Reflexion on Articles

No matter what the package is, evil remains bad.

10:53 AM

I got to read the Sunday paper a bit late, but the magazine section which usually have well written pertinent article was no exception, here is one that should raise serious question, I know it confirmed what I always thought :

http://www.hindu.com/mag/2009/11/15/stories/2009111550250400.htm

I urge you guys to read it, but if you really don't have time to spare, here is a summary :

It's about a girl who is watched probably after school by the author, she is 4 years old and her favourite game was "pretend class" where she would line up all the toys and pretend to be a teacher. But suddenly one day she asks for a Duppata (long scraf worn with Indian ethnic wear) and drapes her head, play the coy and demure girl holding a doll, imitating the blushing wife traditional India favors. The author puzzled by such a dramatic change in behaviour talks to the girls mom who say that yes her daughter has been watching the family serials with her, and since there was no adult content she let her do, listing her daughter's favourite and how she loves enacting the heroine in them. The problem? The author give us an overview of the serials in question, one is about a 8 years old girl newlywed to a boy her age in rural Rajasthan, another is about a wife who's in-laws force their son to marry another girl because she has more money, and yet the heroine stays to work as a maid for the family to remain close to her husband and withhold family honor.

I say WHAT THE FUCK!, and yes pardon the language, my blog has adult content, and I won't chew words on this one, my reaction would be to slap the mother to let her daughter watch such sick sick sick SICK serials. Not one of the plots is fair, and I beg to differ on the "no adult content" thing, relationships, marriage are to begin with adult affairs, and these serials are degrading to women on top of it. What's more, bigamy, dowry, child marriage are all illegal under the Indian law, so why are these to glamorously displayed in serials? And what mother can let her own daughter identify with these characters at age 4? Is that so she can then put her on the marriage market at 18 claiming she is coy, demure, obedient and will therefore make a good slave...er pardon Indian wife? I salute the columnist for making such an article, because these social evils should be exposed in their vile viciousness and condemned, kudos to her.

I'm going to go a bit further though, because medias are known to carry stereotypes, but what is alarming in those Indian serials is that they glorify these outlawed customs by adding a lot of designer Saree, gold glitter, posh marble houses and what not, the fact is that no matter how made up and glamorous they are still illegal situations in India and the country should work on eradicating these instead of giving them glamour and spotlight on TV
In the stereotype department as a foreigner I face them too, curse is the fact that people tend to believe whatever they see on TV, US made sitcoms portray my western self as a bitch, sex hungry, lazy slob, uncaring stone hearted manipulative shrewed who barely can press "Start" on the microwave, making me by default unfit to have a family...and I hardly exaggerate, my MIL had quite a few of these stereotypes in mind even before meeting me. I had a OB-GYN who declared that my PCOS induced weight gain was due to a steady diet of junk food because that's what foreigner eat, she was even stunned to hear I can cook Indian food (and don't get me started on the unhealthiness of some home cooked indian dishes they are worse than a burger at McD). The most common of the stereotype is alas the fact people believe I can't cook and can't hold a household properly and are surprised I can.
The fact is that contrary as in India, western women don't have the luxury of having full time or daily servants (maids) we do all ourselves, so we are far from being helpless domestic goddesses for pete's sake.
But as of recently it seems like hard core right wing extremist groups are blaming all of India's flaws on western culture domination, going as far as molesting women wearing Jeans and visiting pubs in the name of Ram and Indian culture preservation, and each year there are more or less violent protests from those same groups against valentines day.

Sure a stuffed teddy bear saying "I love you" gifted to your girlfriend is far more evil than Marrying a 8 years old girl, or demanding dowry and dumping a cheaper model of wife when the next more loaded one comes along, but not divorcing her because Indian culture say divorce is bad? So is a self sufficient empowered woman compared to a helpless wife suffering "justified" daily beating because she didn't bring enough Dowry and therefore should be bruised to near death.
And sure the western countries are all made of pure evil and are bad to the core for respecting their constitutions, successfully banned child labour, female infanticide, and dowries and put a firm strict and uncorrupted law and order system so that victims of injustices can get help fast. But hey apparently our likes of beer wine and Vodka and the fact women are not sweating round the clock in the kitchen to serve her family means we have no honour, and are accused of spreading our evil.
But let me tell you, I haven't seen one TV series glorifying illegal customs as heroism and ultimate spotless virtue, our movies may have a few love scenes (which censorship alter here in India) but they don't have gross Item songs a la Bollywood style with black patent leather clad ladies dancing in a highly sexually suggestive manner looking even worse than common prostitute in the west, adds that encourage eve teasing (Hello sicko "Fiat Punto" commercial), or tells you that if you do not have a fair as milk complexion you'll never meet any success in life (Thanks "fair and lovely" for annually destroying the self esteem of million girls in order to fatten you bank accounts, which I bet is ruled by a butt ugly dark complexioned CEO who made his/her fair share of success nonetheless).

As a mother of a daughter who is growing up in India, I sure do not want her to grow to think she has to be a weak, servile little thing who needs to slater some fairness cream in order to get faint recognition, and who has for sole way to salvage her "honor" by being a dutiful chapati maker, in-law's scapegoat and virtuous mother of a son. Nope I want her to be strong, independent, a go getter, able to make her own choices in life and be proud of being a woman in her full right without having to live in a man's shadow!

2 comments

  1. Anonymous11:32 AM

    Hi Cyn! I'm an Indian woman currently abroad for a couple of years, and I stumbled across your blog today. I completely agree with your outrage! It's VERY disturbing to see horrible, regressive and down-right illegal social evils being glorified in 'saas-bahu' serials, it's even more apalling that women watch these so avidly. There ought to be a law banning them!! I also am horrified by the increase of extreme right-wing hindutva movements and I wonder what pressures in our society these days prompts this kind of rabid insanity. I'd like to believe that not all of India is like this however and that lots of people find these serials equally disgusting... I hope that's true. As for stereotypes, they're just that, stereotypes :) from your other posts you sound like a wonderful mum and home-maker and I look forward to reading more! I specially love your tips on buying baby things! Have a wonderful day and keep posting!

    Tara

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  2. Thanks for taking time to comment on my blog Tara. Yes the increase activity of hindutva groups is pretty disturbing indeed. I hope that those who find these serials disgusting and abhor what India is becoming morally will be heard more and more.

    I'm glad you are enjoying my blog too, I try to update as often as possible.

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