by- Aishwarya Shree Sharma

The scene is set, a woman walks out of the ocean onto beach, she is dressed in merely a red bathing suit, which instantly reminds me of Pamela Anderson running on the beach in ‘Baywatch’ , with  a hungry sexy look in her eyes , she wants you, and she wants you to buy the, wait for it – CEMENT SHE IS ENDORSING. The voice over speaks ‘Vishvaas hain isme, kuch khaas hain’, and on the other side of the screen is me, absolutely stunned, a woman in a bathing suit, on a beach, endorsing what- CEMENT!

I had heard of objectification of women in the media, but the above advertisement completely sent my mind for a toss. The above which is an advertisement is for J.K. Cement one of India’s leading cement manufacturer, I found it not only difficult but very challenging to draw a connect between a woman in a bathing suit and cement, I felt as if they were questioning my intelligence. This brings me to a very important question- Who is the Indian Woman? The increase in women endorsing products in India only grows everyday. The Indian woman today sells from creams, lotions, to cement! With absolutely no connect between the product and the woman, she is often seen in a compromising position. Be it the absolutely hilarious Amul Cool thermocot ‘THANDI’ advertisement (where I incurred that only a man needs warmth where as the woman doesn’t need a sweater at all), or the Tanishq advertisement, where the girl agrees to marry as she can buy whatever jewelry she desires,   or merely a woman on a beach wearing a bathing suit endorsing cement.

Where does the Indian woman stand today, most of the movies in our country today thrive on that one ‘SEXY ITEM NUMBER’ where the actress is seen raunchily dancing to a song with  the most taseteless lyrics. Even if the movie is terrible itself, the song ensures that at least the first day will have enough seats occupied (Who can forget Tees Maar Khan and Sheila Ki Jawani.), or when the chief minister of Delhi (Sheila Dixit) says that a woman is being ‘adventurous’ by driving at 3 am all by herself (murder of journalist Soumya Vishwanathan), I find it very hard to draw a clear picture of the Indian woman. Is she liberated? Is she a go getter? Or is she a puppet in the hand of the media-merely an object.  

Coming from Delhi myself I have often been asked- is the city safe for women? How was it growing up in Delhi being a girl? Living 3 years in Mumbai, I have only come down to one question – Is India safe for women? With more and more media messages everyday pouring in which talk loudly about the brave Indian woman, I find it very hard to convince myself. Everytime a man brushes against me in broad daylight, I know that every show on Colors has been proven wrong, or when a woman talks loudly about how she enjoys sometime between the sheets and is sneered it, I know wildstone woman has been proven wrong, or when I attempt to drive against a man in a car and accidentally over take him, I know Priyanka Chopra’s scooty pep advertisement stating ‘why should men have all the fun?’ has been proven wrong. The only thing I would like to tell Priyanka Chopra, and her preppy friends on their obnoxiously coloured two wheelers is that- The gospel truth is men have been having fun, and will continue to have fun.  A country where we find it hard to acknowledge a woman for her achievements, and would rather settle for her figure, face, or the family she can raise, I am only angered by what I see everyday.

With the Indian media growing everyday I only see a greater distortion in the messages, is the Indian Media creating an unrealistic image of the Indian woman? are we creating a glossy world for the Indian woman, where she is later to be deprived of her aspirations? Or is the Indian woman merely a tool in the hand of the media to grab that 2 seconds of eyeball attention?

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