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How Media Affects Rape Culture

Kratika Gulwani

The author is a Media Personnel and an Independent Researcher

31
June 7, 2019 · 6 min read •

In my view, media plays a negative role in disparaging women by a constant objectification. This objectification of women reduces them mere to their bodies and make their bodies available for visual consumption. It’s easy to see why so many people objectify women’s bodies when it has become a social norm to do so in the media. Unfortunately, people tend to then transfer this objectification to real women in their communities. 

Parents, society, and media also plays a crucial role in creating the rape culture. Not only man but the society at large is also equally responsible. Because it is understandable that man learn from the society. He is not born with a set of patriarchal rules. He observes the society and behaves according to the whims of the society.

When we talk about media, objectification of women and focusing on their bodies for headlines are purely out of the need for higher TRPs. Media creates a huge impact on people’s mind. What people see and perceive, they are likely to act. Unfortunately, when media devalues women and shows them in poor light by objectifying them, people tend to act in the same manner.

In our society, women are constantly demeaned in every field because of sheer ignorance and behaviour normalisation by blaming the victims, sexist remarks in media etc. Portrayals of news pieces are often ill informed and biased. As a media personnel, I believe that it is the fraternities’ duty to share the public with accurate information.

People already being engraved in a patriarchal mindset find such news, viz. blaming the victims or objectifying them, as satisfying. Many of them have media as the only source of information. So, it is easy for them to develop an opinion likewise.

There was this famous news site reporting about Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone’s cleavage. It is disgusting to see that out of those essential and crucial informations that the public has a right to know, this story has come up with far more importance. Media there chose to objectify women’s body part as something abnormal.

I watched an interview of a girl exposing her director as part of the #metoo campaign where she was sharing the mental harassment caused and suddenly the reporter had interrupted and asked “yeh sab to theek hai, sexually kya kia”. This interview shows how insensitive some media personnel are, working only for their TRP ratings. Me too movement was an apt example to analyse the patterns how media responds to this pernicious rape culture.

They have not only devalued women but are also creating ignorance in the minds of the vulnerable of such serious problems like mental harassment. Credibility of women is often questioned and no wonder why women fear to go in the open and express themselves. They compromise in their choices as they are threatened by objectification and slut shaming.

In this brutal process of mental harming in the name of protecting women, she often gets crushed by the system. As a part of the umbrella term media, we can talk about Hindi films that have always played a big role in forming trends and opinions. We have witnessed a huge transformation of storytelling in recent years where strong topics that are often hush-hushed by society are being chosen for cinema. My generation and previous ones have grown up watching films that feature sexist remarks as normal where the need for consent never arises and women objectification was justified to the core.

This is especially evident in Tollywood films, where we watch women being slapped, molested and where male dominance and women submission have always portrayed. It is so ironic that states with high literacy rate produce such movies.

(Imagine me screaming out aloud in Janice’ voice “oh my god! after watching a Tollywood scene”)

Finally, there is no single community to be blamed. Patriarchy is seeded in each of us. We were taught that way. The good thing is many of us have already realised this and are willing to change. Things do take time, and we have come a long way. One step forward to make the world a better place to live is to ACCEPT that rape culture, misogyny and male violence exists. The next step is to take small steps towards changing our actions, start questioning the practices around us, and by making sex education effective. I believe thus we could bring a lot more changes.

image credit: Pixabay

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