Posted by Fenil Seta
Subhash K Jha (DNA; April 12, 2017)
Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi, while addressing a gathering on rising violence against women at Goa Fest 2017 in Panaji, blamed movies for promoting sexual harassment.
It was a sentiment echoed by a few viewers, who had criticised the recently released Badrinath Ki Dulhania for glamourising stalking.
Not too long ago, an Indian security guard accused of stalking even avoided a conviction in an Australian court after blaming his actions on a passion for Bollywood movies.
Maneka said that movies have always portrayed the idea of sexually harassing a woman in order to win her love. According to her, such portrayals could actually promote violence against women.
We asked a few actresses if this was the case. Here’s what they had to say...
Bollywood, Hollywood and advertising objectifies women. In most instances, it is not the cause of crimes against women and the absence of it cannot be the cure either. Crimes against women (which I label violence against women) begins in the womb for most Indian women as most people would rather abort a female foetus and hope for a male heir. This was around since before Bollywood existed.
Maneka sounds just like the Khap Panchayat guy who blamed mini skirts for rape. Or the idiots who say chow mein and mobile phones are responsible for rape. Criminals are responsible for rape. A decent good man would never commit atrocities against women. By her logic, every man on the Censor Board should be a heinous threat to women since he sees films and that, too, without cuts.
It’s a sweeping generalisation to say that every Indian film shows romance that starts with stalking. Definitions change with times and in today’s lingo, a few films do show stalking as a legitimate precursor to romance. This needs to change and should start with actors being sensitised to their responsibilities as artists. No does not mean yes after a while! No means no! PERIOD! Young filmmakers like Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap and Dibakar Banerjee feel strongly about this and have taken a conscious decision along with others to not legitimise stalking in their films.”