Opinion

What celebrities, media and fans needs to learn from India’s MeToo movement

MeToo

After the storm of MeToo movement which has shaken half of the Indian film industries till now,thanks to the courage shown by actress Tanushree Dutta by standing up against Nana Patekar again.Her courage and the overwhelming support she has been able to receive this time should be credited for the beginning of a mighty movement which was a long overdue for Indian cinema.The celebrities who are being added to this hall of shame list is growing exponentially with every passing day. But what is the takeaway from a movement like this,especially for celebrities ,media and fans in general.

Need of humanizing celebrities :

Most of the people who made accusations have maintained their anonymity.One of the main reasons for this is the huge number of fan following enjoyed by these accused celebrities and the powerful support system from legal to political side.Most of the accusers also belong to the less powerful and successful category with respect to their career barring few exceptions.One of the reasons for their anonymity and fear could be due to the fact that without proper evidence it would be hard to face these huge celebrities in life as well as in court and might end up being isolated and jobless. Even though people from film fraternity used to enjoy huge amount of support over the years, after the inception of social media, the amount of fan following has clearly multi folded and has created a cult of mad followers who will go to any extent to defend their heroes. Smart marketing strategies of big production houses along with news hungry media should also be blamed for indirectly promoting this kind of sheer madness and blurring the lines between their off screen and on screen persona. So there is a need of humanizing these celebrities and need to look at them in a more subtle and casual manner.

Hypocrisy :

A good thing that has happened with MeToo is that hypocritical side of film industry people has come out along with dark side of few people. Whatever they might say it, it is tough to believe that industry people including both male and female actors and technicians were not aware of this dark side till now. Truth is that half of the people were enablers of such celebrities and other half stayed quite either due to professional jealousy or due to lack of strength to stand up against them. So there is need to understand that nothing is clearly black or white as for as industry people’s attitude in this matter.

False Accusations :

On the flip side, there is a huge chance of using the platform for settling personal scores. With gossip mongering people and media waiting to get the most out of MeToo buzz, several factors including personal enmity and professional jealousy could lead someone to make a false allegation as well. So there is a need to understand the difference between allegations made by those who have revealed their identities and are ready for a legal battle and the ones who wished to remain anonymous. Until proven in court, everything will remain as allegations only.

Side effects :

Most of the accused till now are those whose hands are full with several big projects. After the revelations many personal and professional relationships have been affected and there will a huge amount of awkwardness at the working space at least for a while.Career of most of the people who are currently being thrown out of their current and future projects are at stake. Most of the people in southern film Industry, which has always been speculated as a place of secrets and compromises are waiting for the movement to die down soon.Even the fan-frenzy and spineless media has largely remained silent on the matter as they clearly understand the consequences of covering a news on big names.

What’s need to be done ?

  1. Sexual Harassment clause must be included in the project agreement.
  2. Legal and financial aid along with enough protection must be provided for accusers who are willing to fight the battle.
  3. More transparency and gender diversity during auditions to avoid casting couch cases.
  4. Strict legal actions against false accusations and more gender neutral laws to protect both genders from such accusations.
  5. More clarity regarding the difference between harassment and casual behavior , because every type of behavior is currently being put under the same category of sexual harassment.
  6. It might sound offensive, but women need to respect their body and stop using it as a short cut to success. This number might be very less, but it has clearly contributed a lot in constituting a preconceived notion of women in the industry.
  7. Film makers and actors might not agree with this, but the way women are being shown on the screen will definitely have an impact on the way they are being treated in real life. Film makers and actors involved in body shaming dialogues,sleazy item numbers, rape jokes, multiple heroines for a single hero, need to realize the influence of their craft on society.
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