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Objectifying women and Bollywood have gone hand in hand for the longest of times. Isn’t it time to change? Chandana Hiran is doing exactly that!
“Women are not objects.” I am sure all of us have heard this sentence at some point of time in our lives. And the fact that we have heard it and know what it means without being able to do much to stop is quite painful.
Our oldest friend Bollywood has made sure in leaving no stone unturned when it comes to objectifying women. With changing times, the waves of change have hit Bollywood too. We have seen some commendable changes in terms of the portrayal of women in several roles. However, this is only a very small section of the industry and the majority is still stuck in the ’80s.
The kind of songs enjoyed and danced on by everyone today need to stop urgently. And to do that, it is the singers, directors and the entire film fraternity on the whole who need to be conscious of the kind of lyrics hey use. This needs to be done so as not to encourage any kind of toxic behaviour in the society.
The film fraternity needs to realise that to make profits and to enter the 100 crore club, they cannot just make songs with absolutely derogatory and indecent lyrics. The objectification of women in Hindi songs has been rampant, with women being compared to ‘tandoori chicken’, alcohol, ‘zandu balm’, and the list is endless.
People dance to these tunes while enjoying the catchy lyrics. What they don’t realise is the subtle way in which a toxic, misogynistic mindset is being encouraged and reaffirmed to them. This leads to them to think and believe that it is cool to harass a girl and that no actually means yes. That ‘romance means picking up a girl from her house’ and that ‘when couples fight a lot, it means there is a lot of love.’ And a long list of such utter nonsense. Hell no!
Chandana Hiran, a change maker at change.org has spoken about this issue on various platforms, including Instagram. She has an Instagram handle called ‘that desi feminist’ where she calls out the misogynistic songs. She also has a Facebook page called Misogynistic Bollywood Songs dedicated to the same.
These handles are great for people trying to understand what these misogynistic songs means and why they shouldn’t exist in the first place. Chandana also filed an online petition opposing Bollywood’s misogynistic songs. And the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) has promised to support her campaign from the upcoming awards edition. This will finally be a change in the right direction.
These mindless portrayals of women need to stop as they are not helping the women who walk on streets evert day, take buses and trains late night or even burn the midnight oil at their workplace. It is high time we stopped “Munni from being badnaam” and “Sheila from being jawaan.”
No, it does no good to anyone. We do not want young girls and boys growing up listening to these songs and normalising the toxic culture we see today. Sadly we have grown up that way but let us save the future from this mess and do some timely damage control now.
The link to Chandana’s petition is here, do sign it.
Picture credits: Screenshot from the song Sheila ki jawaani
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Ph.D student at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
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