It is deeply unsettling to live amongst and listen to derogatory remarks against women in a society. As each day passes by, we unwillingly and unintentionally become part of this society where women are being seen as mere a commodity rather than a productive and respectable part of society. Be it staring at public places or being groped in crowded place, a woman is always treated like a commodity, an object of pleasure.
But we can’t blame society for the prevailing sick mentality. As society is what we build with our ideologies and principles. Objectification of women and their representation as pleasure seeking entity has lead to belittling and disparaging image of women. Television advertisements, banners, roadside hoarding and movie posters, all of them portray as if they’re going to sell the women they display instead of the product. One thing to be noticed is that in most of the advertisements, only females are pictured as the brand ambassadors and a seductive body language is used. Even if the commodity to be sold belongs to men, a female presence is always required for its promotion. This fetishization of female body is devastating to society’s psyche and is responsible for degrading image of women.
The concept of ‘Fair and Lovely’ has been prevailing since time immemorial. Only what is ‘fair’, is ‘lovely’ and ‘unfair’ becomes ‘ugly’. The beauty pageants are to be credited with ‘idealising’ beauty. Instead of accepting and promoting the natural beauty, they’ve engineered a set of conventions to receive their commercial ends. In the long run these commercial entertainments invade the minds of adolescents and leave a negative impact on their tender psyche.
They no longer remain untouched by the harsh and atrocious world. More or less we all agree that the content shown on television is not totally acceptable. There should be a moral check on what is being aired before it’s too late. Carrying out processions and candle light marches will be inconsequential if the problem is not rectified and solved at the elementary level. Human beings must first be respected irrespective of their gender. In the name so called “progressive” attempts, women are still suffering “regressive scourges”; thanks to the market, thanks to the capitalism ! This situation still prevails, since antiquity, as once portrayed by legendary Sahir Ludhiyanwi:
Log Aurat Ko Faqat Jism Samajh Lete Hain,
Rooh Bhi Hoti Hai Is Mein Yeh Kahan Sochte Hain,
Kitni Sadyon Se Yeh Wehshat Ka Chalan Jaari Hai,
Kitni Sadyon Se Hai Qaaim Yeh Gunaahon Ka Riwaaj,
Log Aurat Ki Har Ek Cheeenkh Ko Naghma Samajhe,
Woh Qabeelon Ka Zamana Ho Ke Shehron Ka Riwaaj,
Hum Jo Insaanon Ki Tehzeeb Liye Phirte Hain,
Hum Sa Wehshee Koi Jungle Ke Darindon Mein Nahin,
Kab Tak Aankh Na Kholey Ga Zamane Ka Zameer,
Zulm Aur Jabr Ki Yeh Reet Chale Gi Kab Tak.
Farheen Sultana studies English Literature at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.