People want their heroines to be glamorous on screen, but covered up in real life. What's the logic?

Here we go again Amala Pauls picture faces flood of trolls advising her about morals Facebook/Amala Paul
Flix Misogyny Monday, June 12, 2017 - 17:33

Amala Paul has done it again – upset the nation by putting up a picture. The photograph features the actor in a black translucent top and shorts, below which she writes, "I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me".

The words, however, have been completely ignored as the picture has drawn the attention of numerous trolls who believe Amala shouldn't be "displaying" her body to get attention.

From pointing out that she has "public responsibilities also" to reminding her that she's a divorced woman (a marriage that she chose to call off), the comments on the picture from men and women are yet another example of the misogyny that women in the entertainment industry are subjected to.

While some went to the extent of comparing her to a sex worker, there were others who said that someone like her who'd played strong female characters shouldn't put up such pictures. There was also advice on what kind of photos it was okay for a woman to share, with a commenter noting that these photographs should be for private viewing only. Another prescribed "saree or chudi" as the acceptable dress code for public pictures because Amala was already "married and divorced".

The male gaze is very apparent in Indian cinema and heroines are expected to be "glamorous" always. The audience laps this up, and dismisses any criticism leveled against the objectification of the female body by saying, "It's just a movie!"

However, ironically, when the same women put up pictures of themselves out of their own volition and in their own space (read social media), feathers are ruffled. Especially if the woman in question doesn't fit the acceptable image of "morality" in real life that the trolls hold dear. 

Of course, Amala, who has acted in all four south Indian film industries, is confident and adept at expressing her views and ignoring trolls, though she has refrained from indulging in any mud-slinging over the breakup of her marriage with director AL Vijay.

That spirit was clearly on display during the Suchi Leaks scandal, when there was a buzz that video proof of her ‘transgressions’ would be made public. When asked about it recently, Amala simply quipped, "I have been waiting for that video for many weeks now too. Haven't seen it so far."

Of course, the morality brigade spreads its wings far and wide. Recently, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone and Dangal actor Sana Shaik were attacked online for their choice of attire. Interestingly, none of these actors bothered to remove their photographs or issue an apology for "offending" sentiments. Priyanka and Deepika also went ahead and put up more such photographs, openly asserting their right to dress as they pleased. 

 

Women in the entertainment industry are highly visible to the public eye. Though many are quick to dismiss them as "brainless bimbos", it matters when they take a stance and refuse to be cowed down by misogynistic moral policing, which has only increased with the advent of social media. They've started to give it back as good as they get - even if they may continue to play the damsel in distress on screen.

 

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.