By this time, it's no secret that Bollywood as an industry is hella toxic. And given the grasp it has over our nation's population, its endorsement of sexist hegemonic propaganda is harmful on a socio-cultural level.
Here are 8 Bollywood double standards that are plain embarrassing:
1. The paparazzi address male actors as 'sir,' but female actors by their first name.
During the promotions of her new film, Ek Villain Returns Tara Sutaria revealed how male actors are often addressed as ‘sir’ by the paparazzi whereas the female actors are just called by their first names. She further added this pattern of behaviour comes from a general sense that the "man is greater."
2. Male nudity is appreciated, while female nudity is dismissed as promiscuity.
Recently a Redditor pointed out the stark difference in reactions to Ranveer Singh's Paper Magazine shoot and Esha Gupta's picture adorning a bathing suit. While the former was hailed for having confidence in his sensuality, the latter was greeted with vulgar abuses and perverted comments.
3. The wage gap.
Several female actors in the industry have called out the obscene and unfair wage gap between men and women for the same amount of creative input, that continues to riddle Bollywood. Kriti Sanon quoted, “I kind of feel that as much as it is unfair, the difference is not the problem, the difference is a lot and that’s the problem. My point is that a man doesn’t have to do it by doing a male-centric film, but sometimes a female has to prove it by doing a female-centric film and say that this is the audience that she has pulled in." Anushka Sharma said, “If there is an actor of the same stature as me, he would still be paid more than me because he is a guy. Men can work as long as they want to, but women are only okay till they are young and desirable.”
4. The age gap.
Much like the wage gap, the dramatic age gap continues to be an age-old Bollywood tradition. Former Casting Director Atul Mongia revealed in an interview, that the reason behind the normalisation of a radical age difference between male and female actors in a commercial film is simple: “It’s patriarchy," he claims, adding, “Women are objectified in commercial cinema. So, once they reach a certain age, or get married and have children, they don’t have enough appeal to them and they are no longer seen as women of desire."
5. False brand endorsements.
From junk food and detox teas to fairness creams almost all celebrities are guilty of unethically promoting brands and spreading false messages they don't believe in, in exchange for money.
6. Women get far less screen time than men.
Film after film Bollywood is guilty of sidelining women as props to the male lead. Will female characters never be more than an item song or an redemption arc for male heroes?
7. The film industry unites to celebrate pride, but never casts queer talent.
And the very few films that feature queer characters have cisgender heterosexual mainstream actors snatching the limelight from LGBTQ actors and playing the parts the belong to them instead.
8. The interviews are mind-blowingly sexist.
The blatant, unapologetic sexism shown by interviewers is emblematic of a patriarchal mindset that hails men as superior. Male actors are questioned on plots and character arcs while women are confined to what designer they're wearing and borderline messed up topics on dating life and quirky talents.
Will Bollywood take accountability?