FPJ Editorial: Misogyny In Tamil Nadu

FPJ Editorial: Misogyny In Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu, despite its image of being a forward-thinking state, has a long way to go in the direction of women’s empowerment.

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Monday, November 27, 2023, 10:33 PM IST
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FPJ Editorial: Misogyny In Tamil Nadu |

Two recent incidents have served to highlight the misogyny and patriarchal mindset prevalent in Tamil Nadu, a supposedly progressive southern state with good human development index indicators. Actor Mansoor Ali Khan’s sexist and distasteful comments against fellow actor Trisha, and a recent raid on a pub in which Tamil news channels touched a new low by targeting the women there, betray thinking that is regressive in nature. Khan issued an apology only after he was faced with legal action.

The news channels instead of focusing on the issue in question — the pub being allegedly open after closing time — chose instead to shame the women who left the pub, focusing on their clothes and commenting on their supposed lack of morality. It is heartening to note that there was an outpouring of condemnation against Khan and the channels from women’s organisations and netizens around the state.

There has been a long history of misogyny and unpalatable behaviour towards women in Tamil Nadu’s cinema industry and political life. The state ranks second in India when it comes to domestic violence against women. During the Me Too movement, composer Vairamuthu was called out by singer Chinmayi for sexual harassment but in the blowback she lost out on work for almost five years.

There have been many more instances of sexist and misogynistic treatment of women in Kollywood. That J Jayalalithaa carved a niche for herself in this deeply patriarchal milieu is a feat in itself. Despite her early mentorship by MGR, she managed to hold her own in later years and emerge as an undisputed leader. She strode like a colossus on Tamil Nadu’s firmament for several years but she has proved to be an exception. Tamil Nadu, despite its image of being a forward-thinking state, has a long way to go in the direction of women’s empowerment.

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