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I Think: The media thrives on double standards, just like Indian society

Alisha Nisha Alex, student, Idukki district, Kerala

Photo credit: Vipin Mohan

I am a person who predominantly depends on social media to remain updated. And thanks to social media, along with the latest news, I also find myself getting updated on trending abusive words and expressions in English and Malayalam.

I feel sick when I see how online news platforms contradict their own stance on women. For instance, one story will be a news piece on how India sympathises with a rape victim and her family — which is well and good. But the story that follows right after might carry a caption like ‘xyz actress looking hot in a backless crop-top’. Don’t you see the irony? I know that without this sort of ‘news’, advertisers won’t fund media houses… journalism is a business after all.

Social media platforms have become a space for sexually frustrated people to release their insecurities. It’s quite evident on the comments on the social media pages of women film stars. It’s high time to ensure a certain amount of censoring on social media — otherwise these attitudes towards women will continue to thrive. Meanwhile, the media will also continue to report on such cases for the sake of publicity.

As a solution to crimes against women, the first measure I’d suggest is sex education that includes boys and girls together. Right from the primary classes, girls are educated about menstruation in isolation, making it very obvious for the boys in the class that it’s something they shouldn’t know. All these age-old practices should come to an end. These practices tend to create unwanted curiosities among children, which affect their behaviour later in life.

The second measure is to address the double standards in our legal system. For example, children above the age of 12 need to buy full-price tickets on public transport, yet we treat a 16- or 17-year-old rapist like a minor who should not be punished for his crimes.

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A conversation on the news coverage of rape and sexual violence in India. A MAAR initiative

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Maria Thomas

Maria Thomas

Maria Thomas, Student of MA Mass Communication and Journalism, St. Joseph's College, Bengaluru, From God's Own Country

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