Rape culture and item songs

Published: March 7, 2018

PESHAWAR: Repercussions of item songs have been mentioned by sane voices not only in India but in Pakistan too. Study after study has been conducted and highlighted, mentioning that these songs reinforce objectification of female bodies and only cater to the male gaze. But that has not discouraged directors from plugging in an item song that blatantly sexualises the female body and gives way to rape culture. On top of this, many families in the subcontinent ignore these problems and cheer on little girls dancing on these songs in the name of ‘fun’ often at weddings.

When girls as young as four-year-old dance on songs that consist of vulgar lyrics with their parents cheering them on, then how can we teach little boys about consent? On the other hand, these girls grow up to have identity crisis as they get mixed signals about their own agency. This is because when they grow up they are discouraged to dance in public and are asked to behave in ways that are not ‘provocative’, while doing the complete opposite as a child.

As a result, if we want to save our girls and boys from rampant rape culture we need to start from our homes.

Mishaal Alam Khan

Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2018.

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