Yesterday we wrote about the growing sexual harassment of woman in India, and today we have read in India’s Economic Times an angry editorial seemingly blaming movies and the machismo culture extolled in them for this increase.
“Given that many Indians take their style and lifestyle cues from the movies,” said the editorial, “will the censors decide to snip overtly suggestive interactions between ardent heroes and the reluctant objects of their reel-life desire in the bud to assuage, at least in part, some of the people’s anger against the crude machismo that appears to be leading to real-life molestations? That seems unlikely as such cuts would play havoc with storylines and song opportunities. Instead, the authorities could take a line from ad films with death-defying stunts and warn viewers during lascivious scenes not to do this at home — or in the street — as they are totally fictional, are performed by trained actors and are not meant to be prescriptive in any way. The least they can do, of course, is ban the practice of coyly describing all unacceptable and lewd behaviour, ranging from off-colour remarks to out-and-out assault, by the euphemism ‘eve-teasing’.
We are not entirely convinced based upon the available evidence that movies cause violence or harassment, but we are convinced that people do take “lifestyle cues” from popular cultural outlets. Censoring movies may not be the answer to this problem that we would like to see, but perhaps more sensitivity to the issue by moviemakers. In any event, seems like the issue goes well beyond the movies and has to be addressed at much higher levels and throughout all aspects of the society.