By Shaina NC
The latest season of a reality show has just been startled by the entry into the house of an adult entertainment star. This has quite expectedly confused the viewers, especially since the last entrant into the house was a social activist who sought to provide solace to the ‘emotionally disturbed’ inmates. To me, it seems that broadcast media would go to any extent to garner TRPs, even if that entails confusing the daylights out of an unsuspecting audience.
The entry of the adult entertainment star on the reality show has obviously elicited polarised opinions. There is one popular belief that this is a huge step towards maturity of the audiences and indeed of the Government that has sought to determine forever what is ‘wholesome’ for the audiences. A larger group believes that an adult entertainment star on a show broadcast during prime time is downright sacrilegious. Their viewpoint is predicated on the assumption that children constitute a significant proportion of prime time audience, and thus their impressionable minds would be susceptible to inappropriate content. This part of the population conveniently forgets that all content is available at the click of a button on the Internet. However, there’s more to the issue.
In this country, cinema (and television, in the past decade or so) has traditionally determined many aspects of popular culture. For decades, it’s widely believed that cinema and TV mirror reality and set up the debate on elements of social and cultural transformation. Regressive content, especially related to women issues, has been the general hallmark of programming. This has obviously distorted, quite severely, our attitudes towards sex and intimacy, and nourished our penchant for objectification of women. While this is a worldwide phenomenon, the problem seems more acute in this country.
My objection to the so-called ‘progressive’ step taken by the channel is a simple premise. One, it enhances the problem of objectification of women, especially in our socio-cultural context where perceived superiority of men and other such antiquated notions have created a climate of extreme insecurity for women. Such beliefs and practices are causing more harassment to women, and incidents of crimes against women are going through the roof. Two, my firm belief is that introducing controversial people on the reality show is a mere attempt to drive up the ratings of the programme. There’s a near-perfect positive correlation between programme ratings and advertising revenues. Is the channel even attempting to catalyse a transformation of long-held regressive attitudes and beliefs? I think not. While private channels are justified in taking calls that benefit their business, it’s unfortunate that they don’t realise their power to trigger off changes in the larger society. Catering to the voyeuristic tendencies of a sex-starved male audience blessed with distorted mindsets, can hardly be termed as responsible business practices.
But that’s a topic for discussion another day.
(You like this article? Please respond to [email protected]; The writer is a Social Activist and Fashion Designer)