More Tabloid Misogyny from TOI

Deepika Padukone, Times of India, Objectification

How low could one of the worst popular tabloid newspapers in India go? Well  apparently a lot more lower than we had imagined. I don’t think I have to mention the whole incident again, you can read a summary of events here (and here’s a good piece on victim blaming and misogyny in light of recent events, viz. Deepika-TOI incident and victim blaming and harassment against Suzette Jordan).

It’s one thing to engage in complete violation of privacy, objectification and dehumanization of women through tabloid journalism, it’s worse when you ask a woman to “take it as a compliment 😉 ” when she explicitly said that it’s dehumanizing and objectifying, but it’s a whole new level of douchebaggery when you follow it up with horrendous trite like this.

It’s basically entirely built on implicit slut shaming, and then rationalizing their shitty story. First they go on to rationalize their headline saying how sensationalized headlines aren’t uncommon (which was literally “OMG, Deepika Padukone’s Clevage show”) and then they dissect photoshoots Deepika had voluntarily taken part in, in an extremely crass and distasteful manner.

I think supposedly “one of the largest media houses in the world” would have people with half a brain to figure out the obvious, that she chose to voluntarily pose for those pictures, she felt comfortable about those. That’s her choice. We don’t even have to get into the murkier area of modelling industry/Bollywood etc. promoting objectification. This is clear as a crystal, and I’d have thought even if they were on a cocktail of heroin, meth and cocaine, they still would’ve been able to join the dots here.

But oh no – you, instead, poked into her real life, violated her privacy, and posted picture of her breasts in utterly dehumanizing way. The difference is as huge as harassing a woman and paying her a compliment. The original “article” was not only dehumanizing, but when it was pointed out to you multiple times, you still keep rationalizing this, and pile more misogynistic bullshit on top of that instead of, at the very least, offering a wholehearted apology and retraction. In fact, this new article explaining “their side” is so explicitly misogynistic, that the initial article pales in comparison.

But hey, by all means when a woman tells you how you feel dehumanized, you blame and shame her further and call her an attention whore (“Was deepika’s hypocrisy for publicity?” – nice touch).

Well done TOI, you’ve officially downgraded yourself further from the already horrendous TOIlet journalism you champion.

18 responses to “More Tabloid Misogyny from TOI

  1. This article justifies DPs words/ out pours ones anger without analyzing situation from all angles. Very poorly written I would say.

  2. “Well done TOI, you’ve officially downgraded yourself further from the already horrendous TOIlet journalism you champion.”

    Summarizes it perfectly. No ethics left in them.

  3. Surely there are other better things to do than bash a useless paper and a useless actress who suddenly considers herself a symbol of Indian feminism. TOI sells what Deepika produces. If Deepika considers doing better roles in her movies, TOI will have no claim to objectifying her. She objectifies herself with her work, her superficial characters which are aimed at titillating average male consumer of movies.

    I’m not saying she doesn’t have a right to her opinions or her dressing sense. I’m just saying, she cannot bring in Women Empowerment in this equation. It’s exploitation of a concept. What has she done for Women Empowerment that she’s trashing TOI?

    If Deepika wants to be respected as a woman, she should earn it. She should not project an image of women as a consumer good in her movies.

    Or perhaps she’s just dumb enough not to know when she is herself producing what TOI is selling.

    A friend wrote an article to this effect:

    Just a last word… if Deepika is representative of modern Indian women, I’m sure no one will consider women seriously in a misogynistic country of ours. I would rather respect Saina Nehwal, who runs across a court, breaks into sweat, and brings home a medal to stand in place of Deepika and talk about Women Empowerment.

    Deepika just shifted the focus of whole conversation to defend her dressing sense, which did not need any defense in the first place! A simple defamation lawsuit would have sufficed! But probably that wouldn’t have generated such publicity.

    • Do bollywood movies objectify women? YES. But that’s a different discussion entirely. You could well be critical of objectification that goes on in Bollywood movies. That DOES NOT MEAN you get to dismiss what a woman, who’s part of that industry, says she felt dehumanized and objectified in her REAL LIFE. You don’t question her intentions, because it doesn’t MATTER. Just posting a picture of her in a public event clevage with caption “OMG Deepika Padukone’s clevage show!” is dehumanizing. And when she spoke about it, she was met with further rationalizations. I don’t have to consider her a “feminist role model” or “symbol of Indian Feminism” (which I don’t) to see that it’s not remotely okay to be dismissive of her word regarding how SHE felt objectified and dehumanized. I don’t even know why this is so hard to understand.
      As someone brought up a reasonable analogy above, it’s like saying sex workers have no right to complain about harassment or rape.
      And no, there’s nothing to be “earned” here FFS – when you are treated like meat for born a woman – that “respect” is called treating women as human, and I don’t think any women ought to “earn it”. The whole thing smacks of victim blaming still, just as the TOI article. A repackaged version of “she was asking for it”.

  4. Trust me mate, I knew them more than a year back. I was a regular reader of their news website couple of years back, commenting on their articles and stuff. But some of them made no sense at all. They weren’t qualified to be news. It’s been a year and a half and I don’t use TOI website or newspapers anymore.

  5. Does Bollywood objectify women? YES
    Does Deepika objectify women when she does her “roles”? YES
    Does Deepika objectify women when she does real photo-shoots (not roles)? YES
    Is Bollywood a contributor to the objectified image of women? YES
    Is Deepika also in a way responsible for the objectification of women? YES

    Now since we are clear on these facts lets not join the common fad it is today to immediately draw moralistic, ethical judgments on either side too quickly. The discussion has to be focused on the con-sensuality of the original photo.

    Have there been pics with permission glorifying her cleavage? YES
    Have there been pics before which encourage people to focus on her body parts? YES
    Are people wrong to focus on her cleavage (taken with her permission) and drool over it? NO of course! Thats what she wants so she could earn the moolah!. Also she herself has said that she drools on Shahrukh 8 pack abs.
    Was permission taken for this particular (TOI one) cleavage pic? NO
    Hence is TOI right in glorifying this cleavage? NO

    She and the morons supporting her have somehow missed the whole point and went on to suggest that there shouldnt be objectification of women which is utter bull-crap because Deepika herself benefits quite hugely from the very same objectification and viewing women as sex objects. Instead of writing holier-than-thou-lecherous-lookers articles on facebook she should focused on the non-consensual nature of the TOI picture. Thats what makes her a hypocrite!

    Saying that the analogies of “she was asking for it” applies here is utter bull crap. If the pic is taken without her permission and she is offended by it then she should sue. end of story. She is just as far from feminism as the lecherous male bigot who drools over her semi nude photos.

    • I don’t offer any unconditional support to her when it comes to everything she does. Neither am I a “fan” of hers. However IMO there’s a clear and obvious difference between complicit promotion of objectification – say if she does pose for a photoshoot that confirms with and perhaps even adds to the existing objectification of women. However that, heteronormativity, colorism (add whatever systemic oppression related issues here) ARE pervasive, it’s pretty much part of the mainstream film industry.

      Consent is the important bit, with you there. However they’re also objectifying and dehumanizing a PERSON in flesh and blood individually, while slapping equally reprehensible caption on it, and then goes on to further shame her in this “response”.

      I didn’t want to bring that up here because that’s a topic that requires more nuance and detailing. I do think sexism perpetrated through films and media is not a trivial issue and ought to be addressed (which I have said before too).

      And IDK whether the “morons who support her” is directed at me or people who speak up against this shit in general, but I don’t know if you had to lump everyone together like that needlessly assuming everyone else is stupid for supporting her in this context.

    • Deepika ( and for that matter most people who are at the top making truckloads of money) are hypocrites. They say what people like to hear , they say what serves their purpose.
      Deepika Padukone is a women who objectifies other women and her response is total bullcrap. She glorifies her Cleavage to make money,but this time she has a problem.
      Deepika Padukone had the right connections to debut opposite Shahrukh khan. Otherwise she , like the rest of the herd , would have be more than pleased to be spotted in a Page 3 party shot. And I am not saying she doesnt do anything to maintain her offscreen presence: in dresses showing her cleavage.

      To the owner of the blog : when you call yourself a name : a feminist , a BJP supporter , an AAP supporter , a Congress supporter , you shut your brain and will come up with arguments just to support your ideology. This is like apple crazy-fanboys always buying apple even if this time apple didnt do it right , they still wait in the cold all night in line for the NEXT BIG THING.
      I liked your blog and I am completely against womens inequality in India.But after I read this post and the analogy you have provided , and after you responded :
      “Oh my god, my IQ dropped a couple of points after reading that half-way.

      Is this guy for real?”
      I can say without doubt you are not open to ideas/ arguments.

  6. For what i perceive and what has been actually the unfortunate trend of our sly bollywood, whatever was the fiasco was nothing but a marketing gimmick both on the part of Deepika for her movie ” Finding Fanny” and TOI trying the same age-old populist tactics of writing out just glimmer , but fragile glass and not gold.
    You, write quite good ! But honestly. it makes no sense for a feminist to base an article on someone whose intentions are obscure, even if the article itself serves some rightful purpose, the obscurity defeats the purpose. Or let it me put it in a dignified way, i think their are currently more issues which are worth exploring than this particular episode.

    • If this issue occurred when she was not having any roles then people will say “She did to gain publicity”. That a typical sentence told to a woman who stands up.
      TOI’s attitude was bad in general.

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