20000 rapes in one year. Something is not right.
“Yeah, the law and order. It’s totally fucked man, they can’t even protect…”
Wait, wait. Something far deeper and far more subtle is wrong. What makes a rapist? How can he not respect a woman? How can he even think about making advances towards a woman? Is something out there, telling him something about women being mere objects? I thought every man learns to respect women when he is born because he has his mother and his sisters around while growing up. So what makes the things go backwards?
“Lack of education!”
“These fucking third class people…”
“Lack of awareness!”
“Government is not doing anything…”
Ah, lots of voices. Lack of education you say; ever thought about abundance of incorrect education? Hell, let me get straight to the point, what about movies, ads, dance bars? Or anything that objectifies women??
“Here comes another wannabe morale police!!!”
I beg of you to read on.
A movie is playing somewhere.
The hero hits on a girl at the bar. She doesn't pay heed to him but she is mildly pleased that someone is paying attention to her. It shows from her seductive smile. She walks out, he follows her. They come on a lonely road. He grabs her from behind, pins her to a nearby wall and starts kissing her. She resists but only for a second. That sexual arousal is hard to control. And she gives in. She returns the kiss passionately. THEY ARE IN LOVE.
Does this description match a movie? Or several?
“Dude, it’s a movie. Just a movie.”
Oh yes? You know it, I know it. Does everyone know it? Remember Ek Duje Ke Liye? Many couples committed suicide by jumping off cliffs as shown in the movie. Remember Shaktimaan? Remember children jumping off their terraces in the hope that Shaktimaan would save them? How can one be so foolish, after all it was just a movie!
Imagine a kid watching the film in description above. What impression does this scene make on a kid’s mind? Replace the kid by an ignorant, uneducated man. Does it change anything? What is being shown to him are girls who want to get hit upon, girls who are sexually deprived, girls who are ready to mingle even at the slightest opportunity. But is it the real picture?
I am not against movies. Movies are made to portray a reel life that people dream of living in. Movies are meant to tell stories which are different from mass reality, that’s what makes them interesting. But let’s face it, modern movie-making is more about exploiting viewers to make money than being the creative art it once was. Also what movies show is with the assumption that viewer can distinguish the line between reel and real. I know this. I am old enough and mature enough to understand this. Is everybody else?
Who’ll tell a kid what to take home from a movie or specifically what NOT to take home from a movie? Yes, I’m talking about parental control. Sadly in India, inspection of your kids’ activities is not something the parents take seriously. If there’s no one to guide him on the right path, how about trying to block the wrong paths, just to make sure that our generation doesn't follow the wrong path. Why are we so opposed to censoring a movie?
“But our freedom…”
Freedom? In the popular definition of freedom, parenting must be akin to censorship!!
We have a notion of precaution in medical terms. Precaution means taking measures to avoid falling ill until the danger passes. These precautions often restrict your normal habits, though we never see them as restriction of freedom. If you don’t take precautions, you are advised to be ready for the consequences. And converse is true too. If you are not ready for the consequences, you are advised to take precautions.
There are two ways of preventing an improper image getting imprinted on an immature mind. You tell the man, what’s real and what’s reel or what’s good and what’s bad. Or you can set up a body which according to general opinions of good and bad, blocks the bad content. And then there is a third way, a trade-off between the two; until the man is knowing enough and until the parents become aware enough to know how their kid perceives the world, censor objectionable contents that he may be exposed to.
“And who decides what’s objectionable and what’s not? What about our freedom getting crushed under biased or false censoring?”
I ask you, at night, would you not walk your girl-friend home and make sure she reaches safely? What if she wanted to go alone? Is it not a violation of her freedom? But no, you are being cautious because there is evil lurking in the corners. Until that evil vanishes you will continue to be cautious. That’s exactly how this works. There’s evil out there in form of unawareness and misleading influences. Until that evil passes what’s wrong in taking caution even if it means sacrificing your freedom a few times.
I do not underestimate the importance of stricter laws and swift law enforcement. But somewhere in the protests and demands, we are conveniently refusing to accept movies, TV and other media as potential educational medium. We are overlooking the fact that this medium is influencing our ill-educated mass and our next generation in a wrong way by showing men as predators and women as preys. We are selfishly shedding the responsibility that lies on us, that of creating a responsible generation.
To put forth the stark reality of this generation, everyone has friends who chat and joke about having sex with a girl they've just seen. I feel ashamed when my friends discuss such things but the reason that they are still my friends is because they know the line between a joke and reality. Does a rapist too?
Finally it all lies in what you value more, freedom that you wouldn't bother about for 99 out of 100 times or one life out of 20000 that might just get saved. Freedom of choice is all yours.
P.S. – People argue, “What will you achieve by blocking contents in movies. For our children, porn is at an arm’s length. Internet is taking over.” This is like saying, I’ll let that cockroach eat my cake because there are many cockroaches on the table. You try to protect what’s yours, in any way; your pride, virtues, dignity, culture, everything that defines you. And ‘you’ is not just an individual!
Again sex education and parental control is of utmost importance to tackle the issue of porn. But that demands a separate post. Another time.