The last few decades have seen tremendous changes in people's lifestyle all over the globe and particularly so in our own country. Globalization, market economy, and importantly rapid strides towards technological development has affected virtually all facets of life. With the advent and developments in communications, media has also undergone tremendous changes. Until a few years back it only comprised of morning gazette and stipulated radio broadcasts and sole television network that of Doordarshan. Only a mere reporting device has become a vibrant means of shaping,  molding and influencing public opinion. It's plays a huge role in creating social norms and guiding public.

However in spite of such rampant progress also, it still has not managed to do away with the typical stereotypes associated with women. Exceptions excluded but the fact still remains that by and large there is a much better scope of portraying women that too in a very realistic manner. There is no doubt media itself is confused on how it wants to see women.

On the one hand it has kept the "Mother India" image, where the woman is bound by customs, and responsibilities of her home and family. For example, even a contemporary advertisement like MOOV is based on this idea. It shows how the lady is doing all the housework and attending to the whims of her in laws, husband and children till she cries out in back pain. That is when everyone realizes her presence and the family passes her a tube of ointment and her husband applies it. But again the moments of respite are few. As soon as she is relived from the pain she is again bombarded authority orders. The docile and subservient nature is apparent, though not meant to be so perhaps.

Now, on the other hand, another image of women which has grown in recent years is the "Glamour Girl" image. This is something we have aped from the west. Think about it, we hardly come across an advertisement where we don't find a pretty model dressed all flowery beaming at us. Be it in a new car advertisement or simply a cold drink ad. Don't even get me started on the deodorant ads which animates the "Glamour Girl" a step further. The "Sexy Gal" image where women eye a good looking man entering the room and run towards him right after he uses the deodorant like as if it is aphrodisiac.  

In other words, the portrayal of women in Indian media oscillates between the "Mother India", "Glamour Girl" and "Sexy Gal". But what media does not project is how women are such serious contenders in professional fields like being a doctor, entrepreneur. They are equal partners in decision making. We have a large number of working women, and there is hardly any field that does not have women representatives. We have women administrators, entrepreneurs, doctors, police women, computer specialists, politicians and most surprisingly the entire media business is full of women practically performing all types of activities.

It is indeed very disappointing to see no changes in such a crucial aspect of our lives. For example, companies like Wipro, Infosys, IBM, Microsoft etc employ almost equal number of men and women. But when it comes to a TV advertisement regarding computers, we always find that it is mostly the projection of a man behind the monitor! The woman has to use ‘fair & lovely’ and wear a pink dress to become a cricket commentator.

There is no end to such examples and though “India is shining” and we have progressed by leaps and bounds, the fact remains that the usage of women as perceived in our country oscillates between these two extreme stereo types.


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