Friday, August 19, 2011

No more Anna .... till Sunday!

Got back a while ago after an hour long panel discussion on 'People Power' - Rajdeep Sardesai's cnn-ibn prime time show, feeling reassured that a civilised debate and discussion on the day's explosive topic is still possible without anybody bursting an artery or taking cheap pot shots. It was sober, erudite, informed and nuanced, with several points of view and interesting perspectives being accorded enough space and respect. Nobody interrupted, shouted, screeched, cursed or sulked. And like somebody on the panel pointed out, this protest is longer about Anna or even the Jan Lokpal Bill! I am sure you can catch it on the cnn-ibn website if you are interested. This is really how it should be - there was nothing shrill about Rajdeep's anchoring, and nobody became apoplectic when views didn't match. It's come to a ridiculous stage otherwise when Anna fans accuse dissenters of being worse than traitors!Enough said. Let a thousand opinions bloom... eventually, it is only truth that prevails.
This appeared in The Week....

Lolita is alive and well…

At a time when the Police Commissioner of Delhi is compelled to advise women not to travel solo at night , it does seem terribly odd to read reports of 11- and 13- year-old girls who are being used as models for decidedly grown up ads. The peculiar part about this arrangement has to do with the fact that they are not endorsing teen products. These pre-pubescent girls are being passed off as young adults with a few clever flicks of the make-up brush, high heels, and entirely inappropriate clothes. When I read the report titled, “Twelve going on twenty-two” in HT Café recently I did a double take.These are not girls from underprivileged or uneducated background doing it to keep from starving.These girls are modeling for the dosh. And fame, of course.Read what the mother of 11-year-old Malvika Hoon has to say about her kid posing seductively for a photo shoot, “Since she didn’t have a real cleavage then, a tight top made sure she passed off as a 20 year-old.” Another mother (Dolly Chakra) boasts about her tween daughter Aarti, who started modelling at the age of 3, “Her height is an advantage and we make sure she looks years older through make-up.” The 167cms girl is seen in bridal shows and has done jewelry campaigns as well. A photographer named Rahul Dutta is quoted as saying, “Skin care brands prefer young models as their skin is supple and flawless.There’s a fresh appeal to their face.” Child rights’ activists may knock the trend, but the way it works is simple – the market gets what the market wants. And the market wants ‘taaza maal.’ Others in the glam business insist it’s an acceptable trend given that it is popular in the West where agencies specifically ask for pre-teens and a model’s career peaks before she hits 18! But then, are we in India also ready to accept transsexual models like Brazil’s hottest cat walk queen Lea T, who is one - and proud of it?
Each time I catch a kid gyrating provocatively on tv in those awful dance shows, I shudder to imagine what life beyond that garish set is like for these precocious children. When I spot the faces of their beaming parents cheering them on, I feel even more revolted. Do they not see how blatantly their kid’s sexuality is being projected and exploited for the hungry eyes of countless voyeurs? Does it not scare the hell out of these idiotic, misguided people? Or is the lure of making a quick buck out of an innocent child powerful enough to blind those greedy mothers and fathers? Do they really want their nubile daughters to send out lurid signals to the audience? Or have they just not thought about possible repercussions down the line? Is it ignorance or avarice that drives such folks? I recall talking to a shining example of parental exploitation – Rakhi Samant – just before she arrived on the big ticket circuit. She wept big, fat tears recalling the days her mother would throw ghungroos at her and command her to dance for ‘rich people’. Rakhi eventually struck gold ( well… at least in material terms, forget emotional damage). Not every little girl shaking her booty for the cameras is as lucky. Given the times we live in, teen models being coerced into role playing by painting their faces and squeezing their budding breasts into tight tops, makes for a sickening story. No matter how lucrative the deals, or how prestigious the campaign. In fact, each time I spot pictures of Suri, the gorgeous daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, I cringe at the imagery. Here’s a cute kid of high-profile parents being projected as a style icon, if you please! The kid’s been wearing high heels and carrying designer bags virtually since she was a toddler! Now we are told she’ll be launching her own fashion label since her fashion sense is so damn sharp that she provides valuable style checks for her parents!
A society that actively encourages and endorses this sort of sexual objectification of minors through mass circulated ads, reflects a scary , almost schizo attitude towards sexuality itself. When Nobokov wrote Lolita, he was branded a dirty old man, and the book was banned in several countries for promoting child pornography. Today, as millions of women across the world take to the streets to protest against sexual violence, here we are foolishly promoting tween fixations through girls like Aarti and Malvika. Their mothers need heavy duty counseling. Were it not for these women pushing their bachchas into growing up in a mad hurry… forcing them to slap on war paint and create fake cleavages… in other words, persuading their kids to sell their garden fresh wares to a panting audience, those girls may have actually got a life. A less twisted one.


Desi Babu said...

Dear Mrs. De,

You made me laugh! Seriously, I just finished writing a short piece about talk shows on CNN-IBN and Mr. Sardesai's wife.

Perhaps, you would like to see what we think of her? And, by extension, someone we all like on this blog, although she is not mentioned by name!

Desi Babu

Satrupa said...

Looks like you are not under the influence of alcohol today .... oops alcohol sounds cheap. Champagne !
The piece on Lolita is thought provoking ... hope it reaches the over ambitious mothers. Appreciate your thoughts on that.
After reading your last two posts .... yess I am jobless at the moment and have time to spare for you. I got curious of reading a little bit in detail about 'The Shobhaa De',the glamourous 60 year old granny who always has the nerve or at least tries to show that she is different.
Voila .... she was the editor of Stardust in her early career. Sorry I am have never bought that magazine till now. A renowned Page 3 journalist .... and yes it would be unjust not to mention that you have a couple of books to your credit. Books which I can read to kill my time when traveling.
Could not find any International Awards to your credit on Wiki.
And in the end I concluded that I had been making a fool of myself for the last 2 days .....Because I was expecting sensible stuff from a person whose career began n ended on Page 3. And we all know that that piece of newspaper only comes at a supplement.
And like I told you ..... People are supporting the cause of corruption. And they have found a face called Anna. Had it not been Anna but Shobhaa who would have come to the foreground .... I would have supported you too.

Chintan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chintan said...

And can you enable mobile version of your blog please?

Chintan said...

Shobha, its a good read. Couple of years back a similar issue was reported by either Outlook or India today. There was boom in the capital for beauty salons meant for kids especially under 10. Parents always wish to fulfil their dreams through their children and today's parents probably wish for fame, money, and fashion. I liked the way you mentioned Rakhi Sawant's episode.

Some of your readers may make fun of Stardust but they forget they are reading your blog and even taking time out to post BIG comments :) By the way, I love gossip magazines and stardust is sheer fun!

Satrupa said...

@ Chintan ..... Hey you probably didn't read my comment properly.
I did mention I am jobless at the moment and I do have time to read some funny stuff and write long comments. But I will write a short one now. Already Friday eve ;-)
Simply trying to get a hang of the cheap gossip magazines through Shobha's blog ... would never want to buy and read one.

goodluck said...

Very sad.The greedy parents are to be blamed, especially the mother. How can a mother allow her little daughter into this mess?

AAD said...

I am sorry but I think some people commentators here really need to get a life, it's shobhaa's blog, it's her point of view, she's entitled to it, whether one agrees to it or not, she hasn't invited anyone here to read what she writes and give their opinion on it, by coming back repeatedly, it's you actually whose giving importance to what she thinks, so you came looking for her opinion and found it, whether you agree with it or not, it's disgusting to use cheap methods like personal attacks and name calling, seriously get a life !

Satrupa said...

@ AAD .... Ddidn't see your opinion on Shobhaa's piece of writing.
True Personal Attack is Cheap. Totally with you.
What about when Shobhaa attacks Anna and his supporters ?? Cheap or not ??

Jyostna said...

The piece abt Lolita is very much true...last year in the state of AP there were these 2 TV channels broadcasting news against the child abuse in reality shows. The issue had gone to the Human Rights Commission. when the official questioned the obscenity in their dress n dance, the parents shamelessly supported their acts and stated that there have no objection in their child wearing a two piece bikini n dancing for an item number. . Many parents have become cheap publicity mongers not knowing the repercussions...a lot of those kids end up nowhere. pity them

AAD said...

@Satrupa : I will quote Voltaire here and say :
"I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"

Here I am referring to Shobhaa's article. I don't condone nor condemn her views, nor do I think she's wrong for having her views, they're her views she's entitled to it, I don't see anything wrong in criticism, it can only make us aware of the other side of an issue, which may have slipped our mind.
I don't completely agree to her views, nor do I fully disagree to it, but more than her views, what compelled me to react was the vicious venom spilled at her for merely expressing her points of view, am I wrong, or do we allow for freedom of expression in our country ???

blue sky thinking said...

do we allow for freedom of expression?
She has freedom to blog, but if she can't deal with the comments, she is free to disable or delete them. If you cannot handle her criticism, you could simply ignore the comments. Freedom of expression is two way street.

One more thing may gratify you...muffle the inconvenient comments. Would be just like that section 144...huh?

Appu said...

We cannot compel no matter who s/he is to write what we want him/her to write.

Cheryllyne said...

Thank you for this timely article, Ms. De. This is what we woke up to yesterday In the States:

HymnZ said...

"this protest is longer about Anna or even the Jan Lokpal Bill!" or the otherwise..??

saravanan said...

anna hazare what a great man.peoples should support for him.

kakaka said...

BUT i dont understand her views....i dont understand what Shobha has to say.

we should not give Anna too much importance because this might not but lead to anything?

ok this bill might not but atleast it does something. Corruption has a trickle down effect, if people at the top are not corrupt, they require the same work ethics from their employees.

We have to atleat begin a discussion on this subject.

And Ms.De, what is happening in India does have parallels with the mid east.People in Mid east dont wanna live in a utopia they just want basic rights.

In India we have been deluded into thinking that we are the next ecnonomic powerhouse..
We have facebook but no water, tv but no electricity, luxury cars but bad roads.

I have had so many foreigners come up to me and tell me India is nothing compared to China when it comes to infrastructure, stinking airports, bad transportation. Does this not hamper our progress. Who wants to invest here?

Also i dont wanna see Varun Gandhi or any other Gandhi anymore. I think India should elect its prime minister and they should not repear terms. Also relatives of the minister should not be allowed to contest .
That has never worked anywhere, not even in the US.

JustChill said...

Anna's movement is about the frustration which most of the Indians have to go through in daily lives. There is no one you can go to and vent out your problems. No one listens. For every little things in goverment department you have to pay money. The kind monies this politicians, beaurocrates have is unimmaginable. What we want is an institution where one can go and complain!! People working in govt. has no fear!! they treat you like a dog!!!

Sayan said...

Shobha De..I thought you would be a patriotic Indian but your activities suggests otherwise.

Rajakars: Those who plays spoiltsport against the popular revolutions in countries and you are proving to be one of them and who knows generations will remember you to be one Rajakar.

Karthik Binary said...

My views on janlokpal

Nagesh said...

I watched the show on CNN-IBN. They did had a good debate. It was Yogendra Yadav, who described the events and implications in the right perspective.

kk said...

Tell me if the media attention was not drawn like this,, wil the govt even think of introducing a bill???

Latha said...

Shobhaa, you have every right to express your opinion on any issue you like. By all means contradict anna & team point by point. Blame them if they are greedy & selfish.
They have nothing to gain even if the jan lokpal bill is passed totally. But the govt has a lot at stake if they pass it. They'll lose their power, prestige, position, name, ill gotten wealth everything.
With nothing to gain except ungratefulness, team anna are doing a very hard work. And there are people like you who are in a hurry to dismiss him as a fake or a nobody.
Anna is here to stay and yes to win. People of this country will make him win irrespective of who likes it or not.
Let me repeat team anna has nothing to gain or lose but the govt has everything at stake. Hence this resistance.
Here is a man who is fasting for more than 100 hrs for the nation. Rickshaw drivers & dabbawalas understand this.
Do object if they are wrong. If you are in a hurry to sideline anna just because you don't like him, I think we too have a right to raise our objections.
Regarding programs like 'Boogie woogie', everybody seemed to cheer the suggestive & obscene gestures & dresses of the kids while it was on the air. I wish somebody strongly condemned this trend then.

CHEERpy TALK said...

I am a great fan of your writing, and i have seen u speaking on tv on anna issue as a dissent(so u said) comes as a surprise to me when u support the cause but not the means....maybe u were never a victim of the corrupt system or have happily adapted to it...silent were we for the last 64 years in vain....and today when a man dares the system,u consider it as some media frenzy...i may not be as intelligent as u r(btw m an iit engineer)....but i m in full support of anna....n mam , learn to handle criticism as u have been a dreaded critic for many...n it does hurt when shoes change feet...saying all this....vande mataram.

चंद्रमौलेश्वर प्रसाद said...

After some years, these models would try to look like teens... What a paradox :)

blue sky thinking said...

@Cheerpy good to see the real intelligent and sensitive people here.

No one (however drunk on expensive champagne) can afford to not support anti-corruption cause. But those who are perhaps in bed with corrupt system, tend to find some defect in the method. They must want the status qua to prevail.

Team Anna won't offer them book deals, parties or expensive trips...and all the goodies they salivate for...corrupt people will.
Hence all sleaziness that you see here and on IBNsqe places.

Ashwani said...

How about no more Shobha de, with loads of makeup to keep the old age at bay - forever. I'd vote for that.
Rajdeep in that i'view was like Gollum! Why don't these ppl do a show solo.Anyway they don't let anyone else speak. Probably they sleep with their own voice blaring out of their ipods. :)

Soumyadeep said...

You might be against Anna and his team but they are doing is for the betterment of our nation. These debates need to be there in NEWS channel as these will help to educate people regarding all these matters...

ProudIndian said...

Dear Shobede,
As person who currently in United States completing his education and hoping to return and serve his country it hurts me that certain individuals like yourself question whether the people who are supporting Anna have ever read the Bill!! Yes madam I have and to be honest, yes it’s not perfect but honestly far better than what is being proposed by the government or other activists! If flaws are found in future they can always been amended but at least till than we should take a step in the direction!
Believe it or not in every other class that I am part of and when topic of India comes up the biggest negative point that every presentation that my fellow class mates present says that India biggest problem is corruption! This throws off the investors from investing in our country! Studies have shown that India is one of the worst countries to invest in the list of emerging countries! The biggest factor of this is corruption followed infrastructure which has also been hit and delayed due to various scams!
It really shameful for me to even stand up for our country in my class because I know it myself that corruption is rampant and sadly even after 65 years of Independence nothing has been to address it. Rather for about 40-42 years we have been promised a lokpal bill which I think we will never be able to see till something drastic is not done right away, because in 2-3 years this government will change! It will be back to square one all over again.
Of course this will be excuse for our next government who will say Oh we have to give time for discussion! So the time is to ACT NOW!! Don’t shot the messenger like Anna its coward of anyone to point fingers at man who is fed up of corruption just like every common man is and so am I.
We Indians are looking like fools in the front of the world, because we say are biggest democracy but honestly its failed democracy because a common man CANNOT EVEN GET A PASSPORT WITHOUT PAYING A BRIBE!!! Is that really a democracy?????

CHEERpy TALK said...

As usual, read ur article in TOI today and m tempted to comment again against some disrespectful words'chappal' and 'seductive'....would u have minded if someone talked about ur dad or any other elderly relative of urs in the same manner,,,i know u r known for ur sassy words and below the belt punches....but i advise u to use such diction with care and sensitivity(if u take advices from ur ardent readers)...swaminomics too had his anti-view on anna but his article is a more intelligent handling of the situation.

Radhika Gupta said...

HI Shobhaa.. well i completely agree with you on this one... it's really shameful on the part of such parents... it's almost like killing the innocence of their little children by pushing them into the glam world at such a tender age...

AAD said...

@bluesky :
Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to make personal attacks on people, what Shobhaa is writing about is about the movement that is going and her views of it, what some people are commenting here about is Shobhaa, these are two different things.
I cannot call someone a moron, and claim freedom of speech, but I can call the governments ways moronic, and be well within my rights, of freedom of expression.
It's not like shobhaa's views are gonna have the slightest of impact on the outcome of this jan lokpal bill issue, so what spend good time and energy bringing her down, rather we can put that time and energy towards seeing to it, that detractors of the jan lokpal movement could be proven wrong, that might be more worthwhile, this type of cheap tactics, of insulting someone by writing inflamatory words on their blogs is nothing but a waste of time, neither is shobhaa gonna change her views because some criticize her, nor is she gonna stop posting about them, so what's the point ??? If her views bother someone so much, they should just stop visiting her blog, that's all I can say !

Tsomo85 said...

Pathetic parents! Well, those moms must still have their young days idiotic mentality, & trying to satisfy their left out ambition by using their super young girl child! Both of them go to hell!

archie said...

Excellent post about an extremely grim and disturbing trend in today's society.

Aaina said...

Looks like @ Satrupa has nothing better to do than heckle a rich, socialite buddhi. Well maybe blog and get on your own soap box, perhaps? Just sayin'

Aditya Gokhale said...

Well said in the Lolita....writeup...couldn't agree more!

If this is what they call "progress" and "forward society" then I wouldn't want to be a part of it. Oh those poor girls...

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