Facebook (FB), the social media giant is in the news again, regarding non-moderation of posts which denigrate women. These posts glorify rape and domestic violence against women. The posts show women who are drugged and are unconscious and there are sleazy comments which encourage rape on the pictures. It is surprising that these posts were not deleted by the moderators. As per the moderators these posts were in the category of humor and free speech.
These so called posts of free speech are in the true sense hate speeches against women. These hate speeches were brought to the notice of FB by several feminist groups but FB did not remove these posts. It was only when Women Action & Media (WAM) launched a massive campaign against the maligning pages and posts ( http://www.womenactionmedia.org/events/take-action-to-end-gender-based-hate-speech-on-facebook/) did FB care. The activists of WAM sent more than 5000 e-mails to facebook advertisers and more than 60,000 posts on twitter under the name #FBrape and prompted companies like Nissan, Dove and a few dozen other companies to withdraw their ads from facebook (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/29/business/media/facebook-says-it-failed-to-stop-misogynous-pages.html?_r=1&).After a few advertisers had agreed to remove their ads on FB, the media giant hastily acknowledged that there was flaw in their practices of moderation when it comes to gender-based posts and agreed to train their employees more effectively in future. The moral compass of FB pointed only towards making money.
WAM is an independent North American non-profit organisation that fights for gender justice in media. When I read about WAM, I felt we should have something like this in India too. When was the last time you saw a movie which was female-centric? The last movie that I have seen is Vidya Balan’s Kahaani. Compared to our Bollywood hero centric movies female centric movies are just a handful. Tollywood scores much better with movies like Antapuram, Arundhati, Misamma and Anukokunda oka roju. All of these movies were great hits in spite of having a female-oriented story. When we do have such hits, why don’t director’s make movies with dominant female roles and are compelled to produce movies with an item number; movies in which heroines either cry or smile and adorn the screen with their half-naked bodies? It is because weaker, sexy female is what the masses want and it is easy money for the industry, there is no need to think too hard about the story. Similar to facebook, which did not step down until the advertisers decided to withdraw their ads, the movie industry also runs on paisa. We need a desi WAM.