Thursday, December 13, 2007

Of Biases

Something that offended me a great deal the other day - The cover of the latest issue of the outlook mag.

IT ruining Bangalore's culture or some such shit. And guess what the accompanying pic shows? A woman smoking a cigarette. To start with of course, a cig smoking woman is hardly representative of the IT industry in Bangalore. The women are a small minority, cigarette smoking ones a fraction of that minority.

But thats not the point.The point is that as a cover pic, a jeans clad woman smoking a cig seemed the best way for the morons who designed the mag, to show a threat to this city's culture.

As of course are sundry things that women can and cannot do, which make all the difference to this city's, country's and this world's fragile cultural heritage. Whether its cultural biases, religious biases, regional biases, its women who have to work hardest to preserve, women who do the most to offend, and women who are given the least rewards from the old systems.

I don't know what kind of prejudiced stone age bastards control the mass media, but I can tell you this, they make my blood boil and offend me mightily. Of course our sense of outrage is not worth much, we aren't a vote bank, and we aren't the high and mighty.

Its funny, some little known authors old , little read autobiography's handful of pages, makes front page headlines on the Hindu for a full week. There are repeated references to the offence caused, although god knows who is offended and by what. Chance references to cobblers and goldsmiths in songs, cause furore all over. So many people with such tender sensitivties , protected not so much by laws as by brute power. They are safe, they won't be offended any longer.

And in the meanwhile, the mass brain washing and chauvinistic propaganda continues unabated in the mass media. The hypocrisy and double standards. Women smoking OMIngosh! women drinking - serious threat! Woman raped? ah thats caused by loose moral character. Ever notice how that phrase has common currency everywhere - every newspaper, every article. Ever heard of a man of loose moral character? Does moral character even have anything at all to do with your sexual promiscuity or otherwise?

And there's hardly a murmur about how offensive and pervasive the whole attitude is. A few voices here and there, an occasional publication of short stories by Katha, some spleen on blogs and the occasional animated conversation over coffee once every few years, and thats about it.

Where are our voices ? When did I stop shouting from the rooftops that I am a feminist? That all I ask in the name of feminism is the same respect and freedom of choices that are given to other human beings, the ones with the XY chromosomes.


Arathi said...

i agree with u tht the cover is offensive. first of all i don't think b'lore had a culture to lose.

but for this kind of nonsense to stop, women have to stop taking shit.
one cannot expect change in others attitude, unless women bring abt change in their own attitude. but i think nowadays women are more thngs are getting better.

btw, as an aside, i agree with u on the namesake. i think the hype was too much.

Niranjan said...

Gosh! It must have been an effort of a lifetime to write all that in a single breath! I wont dispute any of the points, just a few joiners...

1. It is as equally bad for women to smoke as it is for men. Pregnant women should be more cautious, since they bear a to-be born. (Don't take it otherwise, it is purely for medical and human reasons). Passive smoking is another aspect that applies equally to both the sexes.

2. For the mass media it is very easy work to pick up such topics and publish a whole issue out of it. Even they are earning their bread, the way we are. Don't we code some trash... just to meet the deadline.

3. Murmuring? No times are changing. Every 'zabt' has a limit, beyond that it bursts. It has burst in the past, it will in the future... but only time will tell when...

Rohit said...


Not many choices - Forget it or go to war.

Tess said...

@Arathi - yes its important to at least shout occassionally! :)

@Niranjan - I guess we agree to disagree! besides as I said its not about smoking, its about the attitude . And yes someday it things will change I'm sure.

@Rohit - War war! off with their heads! ;)

Guruprasad Kini (Guru) said...

Easy lady, easy :).
No comments on the feminist points discussed here. But as for the article, it was very lamely presented. However, it did cover a few imp issues. Read Ashok Soota's and CNR Rao's articles on the cover story.
The very pic of some P3 gal smoking being passed off for "cultureless" techies echoes Soota's (neutral) commentary on the situation and his conclusion that the techies are not represented properly by the media because they never made an effort to come out in the open and negotiate their stand in the society.

Tess said...

well the post *is* about the feminist points, its not really about the article, just the cover. Even if I agreed wholeheartedly ( which i don't) that we degenerate techies are ruining culture, I would have an issue with that cover pic.

However the article is a long and separate debate in itself. Will chew over it for now.