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Crime Stories: India Detectives is a true crime series on Netflix that shows how there is no escaping misogyny even in death, while also giving a window into how the police operate.
I remember reading ages ago that it is easy to get away with crimes if you are a woman who does not look pretty. No one suspects you because you are a woman, and no one notices you because you are not pretty.
Of course, even this supposed advantage is proof of the patriarchy. But even if you do think of this as an ‘advantage’, women are already stuck behind the bars of the patriarchy, so they are trapped even without going to prison.
The first season of Crime Stories: India Detectives has three episodes, each of which follows a case in the city of Bengaluru, right from when the crime is reported up to when it is solved (if it is solved).
True crime rooted in the lives of ordinary people – shows how deeply rooted sexism is, often leading to criminal action.
The danger starts as soon as women are born, as we see in the episode The Stolen Baby – a girl baby who is not yet two years old, has been kidnapped – snatched from under her mother’s nose. Already men feel entitled to her – was it just the initial three suspects or did the father agree to sell his daughter? The mother is left hanging, while the father escapes charges if he indeed was involved. How is this fair?
Another episode is titled Dying For Protection and covers the murder of a sex worker. The title is meant literally because the episode explores the fact that sex workers are not provided the safety they deserve because police officers are prejudiced against them. There is a lot of annoying moral judgement from the police, while the case is ongoing. No, sex workers do not ruin the lives of men – only men ruin the lives of sex workers, as this episode so clearly proved, even though it ends in a surprising way despite this prejudice.
The episode Body In a Bag has the mother of the deceased crying that her son’s wife and mother-in-law have murdered her son for his money. She is so sure that a nineteen-year-old is a gold-digging murderess. She ends up derailing the investigation for a while, thanks to this incorrect, but quite predictable assumption. Of course it must be the woman who must be the villain, right? It makes me so angry when people are so sure that the men in their family can do no wrong, and that it must be the woman in the wrong!
It’s an advantage that this series covers cases as they happen unlike most other true crime series, because it gives a real window into how the police operate, even their notorious third degree that wasn’t shown on screen, but implied. But there was the insight into the police as human beings too.
For example it was amazing to watch how the police officers change their minds about sex workers, even though they still saw sex work as ‘dirty’ even if they justify it only in cases of trafficking.
Then there was the episode that has the male police officer sympathising with the perpetrators of a crime because they were in a situation that had trapped them (even having to succumb to demands of sexual favours), leading to their crime.
Not even the empowered female police officers completely escape the patriarchy, unsurprisingly. A policewoman initially judges sex workers horribly before later changing her mind (thankfully). She is also too overtly grateful that her husband has taken on all the familial responsibilities while she focuses on her career. Well, where are all the medals for the housewives who do this all the time?
Crime Stories: India Detectives (now streaming on Netflix) displays the ways in which women suffer from sexism. But the real question is, when are we finally going to be able to break free of the prison that is the patriarchy?
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