Universal dominance of men in complex societies forces us to speak for empowering women. Till the end of nineteenth century, women have never occupied a position of higher status or greater political power than men in any society, anywhere, anytime. And, all the religious and mythological systems contain fictions to explain and justify the gender bias. Male domination has always been inherently social and it has not depended on individual characteristics! In India, The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, was enacted with the specific objective of prohibiting indecent representation of women through advertisement, publication, writing and painting or in any other manner.
Due to technology developments, internet, satellite based communication, audio-visual messaging etc constituted a new platform for doing disgrace to women. Hence, the Union Cabinet on October 11, 2012, made forwarding of pornographic multimedia messages from phones and internet liable for stringent punishment – imprisonment up to seven years with a fine upto Rs 5 lakhs. After making the amendments based on the recommendations of National Commission for Women, the Union Government stated “These amendments seek to ensure that more effective protection is provided against indecent representation of women by covering newer forms of communication like internet, multimedia messaging beyond the print and audio-visual media. This would aid in addressing the problem of increased objectification of women, thereby ensuring dignity of women”. More details are available at: www.ncw.nic.in/frmReportLaws04.aspx. In the given social structure, it is necessary for us to analyze every major social condition or process that has maintained women’s subordination at all levels.
Nirmala Kotravai, Founder, MASES – Movement Against Sexual Exploitation and Sexism, clearly emphasizes “In the name of radicalism and freedom, the male dominant ideological sphere of the modern era seems to treat women only as a product of sexual desire. Mass Media plays a very important role in ‘objectification’ of women. The sexist (characterizing based on sex classification as male and female) ideology in mass media is reflecting in advertisements, item songs in films and in the gender roles. Few magazines who identify themselves as ‘political weeklies’ also engage themselves in this sexual exploitation by publishing ‘exposing’ pictures of actresses in the middle pages or cover pages. The term modernization seem to give justification for such male benefiting, male readership targeted exploitation of women’s body. For the sake of ‘money’ Men objectify, women lend themselves to it, without realizing that it demeans the ‘self respect’ of women, it denigrates womanhood propagating that a woman is all about ‘flesh’ and ‘only flesh’. It is proving to be set back in emancipation of woman. These men and women have to realize that while the male dominant ideological sphere grants them freedom to expose does it empower the women in decision making? Does it empower them to enter politics; does it honor the 33% reservation? Do women have rights over their reproductive capacity? Tell a slave, he is a slave he will revolt, said Dr Ambedkar. Woman, modernization is converting you a modern slave, realize and revolt”. Further, Nirmala Kotravai clearly affirms “While we say Male dominance, one needs to understand that it is not about the dominance of an Individual Male but it is the ‘ideological’ structure which prevails in the society. This means that it is about the social structure built upon at the interest of Men assigning superiority to Men and propagates that Men are stronger and Women are weaker. There is no biological proof for such classification. Difference in characteristics is to be considered different and not as weaker”.