A Journalist’s Tweet About Assamese Women Who Drink Is Moral Policing At Best

Posted by Megha Kashyap in Sexism And Patriarchy
January 28, 2018

I write this post with extreme anguish and disgust over a section of Assamese media. Recently one of the senior journalists of a very popular channel in Assam shared a photo on one of his social media platforms where two girls in traditional attire were seen buying alcohol from a wine shop in Guwahati, Assam. The picture was captioned as ‘Picture of the day, No Caption’.

Surprisingly this isn’t the first time that this person or for the matter of fact, many other senior journalists from the region have time and again proved how deeply patriarchy is ingrained in their brains. During events like Saraswati Puja or Bihu all these petty brains come up with shows that highly objectify women. I reckon there are shows that award those who looked the most gorgeous in mekhla sador (traditional attire worn by women in Assam), or who looked the most graceful. It is commonplace to see all the photographers from these channels lurk around colleges and institutions, scouting for girls.

I seriously cannot comprehend why these so-called media guys do not understand the basics of human dignity. Why is it difficult to understand that it is a sheer violation of space and the rights of person, and they might be reported under the laws of the country? The only plausible explanation is because a huge chunk of the population watching all this garbage every day stands in unison to applaud such shrewd pogroms of women’s agency. Where a section of the society presumes that women are inherently torchbearers of the Assamese culture and tradition, this stands as a fact that the forerunners of the fourth pillar of the Constitution of India is highly constipated.

This also stands as an evidence to refute claims of Assamese society being egalitarian. It is a common belief that the social norms here are not so conservative and orthodox in nature and promotes women’s participation across sectors. Let me break this myth for you: the so-called egalitarianism is very tokenistic and events like this bring up deeper problematic issues of patriarchy being a rider in societies. Violence against women in Assam is rampant. A quick look at the statistics of the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) will tell you the grave picture of the status of women in Assamese society. In the year 2012, the rate of crimes against women was as high as 89.54%, which was double the national average of 41.7%. This situation keeps getting worse as, until July 2017, the total no of registered cases of crime against women was 12,664 out of which 6159 cases were on cruelty by the husband.

Instances like these don’t help the situation. It sickens me to my gut because I personally knew some of these journalists, and it left me in utter despair about their choice of news to sensationalise and get more marketing materials for their channels. News items like this murder all journalistic ethics. This is a foray into the core shared principles of social consciousness and journalism attempting at social reforms.

If senior journalist like this person thinks of women like this, I am so sorry to say, we are nowhere near achieving gender equality. I wish well for the person and hoping he recovers from this sickness, I would call, ‘patriarchioliasis’.