A few months ago, I remember feeling highly frustrated at the constant use of demeaning words and phrases in a popular soap serial on a private television channel. The choicest of words, none of which should ever come into one’s daily use, were uttered without anyone batting an eyelid. The fact that this soap was a hit, and apparently, was enjoying a fairly high rating, only made me wonder why no one was actually raising a voice against such heavily loaded phrases hurled especially at the female characters.
One fine day, I wrote a letter to the heads of the production house responsible for making this soap serial. I mentioned in great detail, the problems with dialogues in their soap serial (and their other drama serial currently on air). My request to them was:
Please ask your script editors to edit out all these sentences which are demeaning to your female viewers all around. The entire effect of the drama serial is spoiled when such dialogues are spewed by the characters. Alarmingly, the frequency of these dialogues is only increasing. As a renowned production house that has produced many mega hit serials last year, I hope you will take this issues seriously, realize your responsibility in shaping the mindset of your viewers and take prompt action!
We look forward to more issue-based drama serials with thought-provoking, in-depth, inspiring dialogues in the future that empower the female population of this country.
I copy pasted this letter all over Facebook and on certain websites. I did not think one letter would make any difference to them. One can then only imagine my surprise when I next tuned into the concerned soap serial and realized that they had bleeped out the offending words. And this was not just in one serial, but every serial of the same production house.
Similarly, many loyal viewers of a drama serial, on the same satellite channel, raised objections when the male lead uttered certain profanities in the middle of the episode. Outraged fans expressed their disgust at the editor of the concerned serial who had overlooked this. Interestingly, in all subsequent episodes, the profanities were edited out with a bleep.
The point of writing this is to emphasize that as viewers, we need to take the initiative whenever we see something inappropriate on the screen – if any mass media content is giving out the wrong message which runs contrary to basic ethics, etiquette and values, speak up! If characters are shown smoking or drinking or indulging in any social vice as part of routine, do object. If the story line only exacerbates social problems and does nothing to actually resolve the issues, point out to the production team where they need to improve.
Unfortunately, the common attitude is of hopelessness, with many uttering a sigh and asking:
“What can we do?”
“They are the big wigs. They will show whatever they want to show.”
“Who would pay attention to one letter or one email?”
This is so not true. If you take time out to give your feedback and suggestions, those at the helm of affairs will likewise take out time to read and implement them. Even if they do not pay heed, at least you have done your bit, instead of cribbing incessantly.
The reverse is also true. If you see a media content that is genuinely trying to make a difference, send words of encouragement to the production team. Tell them you are watching and appreciating.
How to do that?
Tune into the credits of any show on television, and you will see an email address mentioned towards the end. Note it down and write to the production house. There are ‘official’ pages of almost every show that is aired on television. You can leave a comment there as well.
Take the first step today! Resolve to yourself that you will not be a silent spectator. Raise your voice against the negative and give thumbs up to the positive. We owe it to our mass media.
Written By: Drama Buff