Women and (popular) culture

When Nicki Minaj forgot she was an empowered woman:

I feel conflicted when catchy songs have terrible lyrics. If they worked so hard to make sure their song stuck in your head, they could have spent a little more time on their project and written better verses.

Take a look at this song Hey Mama by David Guetta Ft. Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha and Afrojack.

I find it problematic that Nicki Minaj, who is an influential woman of colour, would participate in the creation of such a song, which is propaganda for the unequal power structures that women have been trying to get out of. I could say a lot more about how younger girls might take these distasteful lyrics to heart and apply it to their own relationships, wasting time being concerned with “keeping their vagina sweet” while they should be out conquering their world.

When a love story fizzled out on Bigg Boss Tamil:

I was embarrassed to admit I watched Bigg Boss Tamil regularly, but that was a month ago. I feel no shame now, and I don’t seem to find it necessary to justify my voyeuristic tendencies by pretending to be interested in behavioural sciences. There is much to observe though, mostly along the lines of how vile and repugnant people can be, but we knew that already. I would like to discuss here the “love story” that was shown to us.

Girl and Boy find each other attractive, flirt a little, share some intimate moments. One of them possibly gets more involved than the other. For reasons the Boy doesn’t wish to divulge, he wants to call off whatever has been happening between them. Girl refuses to acknowledge his rejection and pursues him with more vigour than before. She follows him around, announces her affections and demands his attention.

Initially, I found it funny. At one point, I even thought he must have led her on for her to aggressively declare her intentions now. Serves him right? Eventually, I started growing uncomfortable. Assuming he had given her reasons to believe what they shared was real, once he admitted he wasn’t interested in furthering the relationship, it seems prudent to put the issue to rest.

And then I looked at the memes, that praised Girl for her true love, for refusing to take No as an answer. In this age of women dumping men and calling their lovers Anna [Brother] within moments, here is a woman who understands the meaning of True Love, they claimed. This frightened me a little, because these are also the people who will support a man’s True Love when he harasses the woman who ignores his advances.

As a people, we get carried away with categorizing women as sluts and goddesses. They are either the kind of despicable creatures who indulge in a bit of sex for their pleasure, or they are the respectable human beings from whose nether regions we sprung forth. We often forget women are everything in between too.

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8 thoughts on “Women and (popular) culture

  1. I have been following Big Boss actively. I have a slightly different take on the Oviya issue (even if I don’t agree with the attitude of the meme-makers!). From what was shown on screen, I felt that it was quite clear that Aarav led Oviya on and more than not taking a “NO” for an answer, she wanted him to be accountable for his words and gestures. He himself agreed (much to Kamal’s chagrin and amusement) that he kissed her. So, I felt that it was perfectly reasonable on her part to be hurt and offended. Of course, her subsequent actions could have been a lot more measured, no doubt. But I don’t think it was just unreasonable harassment from her end.

    But to the larger issue that you raise, I agree that equality and accountability should both be gender-neutral values. There are two things that always come to my mind when I think of gender issues:

    1. Anu Hasan wrote in her book that as a kid, she was never told to not do something on account of being a girl. It was only a question of whether it was the right thing to do. So, the girl vs. boy issue never came up in the advice that her parents gave her.

    2. Even some seemingly broad minded men that I know talk of how they ‘give’ freedom to their girl children or their wives. My Chinna Thatha always maintained that freedom was something that he didn’t have to ‘give’ his daughter. Instead, it was something that was rightfully hers and that as long as she was within the bounds of conscientiousness, he had no business to impede her freedom. As the Spidey line goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.” So I suppose, empowerment and accountability are two sides of the same coin.

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    1. I think we are more in agreement than not. πŸ™‚ I wrote: …he must have led her on for her to aggressively declare her intentions now. I agree that someone always gets hurt in these situations. Even if it was all a ploy to get him to confess, when a person expresses some dislike for your presence in their personal space, it is probably wise to take a step back. I felt worried that people who call this True Love will do the same when a man aggressively pursues a woman – and we all know how often this happens.

      This whole ‘giving freedom’ concept…I wish I had counted the number of times I have heard this in my life. This logic needs to be discarded. Interesting and impressive that your Chinna Thatha felt differently about this issue, when men my age are ‘allowing’ their wives to work.

      I have edited your first comment.

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      1. Even if it was all a ploy to get him to confess, when a person expresses some dislike for your presence in their personal space, it is probably wise to take a step back.
        –> True. And I agree with you that Oviya’s reaction shouldn’t be considered ideal behavior for spurned folks (men or women, it doesn’t matter). But the one thing that I noticed was that as immature as her reaction may have been, she was not vindictive, violent or dishonest. I just hope that she doesn’t hurt herself either. At the end of the day, it was just sad that all she had to say when Kamal asked her what she would say to the inmates was, “I love you, Aarav!”

        Just curious – have you seen “Ey! Nee Romba Azhagaa Irukke”? Not the most perfect film but for a film released in 2002, the theme – deal with rejection maturely – still holds relevance.

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  2. It probably goes to show how anti-social I am becoming that the whole affair elicits nothing more than a “meh”. I know what I have is a non-popular opinion, but does a man not have a right to not start a relationship or even break up?

    Ok, he kissed a girl. Maybe he did not understand that she will become mad after him. Maybe he did and didn’t care. Maybe he cares but she is not good wife material. I don’t mean that in the usual “who else has she been with” sense. I mean in the “My wife should be more mature than this” sense. I mean in the “I prefer my life partner to be less of a drama queen than this” sense.

    IF this man decided to make this a relationship and dump her at any time before actual marriage, he will be portrayed as a predator. Phew. I’d hate to be where he is right now.

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