Objectification of Women through Item Songs

Objectification of women is quite self-explanatory, is it not? In a very simple term, it explains how women are treated as objects rather than breathing, living human beings. This subject has been discussed before, article have been written on the same, petition has been filled for the same. However, I sit to write about it again, for when I discussed about this to an acquaintance, I was asked why am I so hung up on these almost feminist issues, why not I write about ‘pressing issues’ such as poverty and other such issues. I agree that these are important issues but the subject in hand is no less important. The fact that people consider it to be of less importance is really disturbing and bothersome How are we to bring a change when we don’t deem it significant enough to look after.

For a very long time, women have been referred to as ‘weaker sex’, a source of entertainment. This notion has only been promoted in various ways. Bollywood movies have been a very strong medium for the same. The article throws light on one of the aspects in Bollywood movies which in not-so-subtle ways objectify women – ‘Item Songs’. Interestingly, the term ‘item’ refers only to women, specifically very curvaceous women. Moreover, the ‘songs’, the lyrical content of all these item songs unabashedly objectify women. Let’s take for instance, ‘tandoori chicken’ (Fevicol), ‘Chikni Chameli’; ‘Ab Karunga tere saath Gandi Baat’. Oh! The list is endless. The new so called pop songs are not giving it a break. What do songs like ‘Genda Phool’; ‘Chocolate’ among many others are trying to portray?

Yes! Entertainment is always welcomed but not at the cost of women being objectified, being compared to all the objects that one can think of. It affects the mindset of people; it adds to the not so progressive mindset. It in a way says that ‘it is okay if we refer women as such, she has no complaints, look at the way she smiles among all the leering, lustful, predatory eyes.’ However, we all know that it is not okay. In any given real-life situations, no one would love the idea of being cat-called, being called names or whatsoever. Media has somehow come dictate the ways people think, their perspective, their actions. If people can enjoy the actors and actresses enjoying all these in a ‘T.V. screen’, who says it won’t be enjoyable outside the screen, right!

We need to realize that this is unacceptable, not everyone way of entertainment is ‘not’ harmful. The portrait of women as being skinny has somehow fed into the mind of every other person that only acceptable body-shape is being skinny, lean and not otherwise. In other words, body-shaming becomes prominent.

It is important for such discussion to take place more, for more involvement of people in this direction, for raising voice. Moreover, as Sabhana Azmi suggested that it is important for actresses to have a say in the lyrical content. All such lyrics are written by a man – describing a woman through a male gaze. It is very disturbing that people with mighty pen in their swords would resort to writing such lines which can influence a lot of audience. Not one person is to blame, the mind-set of people will take years to change, you cannot expect women to carry knife while always moving around. However, it somewhere needs to start. A little initiative needs to be taken. Somewhere, someone. A conversation about this cannot be ignored. Media can always be important instrument in bringing the wind of change.

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