Skip to main content

Portrayal of Women in Indian Media

Posted in

Movies, or for that matter media in general, are often said to be the reflection of the society. Or at least that's what majority of people in India consciously or unconsciously tend to believe. While it's arguable whether the media truly reflect the society or not, there's no doubt that media have a big sociocultural influence on the society.

The way women are shown in movies these days is hardly different than those before a decade or a few. Women have been shown to consider being an ideal homemaker as the goal of their life. Leaving few exceptions, movies of recent times have hardly shown an 'ideal woman' doing anything but being a housewife. Even in those movies where a woman is shown to have more decision power in hand than her husband, the wife is almost always portrayed in bad light. And at the end of the movie, she is slapped by her husband. Her husband also tells her, 'I should have slapped much earlier'. The woman realizes her 'mistakes', repents of the same and the movie ends when everyone appears to be happy.
Before a few days while watching such a scene from a movie, one of my roommates actually said, 'This is the reason why a woman should not be given power. She doesn't know how to use it.'
As far as showing women in advertisements is concerned, things seem to have only worsened over time. In most of the advertisements of recent times too, a woman is either washing clothes and utensils, cooking, serving food to family members or trying to make her husband feel better who's at that time reading a newspaper or suffering from cold. A woman does all this even when she's headache or backache. These advertisements arguably encourage sexism. They reinforce the old belief that a woman is supposed to forgo her own comfort and keep on doing household chores without getting tired.
The same has remained true for the soap operas of earlier times and of recent times. While in many of these soaps, a woman has more decision power than their male counterparts, it's very difficult to come across so many such families in real life. Moreover, those women who wear modern clothes and appear very confident more often than not have bad intentions than their conservative and not-so-modern counterparts.
It is often said - 'The media should refrain from portraying women as commodities and sex objects.' The media still portray women as objects showing whom in certain way can catch the attraction of people. It's very amusing to see a woman in advertisements for products like cement.
Media not only portray women as mere commodities, they often unintentionally stereotype women. And this can be very dangerous, I believe

5
Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Replying to comments

@Guest user #1: Still we have a long, really long way to go I believe.

@N : I wish every woman has the right to make all her choices.

portrayal of ....

I totally disagree with the post "potrayal of...".Women need to make their own choices......stop undermining themselves.........stop being judgemental...........
we do have real women around who are not afraid of being what they are..even if its a rakhi sawant for that matter....even in earlier times we did have a strong nargis in mother india ...waheeda in guide who dared to follow her dreams .......and we all know that they have been very strong women in real life too .ITs all a matter of paradigms and the choices we make in our lives.So its upto the woman to take it or leave it.........
N

Is there any media in any

Is there any media in any country that doesn't?

M.S

No idea

I don't have much idea about that. And even if media in all the countries portray women (or for that matter anyone or any group/community) in a way that's different from reality, it doesn't justify them. What's wrong is wrong. Isn't it?

replying to the media portrayal post..

I would humbly disagree, I think what has been enjoyable in Indian movies is that women are not stereo typed anymore. They are not the holier than thou Mothers and Wives like the Nirupas and the Nargises of the world. They are frail, unfaithful, independent, not afraid to voice their opinion, a feminist as well as sometimes a non-feminist... they are not afraid to show what they got.. and all of that makes them real as opposed to a poster shot.

Mallika in Murder, Kangana in her typical roles, Konkona in Wake up Sid or Mr & irs Iyer, Sangita Goswami in Rock on, Priyanka in Fashion, Deepika in Love Aaj Kal, Sushmita in Filhaal, Kareena in Chandni, Tabu in Cheeni Kum... the list is endless

Yes they are reflections of different facets of society, some real, some a little hyped, none however, not to reckon with or not consider. Does showing the bare midriff, titillate the senses.. hell yeah.. but today we are not squeamish about saying it may titillate the senses of some women too.. and you know what.. THAT IS OK..... ... See More

I am not sure how long we plan to remain clouded in the shroud of "behenji-ism" and put our stamps on right and wrong and judge our own gender. Is there exploitation , of course there is, are there groups who work against it? Yup.. and more power to them... do women now have more and more choices.. yes.. and maybe that is the point of discussion of what one does with the choices...

Take them, live them with consequences.. or at the end, try not to turn into a :feminist-turned-damsel in distress" and go with the sob story of.. "inhi logon ne.. inhi logon ne.. inhi logon ney ley liya dupatta mera..."

Get a grip girl.. wear a turtle neck if you want to, and if u have a cleavage to show, and not afraid to show it.. do that...!!!!

... stop waiting for the perfect guy to come along ( and maybe he will or he won't) to give you a hand with the revolving door at the hotel lobby. If u are there on "business" or "pleasure" walk in or out.. but do it with your eyes WIDE OPEN...
a few seconds ago ·