Despite being one of the biggest industries, Bollywood has never shied from displaying its sexist assumptions and beliefs, manifesting them in the form of songs. Bollywood is still unable to overcome the stereotypical representation of women by holding on to the use of such binaries in such sexist songs like the good versus the bad woman. The former is traditional, self sacrificing, chaste, controlled and oppressed but doesn’t believe in speaking up against her marginalization and the latter is westernized, individualistic, sexually aggressive and dares to break the norms.
The sanskari woman is celebrated while the rebel’s transformation is inevitably brought about by the realisation of the need to be sansakri, which entails nothing but adherence to patriarchal mores. Despite such depictions, the only way of luring audiences devised by the industry is to use the women and their bodies. Palpably women are nothing but decorative items playing sexualised roles in the Indian Film Industry. The only message that these movies can give off is that women are ‘things’ that men need and want while they themselves are incapable of desiring anything but to be desired.
Just like the bollywood movies, the songs are also not free of these sexist ideas. From songs like tu cheez badi hai mast mast to munni badnam and fevicol se, objectification of women is rampant and unapologetic. When dug deeper the songs that we love so much, can make you nothing but cringe. Here is a list of 5 bollywood songs released this year that can easily make you wince:
1. Sheher Ki Ladki
Like all of Badshah’s songs, the recreation of the old version of this song will leave you wondering ‘Why’. If the stereotyping of the ‘shaher ki ladki’ or city girl was not enough, Badhshah had to give those expressions that are nothing but nasty and leaves you recoiling. To make things worse, the woman refers to herself as a ‘caffeine ki goli’ that can leave anyone intoxicated and Badhshah goes to the extent of describing her body as something that men can’t help but scan and expresses a disappointment on their inability to touch her body, because of course women’s bodies are made for this very purpose and consent is nothing but an illusion.
Honey Singh is known for singing songs that are nothing but misogynist masterpieces. This song is no different. The song begins with the line ‘tujhe diamond jaise sambhal ke rakhna’- without feeling the need to realise that a woman needn’t be thought of as a commodity for her to be respected and also that she is not an object for men to keep and exhibit. In the song, Honey Singh calls himself a womaniser and hence regards himself a potential threat to any woman who comes close to him. Well, I guess instead of asking women to stay alert why not take a step and transform yourself?
3. Ek Chumma
Bollywood has been normalising stalking and eve teasing by popularising the idea that a ‘no’ is a disguised ‘yes’. This song is a perfect example of this widely held belief. In this song, one can see three men with a whole lot of other men and women dancing around asking the women to give them kisses in exchange of the fact that they saved them from goons. The men are seen as acting like desperate characters kissing one another when the women slap them when they forcefully kiss them. The cherry on the top is the women in question smiling, winking and somewhat teasing the men showing us that they actually enjoy such gestures from men.
4. Hauli Hauli
In the song, the woman calls herself a bad one because she is a ‘little naughty’ and does not feel shy in any given situation and since a bad girl is invariably one who will wear revealing clothes, the stage, where she is dancing, is filled with women showing off their skin except for Tabu, who is the traditional Indian kind in the movie and the men of course. The woman sings and dances along claiming that she is only dressed in this fashion for him. Reminds me of another cringe-worthy song from Haseena Maan Jayegi- ‘Chinti pahad chade marne ke waste Ladki kare fashion ladko ke waste’. Bollywood should already put a full stop to the rant that women can just dress up to impress men.
5. Chamma Chamma
This song from the movie Fraud Saiyaan is another remake that should never have been made in the first place. From describing the features of her eyes to her waist, the song has it all that makes it a perfect example of how women bodies are portrayed as sexual objects in the industry. The awkward dance steps only add to this and make the song appear even sleazier.
It is 2019 and bollywood is still unable to recognise and rectify its uni-dimensional portrayal of women. This narrow, short sighted and stereotypical approach is yearning to be done away with. Unless bollywood realises the far reaching consequences of these presentations, sexism will continue to thrive and be served in a platter to us to be enjoyed by the masses and taken at face value.
There a host of other sexist songs that may have made you cringe. You can let us know the sexist songs that you feel follow this trend.
Featured Image Source: Hindustan Times