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Tridha Choudhury recently spoke up about the hyper sexualisation that women face in pop media, saying that "actors are frequently sexualised after being cast in a particular role."
Tridha Choudhury recently spoke up about the hyper sexualisation that women face in pop media, saying that “actors are frequently sexualised after being cast in a particular role.”
In a recent article, actress Tridha Choudhury opened up about how actresses are sexualized and type cast in the industry. She also explained her challenges while acting in an intimate scene for the series Aashram, in which she portrays a sex worker.
This isn’t the first time sexualisation of women in Indian cinema has been talked about, be it on screen or off screen, which happens even in dialogues and punchlines that allude to sexual innuendo explicitly or hint at it.
Rather than emphasizing the strength and intelligence of women, most Indian films and series highlight women’s sexuality; whether it’s through offensively inept body presentations, or innuendo-laden lyrics that objectify and sexualize women. The media and entertainment industries frequently contribute to this collective anguish by propagating negative preconceptions, creating a ‘bombshell’ stereotype where they have to flaunt their bodies in particular ways in order to be successful, and also with female actors often being expected to perform sexual favours in an effort to progress.
Not to forget that most films and series use constant intimate scenes with male characters as a tool to objectify women. Often, sexualizing a woman in Bollywood is also made to look like romance, while male characters in the films also explicitly exploit women for their character development.
However, Tridha has also expressed that she was sometimes misled about her character during the plot narration. “Sometimes a film is presented in front of you throughout the narration as one that supports a certain social cause or has a powerful message. But in reality, things are nothing of that sort.”
In show-biz, glamour is used a tool to manipulate the audience, a commodification of women that is so prevalent in every industry. Look everywhere – there are hypersexualized pictures of women, be it music albums, advertisements, films, billboards, or posters. They are all around us like the air we breathe; messages so blatant, they become invisible, encouraging the sexualisation of women.
There’s nothing wrong with women being glamorous or sexy; the problem is with people’s superficial perceptions of women, which reduce them to mere objects of desire. Most directors weave a narrative in the film in a way that it doesn’t really matter what a women’s profession in the film is, as long as she looks glamourous. Take a lot mass box office films with cult superstars; women aren’t even given more screen time. Their significant roles are reduced to song-dance sequences.
In a recent interview actress Tapsee Pannu expressed that in the past, one of her directors barely described her role in the film, and instead the director said, “don’t worry, you’ll play a glamorous role in the film”.
If you’ve watched any Bollywood films, you’ve probably noticed how the conservative ‘nerdy’ girl is frequently transformed into a ‘sexier’ version of herself, and the hero is in love with this sexier version of the actor. What these directors do not understand is that these films unwittingly reinforce the preconceptions and biases about women that already exist. All that these films do is promote patriarchy under the guise of luxury, glamour, and larger-than-life settings. Female actors are expected to look in a certain way, dress a certain way, and talk in a certain way to ‘fit in’. Even female superheroes are glamourized on screen.
The most concerning thing is that men are insidiously taught to yearn for these slender-framed women with perfect skin and well-shaped body, while real women are continually reminded that they must perfect the art of looking sexy to be accepted. Women’s bodies are shown as gifts to be given, received, and exchanged by men, and women are portrayed as trophies to be won over. Women being portrayed as sex objects has serious far fetching ramifications, and these films normalize eve-teasing and stalking and some films even glorify rape and murder.
Not just in the Indian film business, but also internationally, celebrities including such Scarlett Johansson, Megan Fox, and Natalie Portman have expressed their frustration with the sexualization of their characters.
Such hypersexualization also gives women unrealistic expectations about what their bodies should look like. Every time when women express how they were treated inhumanely, most people pitch in with their iconic sexist remarks. “What were you wearing” and “You were asking for it” are much too prevalent, and they are the outcome of seeing women as objects.
Women are sick of hearing these remarks. Women are more than their bodies; when will a society understand that women are intelligent, strong and powerful? In this show-biz, women are the sufferers of commodification. Treating women with some respect and dignity wouldn’t harm the male ego.
Image source: YouTube
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