Saturday, April 14, 2007

those "sassy" babes

i chanced upon an edition of that gem of a magazine, India Today.

"smart and sassy" said the cover page, showing a young woman. the story was ostensibly about how women are making it big in the corporate world. india today is india's largest english magazine, so i think it's a fairly representative visage for that fuzzy beast called mass media. i want to dissect the representation made by them now.

first, have a look at a couple of recent editions which have featured men on the cover page.


and then, the current issue:


let's see, famous actor... think of the face.

a cricket coach who was murdered ... how do we recall the person? face.

representation of powerful women ... strike a pose, display that groin. obviously a woman's intelligence, power or drive to succeed all lies centered in her crotch. therefore it's completely relevant if not absolutely vital to include a splay-legged display of it when discussing her abilities.

it makes you freeze to realise that it's easier for the media to portray a dead man as a person, than portray a woman as something more than a "body".

i don't know about you folks, but i'm yet to see a woman posture like that in a board-meeting, or even in a team meeting. wow, how realistic a pose. so that's what women do at work - stand like they're about to launch into a quick tea-break version of moulin rouge.


using a chair in a cabaret act is almost cliched now. in 1972, liza minelli made a movie called "cabaret". the poster of the movie less blatantly highlights the woman's groin than this supposedly non-sexualised depiction!

also, how many women have you seen waltz into office dressed in the finely embroidered ensemble that this one has on? can you imagine getting any work done dressed like that? is it even remotely practical? the only thing you could comfortably do with an outfit like that, would be to sit in an air-conditioned glass case. someone's been suffering an acute attack of woman-are-decorative-elements.

finally, the most obvious idiocy. "sassy"?


adjective (sassier, sassiest) informal, chiefly N. Amer. bold and spirited; impudent.

impudent of the little girls to walk into an office and get noticed? ooh, they're being spirited in the presence of the Big Male In Charge, huh? the word drips condescension. so that's a really bad choice of words, mr editor, even if the reader didn't know that "sassy" is an americanised corruption of the word "saucy" which happens to have certain specific connotations.


adjective (saucier, sauciest) informal 1 chiefly Brit. sexually suggestive in a light-hearted way. 2 chiefly N. Amer. bold, lively, and spirited.

"sexually suggestive"? well, knock me down with a feather.

also posted on sthreeling



Anonymous BigFanOfYours said...

This is not very relevant to your post, but I was wondering if you could post, sometime, on why the focus in pornography is always the woman/women, and why in the movies it's always the women who're scantily clad. It's always puzzled me.

2:04 am  
Blogger Krish said...

Agreed with every single word in the post!

1:17 am  
Blogger S - Currently a cynic said...

Well, you are perfectly right! Men however they look - fat or bald are accepeted material for the cover page. But, women necessarily have to be slim, sexy and be dressed in designer clothes. Esp when the article talks about women in the corporate world (and not participants of LIFW!) this was completely unwarranted..

1:44 am  
Anonymous the tobacconist said...

the tobacconist: Or she might just like her Capt.Morgan rum! :D
(re-posted by m.)

10:41 am  
Blogger m. said...

the tobacconist: LOL... trust you, nice one! but pliss to not be putting wikipedia links here no?! i took the liberty of changing that to the *actual* Captain Morgan Rum page :D

bigfan: thanks muchly. oh boy. that's a whole field of work you're casually bringing up! :)) let's just say all hail laura mulvey.

krish: i hope it was still useful then? :D

s - currently a cynic: sort of on a tangent, do read p sainath on the subject of the media's obsession with lakme india fashion week. ever since i did, i've got him labelled mentally as the *scathing* voice of rural india. :)

10:46 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thats coz the earlier two issues had famous personalities so they can afford to be ugly... he he...

but this issue was about general gyan so obviously picked a model... kapish ? :P

11:42 pm  
Blogger The Tobacconist said...

Such fraudness. I thought you had implemented some blanket rule, of only honoring comments from those of us who'll be worth a gift or two come 7/7. :D

And here's a free tick off:

Wikipedia rocks! :)

12:57 am  
Blogger m. said...

anon: ah! :))

the tobacconist: cheap bum, you would think that! *considering* not a bad idea though... :D and doofus, it be 7/6, not 7/7. pliss to let alone further references to subject until doo coursa time! :)

1:09 am  
Blogger The Tobacconist said...

Using amerika ishtyle dates. So blunder was a day off. :D

Went and read P Sainath. He's really fighting, isn't he? Boy, he's trying hard. I really hope something comes of it.

1:16 am  
Anonymous pankaj said...

very insightful! one would think that all articles which feature pretty female pictures are more about the pictures than the article itself.

of all media stereotypes the sexy female stereotype is flaunted the most. i guess it indicates that the world is male dominated and sex starved.

6:26 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with your comments. If you want ideas and inspiration on celebrating women (no sexuality involved!) check out

1:56 pm  

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