Indian TV Depict Women As More Than Just Roti-Makers
Being unfamiliar with the Delhi gang rape that took away the life of an innocent young woman in 2012 would mean being ignorant of one of India’s major tragedies. The heartbreaking incident has sadly only struck a few Indians to wake up and realize that the prominent issue of rape needs to be taken care of. After the incident when, “headlines screamed, feminists organized, politicians promised change — at times it seemed as if the whole country was demanding a new future for its women,” it still seemed as if little was actually being done to improve the state of society for women.
One effect the major incident of rape had on the people of India is that TV shows began to show more feminist point of views. Indian television dramas are extremely popular throughout India, reaching 246 million households, so trying to pass on a powerful message can be done fast and efficiently. These shows have certainly come a long way from before the incident, when television shows depicted roles for women as the loyal daughter-in-laws or as housewives in a patriarchal home. Women are finally being shown in these shows as taking on roles that perhaps before would have been seen as absurd and caused the show to become unpopular. Women are shown taking control, questioning authority, fighting for their rights, taking on personas that are unaccepted by society, and even showing family and friends that they are capable of doing things much more important than staying at home making rotis and doing laundry.
A famous television show, “Diya Aur Bati Hum”, shows a woman defying her family and pursuing her dream of becoming a police officer. What’s even more mind-blowing is her husband, who is actually shown supporting her and resisting the opinions of society to help her become the police officer she always wanted to be. He goes against his own mother’s will and is determined to help his wife. Often in India women quit certain foods for the well-being of their husbands, but this particular husband is shown doing the same for his wife, despite the mockery from society. Sometimes in order to promote social change one has to first go against the norms. Kovid Gupta, a screenwriter who worked on numerous Hindi serials in Mumbai states, “I disagree that we’re just here to entertain — if we’re not driving social change, we’re not doing our job.” Indian television shows are finally encouraging women to step up and are revealing what women are capable of when allowed to pursue their dreams and not be forced into a clichéd life of simply making rotis in the kitchen. Women are more than capable of standing on their own two feet and limiting them to few roles in society is not only insulting, but can prove to be a great loss.
Any woman can do what the woman in “Diya Aur Bati Hum” did, not just one who is given a script and role in a show. But in order for women to be allowed to live to their fullest potential, there must first be a great change in how society perceives them.[Image Attribute: Kirsten]