Are We Reduced To Voyeuristic Consumers Of News Without Conscience? Is It All Just About Titillation?

Posted: August 18, 2016

Every day, patriarchy rears its head in many ugly incidents, and while the media has a field day with these, we, the citizens, have become mere consumers of news.

Over the past few weeks, rape in India has been in the news again. First, a horrific incident involving a mother and daughter rape in Bulandshahr, and then, some news in the Times of India and Vagabomb reporting that rape videos are now being sold for Rs. 50-150 apiece.

While all this news is gruesome and repulsive to most of us, the question that begs to be answered is: why is this considered heinous, but crimes committed in and abetted by a deeply patriarchal society not?

Why is marital rape not looked upon like this? Or pornography? And aren’t rape videos being sold just like the Hindi films of the seventies, that included a mandatory rape scene to titillate?

The world we live in is patriarchal. I am speaking not only of women being crushed, tormented, victimised. Anyone who is weaker is marginalised. And patriarchy is so common, no one even notices it any more, and it rears its ugly head everywhere.

Think of eunuchs. Think of the gay man tortured and beheaded in Syria. Think of the disabled or the mentally ill forced into incarceration and stigma.

Perhaps journalists are to blame too for the consumeristic fashion in which we read, share and consume news now. Social media, Facebook, Twitter, and more; the way news is fed to us – even those of us who choose not to watch news or read newspapers any more, are forced to consume news as our friends (me included) share news voraciously. And then people discuss, like, comment; and whether we like it or not, we are all voyeurs.

Are we, sitting in our armchairs, consuming such news, not as much to blame as the men who look at the rape videos? Or look on in Bulandshahr? Or avert our gaze when we notice atrocity or patriarchy?

I don’t know what the answer to all these disturbing questions is. I just know that my heart is heavy as I see the world we live in these days. I feel bad for all our children and don’t think this is a safe world for them. I feel sad for the animals and I feel sad for the trees.

But, perhaps, all this horror forces us to live every moment with more integrity. With more authenticity. With a deeper awareness of every hour of our day. With more mindfulness. And that can only be a good thing.

Because once you realise that horror or death can come to you at any moment, you will choose to live joyfully and you will celebrate every moment.

Image source: youtube

Jhilmil Breckenridge is a poet, writer and activist who speaks out about mental health, incarceration

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