Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues (Print ISSN: 1544-0036; Online ISSN: 1544-0044)


Exploring Gender Stereotyping as a Dimension of Indecent Representation of Women in Indian Media

Author(s): Sanjana Mittal, Shashikala Gurpur

 Media plays a pivotal role in not only reflecting the ideals of the society but also shaping them. Media consumers particularly that of audio- visual media, absorb its content as a way of life. In this increasing intervention of media in the lives of people, it becomes important that the media content is duly regulated, particularly, when it relates to representation of women. Laws such as The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, The Information Technology Act, 2002 etc. deal with the issue of indecent and obscene portrayal of women in media. However, the travesty of Indian legal system is that though we have a plethora of laws to address the aforesaid issue there are no measures of punitory justice for stereotyped and derogatory portrayal of women in media. Advertisements, soap operas and films tend to either sexually commodify women or stereotype them as the passive dependent sex who is submissive to the patriarchal norms, authorities and traditions. It is equally indecent to reduce woman to just an attractive body or attractive face alone. It is against the dignity and against the concept of equality between woman and man to constantly show her as subordinate to man. This form of indecency should also be considered objectionable. While, Indian jurisprudence has lacked majorly on this front, the International laws have directly or indirectly addressed the issue of gender stereotyping. Instruments such as Beijing Declaration have considered stereotyping as violative of women’s right to dignity and equality and promotive of gender-based violence. This paper tends to highlight this lacuna in the Indian legal system and how its menace can be tackled in the light of International legal directives in this regard.

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