1st Edition

Gender and Popular Visual Culture in India ‘Benevolent’ Sexism and Disguised Discrimination

Edited By Francis Philip Barclay, Kaifia Ancer Laskar Copyright 2024
    218 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Perhaps, male-mindedness seems to have adapted to changing-contemporary circumstances to become more covert and conspiratorial. Sexist suggestions—through objectification and substantiated subordination—for instance, may have been explicit in Indian media a decade earlier. But in the contemporary times of online social media and vociferous feminism, such openness of unfairness against women in the media will, more often than not, be met with strife and unpalatable backlash - fearing which blatant prejudice is prudently steered clear of. It is, hence, understandable that patriarchy, to sustain itself as a culture, has adapted to become more benevolent in an increasingly hostile environment. To identify such sly and stealthy sexism embedded in media content, one may need a reconfigured grasp of contemporary feminist issues and an altered nuance for isolation and identification of discriminatory depictions. This book exposes redefined and hidden sexism that predominates the popular visual culture of India - particularly investigating mass and new media representations that are a prime part of and have a domineering effect on the ensemble of popular visual culture - and characterises contemporary feminist movements. It binds a collection of contemporary Indian case studies of sexism and feminism encompassing communication media such as print, cinema, television, Web series and social media. There is a lack of book titles that study media sexism in the present times, and the proposed book aims to explore an unexplored area that is of social and scholarly importance. This book highlights the duality of media platforms: while media is a critical tool associated with fourth-wave feminism, they still remain to be a deterrent to the development of women engendering inherent and age-old patriarchal notions. This book will be an eye-opener to the general readers about benevolent sexism and train them to identify sexism hidden in seemingly pro-women media representations.

    List of Figures

    List of Tables


    List of Abbreviations


    Foreword Arthur Asa Berger

    Introduction: Changing Gender Equations and Discriminatory Practices Francis Philip Barclay and Kaifia Ancer Laskar


    CHAPTER 1: Part I Introduction: Critical Perspectives on Gender Representations in Indian Media: An Overview Enakshi Roy

    CHAPTER 2: New Wine in Old Bottle: Benevolent Sexism in the Indian Popular Visual Media Francis Philip Barclay & Kaifia Ancer Laskar

    CHAPTER 3: Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing? Sexism in Fourth-wave Feminism Kaifia Ancer Laskar & Ishita Biswas

    CHAPTER 4: Female Politicos in Indian Web Series: The Politics of Portrayal Madhubanti Mitra, Rosona Khatun & Mohammad Reyaz

    CHAPTER 5: Androcentrism and Gender Stereotyping in Matrimonial Advertisements Sajna Sanal




    CHAPTER 6: Part II Introduction: Characterising Contemporary Feminist Cultures Syeda Afshana

    CHAPTER 7: Fourth-wave Feminism: World View and the Indian Context Francis Philip Barclay, Malavika Sunil Karippara & Akhila Sasidharan

    CHAPTER 8: Gendered Memes: Stereotypical Representations to Agentic Counter-conduct Shamika Dixit

    CHAPTER 9: Women and Emergent Agency in Hindi Partition Cinema Mihika Sengupta & Maithili Ganjoo

    CHAPTER 10: New Dimensions in Relationships: Portrayal of the Culture through Cinema Shourini Banerjee & S. Balaganapathy

    CHAPTER 11: The Glass Ceiling! Exploring the Intersection of Sexist and Feminist Tropes in Women-Centric Indian Films Francis Philip Barclay




    CHAPTER 12: Part III Introduction: Indian Media and the Paraluman of Gender Otherisation K. V. Nagaraj

    CHAPTER 13: Sex Workers and Bollywood: Decoding Misrepresentations and Blurred Lines Biswadeep Bhattacharyya & Kaifia Ancer Laskar

    CHAPTER 14: Does Sexism Still Sell? Audience Perception of Bigoted Advertisements Amritha Balakrishnan & Francis Philip Barclay

    CHAPTER 15: The Men and the Media Hoimawati Talukdar

    CHAPTER 16: Decrypting ‘Free’ Expression: AMMA-WCC Conflict and Comment Culture Rattling the Malayalam Film Industry Arya Aiyappan

    CHAPTER 17: The Way Forward by Manisha Pathak Sehlat


    Francis Philip Barclay is a faculty member in the Department of Media and Communication, School of Communication, Central University of Tamil Nadu, India. With a background in journalism, news art and political cartooning, Dr Barclay is also an accomplished media researcher, psephologist and writer. He is the founder-editor of the Journal of Media and Communication (UGC-CARE listed). Dr Barclay has published several books and contributed chapters to many others, in addition to research articles in reputable journals. His research areas include media, politics and regulation, discourse analysis, gender studies, contemporary journalism, new and social media, media usage and effects, media psychology, research methodology and immersive technologies. Dr Barclay has also served several English newspapers in India. Some of his works are available for reading on his personal website, www.francisbarclay.com.

    Kaifia Ancer Laskar has been teaching in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at Aliah University, Kolkata (a public state university) in West Bengal, India, since July 2016. She holds a PhD in Mass Communication and has published in several reputable outlets, including Routledge, Sage, UGC-CARE as well as peer-reviewed journals. Dr Laskar's research interests lie in the areas of gender, race and minority representation in film and television entertainment content. She also conducts qualitative research on disinformation and the digital silencing of religious and sexual minorities.