House of Names : Women Objectification

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If women were to get a penny for each time they were called out names, the Indian economy would have had tremendous growth by now.

While we all are familiar to the usual tags based on our physique, our complexion, etc it’s the new additions that shook me up.I came across an Instagram post where a woman shared how a man casually called her MILF and she couldn’t get off the bed for days. She was shattered and ashamed. As men get creative with names, their bar of sensitivity and sensibility continues to move down.

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Men have continued to objectify women in various ways. While we are acquainted with the meaning of MILF, the objectification continues to sexualising familial relationships. From Aunty to Bhabhi, relationships turn into categories, however, if not visually they are surely a good source to staple misogynist jokes. From “saali aadhi Ghar vaali” to a show like “Bhabhi Ji Ghar par Hain” where both the neighbours try to impress each other’s spouses and women being unaware of the same. Men with their sleazy way continue with their copious fantasies oblivious to women’s consent, emotions or thoughts.

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Objectification of women has been a popular topic of discussion these days however delineating gender roles is one such practice that has still not been talked about. Women being used as an instrument for house management has been continuing from years yet is not considered as objectifying women. Being treated as per the Petrarch wishes and complying to do all the house work makes ” an ideal woman”. The role they are expected to perform is analogous to that of a maid or a baby sitter. It is the prerequisite of every marriage and fixed criteria to define every woman. Specially designed and curated by a group of hard core patriarchs are the tags given to women. How much a woman can speak to how much a woman can expose is equated to the bar of her character, and accordingly the suited tag is assigned.  Most of the women supporting the same criteria continue to follow the tradition concerning others. These stereotypes are expected never to be questioned. Similarly when one does they are termed as ‘Rebel’ ‘Uncultured’ or ‘Besharam’

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Jokes being the easiest source, are the most popular. From the traditional husband-wife and belittling women portraying their dumb driving skills, objectification continues to be a source of entertainment to Indian men. ‘Joru ka Ghulam’ is further a humorous expression as to how a man comfortable with his wife’s opinions, open to equal work is also described to be under preponderant of his wife. When women tend to challenge this jokes, the ‘cool macho’ replies “Don’t be such a feminist” “Tu toh dil par legyi” “You don’t understand humour.” It is an irony that men in our country aspire to control women while they joke about the opposite happening.

Although it is mostly media to be blamed for such objectification and stereotypes, it is the upbringing that is the principle. What child perceives in his childhood is what he becomes the successor to when he is an adult. The complacent attitude of women themselves is further to be blamed. Not only passiveness in their actions but lack of support and empathy towards other women as well the attitude is of total complacency along with a typical answer “Aisa hi Hota Hai”, ‘It’s how the society works’. A fire of Me too movement was extinguished due to similar reasons.

The fundamental level of respecting lies in one’s words, thoughts and actions. Cursing the rapists as you lie down for your wife or sister to serve the whole meal, forwarding that one misogynist joke is not how one respects one. Being conscious of one’s actions before blaming is what counts. Actions, Movements and Revolutions start from one thought, one house and one initiative. As a dialogue from ‘Mardaani 2’ points out “Barabari toh dur ki baat hai, Pehle izzatdaari toh mil jaaye”. 

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Mallika Barsaley
A 2nd-year student pursuing B.A.Programme with a knack of writing. A budding journalist and an all-time explorer. General Secretary of B.A.Programme Association of Kamala Nehru College.

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