– Anoushka Manidhar
India’s reproductive ratio is the blatant casualty and reality check in the new tussle on the topic of the appropriateness of the condom advertisements. The recent advisory issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on December 11, Monday has asked television channel to restrain the broadcast of advertisements showcasing condoms from 6 am onwards up till 10 pm. The decision is said to have been taken in the light of ‘indecency being showcased to children’ which can thus cause them to practice unhealthy habits.
By taking this decision of banishing condom promotion, the I&B Ministry has successfully invited the hazard of abolishing public health necessity in a country of more than 1.3 billion. The shadowed showcase of condom ads after-sunset and the so-called adult content has high chances of backfiring in the long run.
As a young individual of the 21st century, all I feel towards this decision is dismay. It is important for us to understand that most condom advertisements not just in India, but across the globe are sexual in presentation and nature simply because they deal with sex. Rather safe sex, to be more precise.
Although a section of viewers stated that they do not object the intended message that is being conveyed through the condom advertisements, but their sensibilities do tend to get disturbed due to the apparently provocative content and presentation of the advertisements.
While it is a fact to be accepted that India as a society and mass continues to be majorly conservative, however, it is equally important to agree with the point that ‘revealing’ and ‘provocative’ content can hardly be censored in this modern age of the internet. Rather than banning the advertisements on condoms, the ministry could have chosen to focus more on conveying the message of ‘safe sex’ than the brand itself.
Meanwhile, if the government intends to convey a noble and right message to the country’s children, they must also give a serious thought to ban or regulate these:
- ITEM NUMBERS
While condom advertisements may be considered indecent, what is even more disturbing is to see a young kid singing the rather suggestive lyrics of the song ‘Munni Badnaam’ and ‘Sheila Ki Jawani’. The metaphorical ‘Badnaam Munni’, ‘Jawan Sheila’ and ‘Chikni Chameli’ are free to do all that they please but if condom ads are provocative for Indian children, then these songs surely aren’t far behind. Because they are definitely giving the kids a wrong and dismantled idea about relationships and sexuality.
- GLORIFYING THE ACT OF STALKING
Consent, it is a word that means to agree or allow. However, our fellow countrymen seem to be largely evaded from its meaning. The act of stalking is not just creepy but is also most likely to take a toll on the emotional, mental and physical health of the person being stalked or rather called the ‘victim’. It is a serious case of the violation of the fundamental right to privacy of an individual of a republic country like India. Movies must take a serious stand against glorifying stalking and at no cost should promote it.
- PUBLIC URINATION
Peeing in public, Well I have just this to say;
One word – gross.
Two words – ban it.
Three words – don’t do it.
- FAIRNESS ADVERTISEMENTS
It will always be a mystery to me and continue to surprise me that in a country like India, whose majority of the population has a dark skin tone, the highest number of fairness advertisements are presented. Indian men and women are known to have a dusky complexion which is most often ridiculed by themselves. Indians for a long time have been guilty of holding a fetish for fairness. Due to the constant presentation of dark skin tone individuals being shown as depressed and unsuccessful, and fair skin tone individuals as happy and successful, young kids grow up to hate their own skin complexion. They are from an early age ambushed with the vague idea of the sole reason for their failure being their skin tone. ‘Use a fairness cream and voila! Fortune and love shall follow. This is not just pathetically ridiculous but also depressingly regressive.
- BODY SHAMING
Honestly, who amongst us has not been the unfortunate recipient of the ‘you’ve put on a little weight’ comment from our close ones? And god forbid if you’re thin, you would have had the privilege to hear ‘you’re stick thin, don’t you eat?’. Just when someone thinks that they are in perfect shape, some or the other comment is slammed finding faults with the appearance. If you’re not being called aft, then you must be called anorexic. I mean seriously, we need a break. Media has most often projected a vaguely outlandish image of the perfect body and this has led to the country’s children practising dieting at a young age. However, it’s time that they are taught that flowers come in all sizes and shapes and they are all undoubtedly beautiful.
Vamps on our big screens and TV sets are often women who are extremely confident of their sexuality. While the ‘hero’ has no qualms bedding these women, he ultimately always goes for the ‘pious one’. What does that teach children? That, people, should be afraid of their sexuality and hide it away? This is the same argument that politicians who advocate ‘proper clothing’ for women follow.
- TOXIC MASCULINITY
This is for our men to take note of. Men too sometimes are the unfortunate victims of the patriarchal structure that leads them to believe that they must behave in a certain way to be considered ‘macho’ and ‘real men’. Impossibly unreal body standards are set for men to follow meanwhile being taught to dismiss their emotions. It is the need of the hour to teach our young boys that they don’t all need to be Batman or Superman and that it is completely okay for them cry. They must know that crying is our body’s most natural instinct that we have unfortunately for long denied them to pay heed to.