Tuesday, September 30, 2014


They say,"media reflects the society" and I say, "true that". They know what to serve you and me. Its the commercial world of earning fame and profit. For example, a restaurant serves you what taste you the best, irrespective of your health and hygiene. In the same way, media serves you what you like. Media has some ethics to follow, but they smartly put veil on their ethics. The sizzling and recent controversy of Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone with media has gathered lots of attention on Facebook, TV and twitter. 
One of the popular and well known newspaper of country shared Deepika's picture highlighting her cleavage from top angle with camera. The picture then later uploaded on twitter with caption "OMG: Deepika's cleavage show!". The next moment more than 2 millions of twitter followers saw the post. In an hour the picture started being shared, and in the next, it blown out as a controversial media coverage. The way Deepika reacted was no surprise, it was natural, any woman had done the same. It is now a market trend to spice up any content to have a good bounce. The way advertisements, news, and of course media is hyping the content, shows their greed of popularity. And now we can say, every thing is fair in love, MEDIA and war. On one hand, they are talking about women empowerment and on the other, we see some stupid CLEAVAGE COVERAGE. Its not a single issue, we everyday read personal issues of celebrities, fake and hyped intentionally.  Wait, but why do we read them ? Some of us will be thinking,"because media publish it".  But, I should ask those people again, why do media publish such news ? The answer might be first line of this article. The reason of change in media strategy from "satyamev jayate" to "sex sells" might be the public only. Is it ? We must think WHY.

About the author: Anshu has been an active member and fellow of Sauhard since last 1 year. He is a final year student of Economics and frequently writes over current issues.

Was it worth a news? : Vishakha Gandhi

We live in the 21st century. a time when finally women find their way out from dark days and rise, they empower themselves and equal the opposite sex. they do not demand, but command respect, and they do get it. but the irony here is, that some people still manage to ridiculously fail to change themselves. to prove my point, is a occurrence that happened a few days ago. many of you tweetards and Facebook users must know about the infamous article namely "OMG: Deepika Padukone cleavage show" from a leading newspaper and the outburst by her that followed. this was infact a very shallow attempt made by a newspaper website to attract the readers attention by bringing out a year old article and headlining it, and the outburst by the actress was totally justified. A cleavage show is definitely not wardrobe malfunction, but even if it is, no person or newspaper gets the right to make headlines out of it. this is not something that actresses and glamour models do on purpose, you could also let it go instead of purposely circling it or pointing arrows to it and highlighting it. yes, we marvel, drool and envy over a male actors 8 pack abs, but do we zoom in on a mans crotch when he makes a public appearance and make that "cheap headlines"?
An actor is supposed to respect his/her profession and wear what the role demands. And it is the choice of the actor whether pr not they take the role.
If they do, it is their job to portray the character they choose to play, convincingly.
the problem with media is that they do propagate the character being played, and not the real person.
It is not about a persons private parts being reported. it is a matter of context and how out-of-context the reportage is just to sell a headline. And that too in a time when we severely need to change our attitude towards women.
About the author: Vishakha is a fresh fellow at Sauhard and is a first year student of Economics.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Not just cleavage, also a backbone to support it: Husnaa Baig

This may not be the first time, and definitely is not the last time when provocative and sexual gestures, remarks, images are being used as a medium to attract attention. Similar is the case of the video published by the national newspaper The Times Of India on their entertainment page which was titled, “OMG: Deepika Padukone’s cleavage show.” The title itself is begging for attention and this is what journalism has now come down to. 

Deepika Padukone, the famous actress who made her debut alongside the King of Bollywood Shahrukh Khan, has come out all guns blazing to put an end to this silence which may have been taken for granted by the Media houses. Deepika Padukone has proved that she has a backbone to support her cleavage which started all of this controversy. She has replied to the tweets stating, “YES!I am a Woman.I have breasts AND a cleavage! You got a problem!!??,”. She also posted a screen shot of the video by TOI and tweeted: “Supposedly India’s ‘LEADING’ newspaper and this is ‘NEWS’!!??” and “Dont talk about Woman’s Empowerment when YOU don’t know how to RESPECT Women!”

This is the point where the Media house could have redeemed itself by making an apology, as Deepika is not concerened about the video footage, but she has a strong objection to the title of the news. These tweets acted as a fuel to the fire and then the leading daily came out with a shocking reply to all the concerns raised but failed miserably and have further objectified these actresses as sex toys. Times of India (TOI) reacted, without mincing words, that is-”Deepika, we accept your reel vs real argument, but what about all the times, and there have been many, when you have flaunted your body off screen - while dancing on stage, posing for magazine covers, or doing photo ops at movie promotional functions? What ‘role’ do you play there? So why the hypocrisy? What’s equally hypocritical is that several media outlets have freely displayed Deepika’s cleavage even as they sounded all outraged on her behalf. Surely they could have reported the story without those pictures?”
The national news house did not stop there; it further asked a few questions. “We have always campaigned against the moral police. We believe there’s no shame in Deepika showing off her body, but does she now want us to first check with her as to which pictures of her - taken at public events - we can or cannot publish? Are we going to have a parallel censor board for pictures of film stars taken off screen but in plain sight of the world, as Deepika’s was? It’s not as if the pictures were shot with hidden cameras, or that someone sneaked into her home, invaded her privacy, and took those pictures without her knowledge/permission.”
Now amidst all this #IStandWithDeepikaPadukone has started trending on Twitter and the actress support is pouring in for the celebrity for locking horns with the Times of India. Thousands of people, especially from the Bollywood industry are condemning the media house.
This is not a stand-alone case, it has been led to this point by our ignorance and silence of the past years and hence we see this day. Not long ago in a separate case a journalist asked Parineeti Chopra about the fact that when girls are young, they “enjoy it” and when they become mature, they shout at men about the same thing. Clearly he was talking about sex or male attention in general, but his question missed the mark and received a fitting response from the young actress. Although, in the current case The Times Of India has become the scapegoat in this case, yet this is not the only media house to be blamed. Media has a crucial responsibility in shaping our consciousness. Our media is more powerful than we can ever imagine, it can help transform a Porn actress to become Bollywood actress and it can degrade a Bollywood actress to become a porn star. This is so because we have supported our media in objectifying our women.  Although some may say that the entire film industry nowadays is thriving on sex to make the sale, yet it does not give the right in the hand of the News giants to debase the acting professionals.
Some may believe that amid all this controversy, both the media house as well as Deepika Padukone are winners. As this has acted as a publicity stunt for the actress whose film ‘Finding Fanny’ has released recently and further the promotion for Shahrukh Khan Starrer ‘Happy New Year’ is in full swing. This controversy simply highlights the fact the today’s society portrays women in a mortifying manner and objectifies them as a sex object for their physical appearance rather than for the talents.
We may be on a brink of an outbreak towards the media. After the demeaning response from The Times Of India, the silence has been broken by many from the acting fraternity. This is just the tip of the iceberg and we may see more fingers being pointed in the days to come. Here’s hoping that people in powerful positions understand the enormity of their voices and make them vocal at the right places for the right cause.

About the author: Husnaa is a first year Psychology student and likes to contribute ideas and opinions through the medium of articles and blogs.

Friday, September 26, 2014

OMC!! (oh my cleavage): Shruti Chaturvedi

Cleavages are making headlines for quite some time, especially in the last few weeks. Recently, Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone sparked a debate on media and society objectifying women. For all those who do not know about the controversy, here is the long story cut short: 
Times Of India, India's leading daily newspaper, had posted a video from their Twitter handle @TOIEntertain about actress's apparent display of cleavage, headline of which read: "OMG! Deepika Padukone's cleavage show". The video shows Deepika in a white anarkali dress, camera focusing from top, with a constant red arrow pointing on...ehh..her cleavage.
To which, the actress gave a series befitting replies and Re-tweets from her supporters on her Twitter handle @deepikapadukone where one of them read,"YES! I am a woman. I have breasts AND a cleavage! You got a problem!!??" 
To which, @TOIEntertain tweeted to the actress saying the video was posted with an intention to compliment the beauty.
To which, Padukone released a 'Point of View' where she pointed on how it is high time we must stop objectifying real women. 
To which, Times Of India's supplement, Bombay Times released a half page full'Dear Deepika, Our Point of View'  where they asked Deepika to do away with hypocrisy and the other half with actresses photographs she had voluntarily posed for showing ample amount of her cleavage. 
This worsened the issue, which comes with its own logically inductive folds, at the first place. 
Firstly, thank you Ms. Padukone for standing up.
Millions of Indians, including celebrities, are voicing out their opinion on social media on the issue. Every newspaper web has this controversy covered. 
After analyzing various 'opinions' and Deepika's screenshot of cleavage-showing video, I came to a major conclusion: I have seen it before. And not just of Deepika's but of various other actresses. 
Headlines about actress's wardrobe malfunctions, cleavage show or inner wear pops aren't new for us. Infact,had she not written about it on her social media account, not many of us would have even noticed it with wide eyes.
(At the time of the controversy, she had 7.3 million followers, The Times of India had 2.58 million followers. To join the league, there have been other news dailies like DNA with 3,60,000 followers and Hindustan Times with 1.17 million followers, who didn't miss taking advantage of brutal bashing of their competitor. Hence the news became difficult to ignore. Thankfully.) 
Second, thank you Times of India. For educating people about the location of a cleavage and how it can make one go OMG! thanks to your omnipresent red arrow. 
Today, however, was the saddest day for Indian Journalism after TOI released their point of view, something which seem to be completely missing the point. While on the first place, as usual as they might make it sound, TOI shamelessly sensitized people about the cleavage. They went on with the sub-headline questioning "Was Deepika's hypocrisy for publicity?". Below which, there was another subtext that announced, "(Below are) Pictures of Deepika that she got shot volutarily in real". Which they think, made their stand strong with parallel logic to 'We raped you because you were a prostitute anyway!' I will not comment about the political correctness of their logic and statement, you are the best people to do that. Again, the most interesting part of this picture is...guess..YES! The red arrow again, which yet again points towards her cleavage reminding us, for those who may lose their way, that the cleavage is located on the chest.
The TOI's opinion, in my opinion, is not just insulting and defamatory but reminds us of our patriarchal culture that shames women for their own body. TOI questioned how Deepika even had the guts to question them given that she herself started her career as calendar girl. So? Well, damn you logic! 
In the middle of the entire issue, it is also difficult to ignore the time of the controversy. Disclaimer: No claims will be made here, whatsoever. TOI mentioned that video was on the web for more than a year. This makes it interesting. Why the problem after 2 days of releasing Finding Fanny?Agreeing to the view that this might be just a co-incidence, then the PR of the film really comes with lucky stars on their sleeves. 
In Deepika's Point of View,there is a brief mention of her upcoming role in Farah Khan film, which I find was very unnecessary. The note would have still been as powerful without its mention.

I believe that by using 'this is how media has always been' or 'this is how film industry functions' as an excuse to justify what TOI has published would be sensible. To bring the greater change, issues need to be picked up, one at a time.
For those claiming that the pedagogy of online journalism justifies such sensational headlines need to give a look at non-mainstream media houses that are working perfectly fine without it. 
I wouldn't judge as to who is being benefited more of the parties involved, I am heartily thankful this happened, for whatever purpose. For the other media houses, for the time being, would refrain from alleged objectification. For the people have themselves come out to think and speak about what is right and what is wrong. 

About the author: Shruti Chaturvedi, is a student of Psychology. A quirky Tumblr and Twitter addict, she aspires to make this world Psycho-Politically correct.