thought. Why, then, do successive governments treat culture with such disrespect?” According to him, very little investment has been made in terms of money and priority when it comes to culture with the Ministry of Culture being clubbed with other subjects like tourism and at the same time inadequately budgeted, often leading to negligible development. “India must rank as one of the most unique civilizations of the world, marked by great antiquity, substantial refinements and unprecedented audacity of thought. Why, then, do successive governments treat culture with such disrespect?” Comparing this glum scenario with efforts put in by China and other Southeast East Asian countries by way of investing in state-of-the-art museums and galleries, along with art districts, rows of streetside cafes and art programs, one can only wonder at the commitment of our politicians towards our “Bhartiya Sabhyata” which the current dispensation often alludes to. There are two unfortunate consequences of this neglect of our cultural heritage- Cultural Indifference and Cultural Illiteracy. The former refers to the total lack of interest in our heritage, leading to a loss of balance between popular and classical culture. Can you imagine a jam-packed auditorium for a Bharatanatyam performance versus any crowd-pulling Bollywood dance number? In London, Hyde Park visitors throng both pop group shows as well as those showcasing western classical music. Our National Gallery of Modern Art hardly gets 30,000 visitors annually compared to the millions in the West. The second fallout which is cultural illiteracy refers to cultural militancy which compensates for one’s lack of knowledge. Culture becomes nothing but a mere slogan in the hands of the uninformed, which does unimaginable damage to the highly complicated fabric of our heritage. Modern India needs to reclaim the legacy of our great cultural heritage. Probably the faintest idea about Indian classical culture survived in the collective memories of the pre-millennial generation. Minimal exposure to the real India has only worsened the issue. Popular culture is held in great sway (mostly Bollywood and West based) in this land of the Natya shastras and amid the remnants of great dynastic monuments. Where are the world-class museums and art galleries that this country needs, and more importantly, where are the audiences for it? A revival of the arts through proper preservation and education at every possible level is the only solution to save it from the brink of extinction. The time for merely paying lip service to it has long passed. Proactive measures are urgently required to bring back the lost glory of our artists, most of whom languish in deprivation. Acknowledge, respect and uplift them. Cultivation of interest and promotion of our arts through popularisation via various media channels is a must, and most importantly, institutional investment in the arts and culture will surely bring back the audiences and keep India's unparalleled cultural tradition alive.

  • Indian Films – A Stereotypical World Sans Reality

    From the time the very first feature film “Raja Harishchandra” was produced in 1913, the Indian Film Industry has come a long way. The “Parallel Cinema” movement in the 1940s led by pioneers like Satyajit Ray gave way to the “Golden Age of Indian Cinema”, as described by many film historians. It was in the late 1970s that a criticism arose that the film body wasn’t doing enough to encourage Commercial Films. Then slowly came the rise of the Masala Films as we call it today. Unfortunately, as commercial films evolved, there came a time where content mattered less and viewership mattered more. To quote Walt Disney, a pioneer of the American animation industry: “Movies are powerful tools that have the ability to influence people. Therefore, it is important to use it in the right manner.” Films are powerful tools that have the potential to accentuate society’s most crucial and existing problems to a large mass of people. Unfortunately, not everyone in the film industry uses this powerful tool in the right manner. Many commercial films play a critical role in implanting and penetrating various stereotypes into people’s minds. “Movies are powerful tools that have the ability to influence people. Therefore, it is important to use it in the right manner.” The impossible beauty standards displayed in films and media has standardised beauty among the Indian public, the perfect body showcased in Indian films place some people under traumatic pressure to attain these standards. The age-old obsession with fair skin in India that mainly started during the colonial era persists in Indian society to date and is now mainly propagated by the Indian Film Industry. Despite Indians possessing a varied range of skin colours, most films only portray actors and actresses of fair complexion. A lot of us would have noticed the common convention of casting a dark-skinned person as a villain or a sidekick. What’s even more disheartening is that these stereotypes are depicted in kids cartoons as well, including popular ones such as ChhotaBheem. Indian cartoons rarely depict diversity, and consequently, we are teaching the young generation the same stereotypes instead of eliminating them. Indian Films vividly associates beauty, social status, personality and success with something so insignificant and trivial as skin colour. If you are dusky or don’t have the conventional body, people say it is a privilege to be cast as a lead actor or actress-but is it? One problem here is that being beautiful means being fair or having the conventional body type; the other is that it's high time that looks took a back-seat and talent became the parameter in the Indian film industry. Indian film industries cannot shy away from the fact that they have played a major role in normalising rape culture. From the 1970s to the 1990s, there was an obligatory inclusion of a rape scene, wherein the hero came to save the heroine. Nowadays, it’s a mandatory dance/item number in most Indian films. The dance sequences usually happen as a celebration; we are teaching the younger generation that commoditising a woman’s body is normal and an act of celebration. There is a dearth of representation of certain communities in Indian cinema. Moreover, sometimes the representation of certain communities is misleading to the public. From a country that boasts of diversity, we certainly have failed to showcase the diversity in our cinema. A lot of times there has been a misleading representation of certain communities in terms of ethnicity, religion, and even sexual orientation. For eg., the representation of the LGBTQ+ community in Indian cinema. There are very few, or none at all, to represent such minorities. Another question to be answered is: Should films depict violence? Violence has become an integral part of cinema that most of us couldn’t think about doing away with it. Yes, violence of all forms is present in society and we have to depict the reality in our films, but the question remains; is it portrayed in the right manner? There is a common practice to romanticise violence in films. Normalising the depiction of toxic relationships where the men are physically or verbally abusive and manipulating. Furthermore, justifying these actions as expressions of love is misleading society as a whole and several generations to come. These practices have normalised the idea of “toxic masculinity”. Additionally, actors who have called out such misogyny in films haven’t mustered any significant support. Recently I have noticed a huge rise in crime films that showcase disturbing crime scenes. Moreover, at times the film is depicted in such a manner the crime or murder is justified. The thought that it is alright to commit a crime if the purpose is right is a theory that has been attached to certain films. Consequently, what we are losing is the right and the ability to think for ourselves. In short, films should encourage people to be averse from practising any form of violence. But unfortunately, that isn’t always practised in films. People end up glorifying violence. Many actors responded by justifying that these are “R” rated films and the audience should know what to watch and what to follow as adults. Well, we have got to understand that we live in a country where a majority of the population worship and idolize heroes and heroines. We even elect them. We are inspired by the characters that the actors play on-screen and love to imitate them. Hence, these actors have a responsibility to fulfil. And I absolutely agree with the fact that there are a handful of people in the Indian film industry who are consistently working hard towards eliminating these practices and norms in the industry but they require tremendous support which we are indeed capable of providing. The film industry ought to realise the power they possess and channelise it in the right manner, I truly hope that they do realise that “with great power comes great responsibility”.

View All