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Indian films high on sexualisation of female characters, finds UN report

News,Indian films,UN report
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India ranks first in showing attractive women in the movies according to a global study sponsored by UN depicting the nature of female depictions in popular films across the world. The country has as much as 25.2 per cent of attractive women coming on-screen which is the highest in the world.

The study was commissioned by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, with support from UN Women and The Rockefeller Foundation.

According to the study, the Indian films score high in terms of sexualisation of female characters on-screen. The country ranks third in showing females in sexy attire with 34.1 percent and 35 percent of female characters in our movies are shown with some nudity.

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take for example, a bikini scene. being in a bikini is shown as normal in western world in 50% of the movies. they are by water, wearing a bikini, no big deal. where as in india.. anytime an actress wears a bikini.. in ANY MOVIE. u get the zoom ins of cleavage areas butt etc.. with their skin glistening to the background of some seductive music. the act of wearing a bikini is much more sexualized in india compared to the west world. The western world has their share of sexualization but they also have a normal representation of woman. indian movies are sorely lacking in the normal representation of woman part.

Welcome to Bollywood. I miss the old Bollywood (DDLJ, KKHH, Kal ho na ho, Salman is still ok...)
but now there are too many exaggerated item numbers like Laila or WORST chikni chameli. Disgusting !
cinema DOES INFLUENCE a country's mentaly ! Wake up people !!! But sex sells, so...

A certain someone has something to "tweet" final words about this? :-)

Bollywood movies portray women at there sleaziest and that is a FACT! The actresses don't mind because they are paid an extortionate amount of money to look like a showpiece. The playing "hard to get act" while the hero forces himself on her is disgusting. Nowadays you hardly see a proper saree, they are all wearing bikinis or blouses and the rest is all western wear actually I wouldn't even call it western wear because they could wear a suit and look intelligent or professional but they chose to wear micro shorts/skirts and tank tops. No wonder we have such a huge problem of no woman respect. This is the entertainment, SADLY!

Indian sanskruti ( culture ) has been on a downward spiral for years now.
Bollywood is a direct thermometer for it.
Money is the reason this fraternity exists, not creativity.
There must be a lot of wonderful writers out there who have a good story to tell.....but you know what.....it will not be taken up because it does not fulfil the criteria of quick bucks.

I remember in an award function that they have put all those itemnumber girls to dance on those ridiculuos and humiliating songs and after a while they asked people n stars in the venue to stand up for a minute for the Delhi rape victm girl.. I was like seriously??? If u really wanted to do something on this serious matter, u could atleast put some decent show.. not make women such a cheap being...i was really pissed then.

Agree with a lot of comments down below. women arr turning into props that only turn up for a song dance with zoomed shots of various body parts. Also there's no equivalent exchange between men and women body show. If men were just as naked then I would think Bollywood is becoming super liberal but instead it's just women being paraded about in item numbers (no offense but some if the worst offenders I'm including in my criticism are from the south.)

My parents used to watch all the masala stuff from the 60s 70s and the early 80s. They can identify any obscure song just from the first note and now they don't even know the names of any of the new heroines or heros.

I really should have recorded my dad's reaction after watching Student of the year. Lol! He thought it would be a family drama like kkkg. I didn't go with him to see it so when I who did the girl end up with and his answer was I don't know, I couldn't look at the screen so I was playing angry birds the whole time. Lol! And soty was such a tame movie in comparison to the others.

Bravo India....U beat America too in showing nudity and female wearing revealing clothes in movies..................Sure India is progressing......

I think bollywood cheapens the topic of sex. it can be shown in a beautiful way, but now a days indian men just act cheap and make it seem like sex is a dirty cheap thing.

I miss watching old movies like raja Hindustani devdas dil to pagal hai hum saath saath hai hero no 1 biwi no 1 judaai Mr india:( miss watching Sridevi aishwarya karishma urmila they were the real actresses

I've said this before and am repeating it again. The problem isn't with sexualizing women in films, the problem is when their sexualization is the only thing that people go to watch them for. If female characters were well-rounded, shown as having intelligence, decision-making independent of the male lead, and unapologetic about their sexual desires then there is no problem.

i am going to use proper words here since we are all grown ups and this is a topic about sexualization of females. i don't think vidya's pic belongs with those other two, because the sexualization of her character was intrinsic to the entire plot of the movie "dirty picture". it was NOT an item number type of role where the whole intent is brazenly to titillate by sexualizing women to an extreme degree. also, we need to differentiate between how women are sexualized in western movies vs that in india. i don't mind if women are portrayed having consensual sex, when they are shown in hollywood movies as actually liking and wanting to participate in sex which is what is NORMAL. in india, we show it that the women does not like sex and rebuffs the guys advance and he has to tease her and follow her around to get it. and even when women do have sex - they have to be FORCED, like the rape scenes especially in older movies. it's as if our shudh desi women are too pure and sati savitri to god forbid actually WANT AND LIKE sex that we have to show it being forced on females when it happens. that is the kind of representation that i don't like in our movies. also remember that this gratuitous sexualized depictions of women in movies won't occur if women themselves do not allow themselves to be represented and objectified that way. but of course they, because they get a lot of $$$ for it. but still no one is forcing them. so we need to realize that.
pinkvilla please publish.

I agree with you about the consent part. I am so sick of watching hindi movies where the heroine isn't shown to have her own sexual desires without being coy or apologetic about it. Independent female sexuality and consent are both completely underportrayed in Hindi cinema.

I agree only to a part of your comment. Not sex, LOVE is what they showed and it was so pure in 70s and 80s. Only if the heroine LOVED the hero for whatever qualities, she would accept him wholeheartedly and then marriage and sex would follow. That was the whole point. Sex before marriage was somehow never a norm in movies and real life in india. It still is not acceptable to have sex just because you feel like it. Now a days movies show intimacy so openly among unmarried people and make us feel like it's happening all over india (bollywood is supposed to represent india mostly). We had Helen, Bindu etc., for cabaret. A heroine was a normal person like you and me and somebody we can relate to/admire!!! That was actually nice. These days, premarital kisses, sex etc., is shown openly. Times change but we shouldn't imitate other nations if what they do doesn't really work for us. It's ok to be different and have different values. Even stars like waheeda, asha parekh, vyjatanti Mala, Hema etc., carried themselves with grace all the time and maintained themselves like that all along. You don't feel like saying cheap things about them because of that.

art imitates life (and the other way around as well), so it is not wrong to show the reality of modern times which is that many people are indeed having sex before marriage. CONSENSUAL sex is always acceptable if you are the appropriate age, and again it is CONSENSUAL whether it is between a man-woman, man-man, woman-woman - it is no one's business what grown adults do with their bodies. by saying that premarital sex should not be depicted on screen, then you are denial. i would much rather see a consensual lovemaking scene in a movie, than those prem chopra and other villain rape scenes that are not part of the story but used as a tool to show sex in a different way. movies are making premarital sex acceptable enough that in many places people are not demonized for it any more. all the women in a my friend and acquaintance group had premarital sex because we met our boyfriends in college and could not marry until much later. these days men and women are marrying in mid-30s because of career and studies pressure in a hyper-competitive world, it is not realistic to expect them to maintain virginity till that age if they want to consummate their relationship it should be up to them.

I agree only to a part of your comment. Not sex, LOVE is what they showed and it was so pure in 70s and 80s. Only if the heroine LOVED the hero for whatever qualities, she would accept him wholeheartedly and then marriage and sex would follow. That was the whole point. Sex before marriage was somehow never a norm in movies and real life in india. It still is not acceptable to have sex just because you feel like it. Now a days movies show intimacy so openly among unmarried people and make us feel like it's happening all over india (bollywood is supposed to represent india mostly). We had Helen, Bindu etc., for cabaret. A heroine was a normal person like you and me and somebody we can relate to/admire!!! That was actually nice. These days, premarital kisses, sex etc., is shown openly. Times change but we shouldn't imitate other nations if what they do doesn't really work for us. It's ok to be different and have different values. Even stars like waheeda, asha parekh, vyjatanti Mala, Hema etc., carried themselves with grace all the time and maintained themselves like that all along. You don't feel like saying cheap things about them because of that.

That's a good point. Ultimately cinema is cinema. Rating, censoring, inappropriateness etc., must be taken seriously. Not all are mature enough to watch beyond their understanding/age. Prem chopra scenes actually make the audience cringe (those movies were watched even by kids/teens I am sure) Consensual sex or whatever; something that we wouldn't recommend to our daughters/kids is always looked down upon. In short-Cinema is story telling . Every scene has a repercussion and in the end the moral/climax makes it clear whether what happened in the story was healthy or not! Cinema making comes with responsibility because people from all class watch.

In Indian culture a woman isn't supposed to desire sex let alone like it.
So movies normalize catcalling and Eve teasing because that is how the
Heroine is gotten by the hero in the end. The rape scenes for audience
Titillation are the most disgusting.

It's not that she isn't supposed to have desire for intimacy.... The problem is that such a desire/action comes with a consequence.., mental, physical, and biological consequence. Moreover, true love is not all about sex! Unless and until you find your soulmate/life partner, you hold on. That's what was what they were trying to portray. Humans are more intelligent than animals..

Interestingly, many non-Indian conservative people (such as Muslims in Middle East) started watching Indian films several decades ago for precisely the opposite reason. They weren't happy seeing nudity, sex scenes, kissing in Hollywood and Bollywood became an alternative. But today, Bollywood is no different, and even worse. It's sad because the conservative section of Indian and other similar cultures can rarely find a Bollywood film to watch these days. I'm starting to watch more Malayalam films, they are much better in this department than Bollywood. They have such fresh scripts and I think women characters are given more respect.

There was a time when I enjoyed watching these beautiful Indian people who did look Indian, dressed Indian, and behaved like they do in the Indian culture. Now, I feel they just copy the west, too much focus on sexualisation of the female actors :-( I really do find it disturbing and sad. I understand in a movie like "dirty picture" the scenario requires this kind of act but in a movie like "jab tak hai jaan", I found it all the males just wanted to see more and more of Katrina! yikes!


well duh!!!!.....thats like saying that the sky is blue.....

The thing is in Hollywood actresses go topless if its a love scene or if their character is that way in terms of personality. In Bollywood no matter what character an actress is playing they wear revealing clothes nothing really having to do with the character nor the character's personality.

THIS!! I remember watching Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani. I liked the movie and I like Deepika in it too but I couldn't help but notice that in the latter half of the movie, she was wearing traditional clothing and in almost everything she wore you could see her cleavage. What was the point of that? It did nothing for her character. She was supposed to be this beautiful, intelligent doctor but a simple and shy soul. I know this movie would've done the same business irregardless of such outfits. Nothing against Deepika, she's lovely but seriously Bollywood..what gives?

So an intelligent and shy doctor cannot grow up to embrace her femininity and wear outfits that show cleavage? I have low cut tops that I feel comfortable in, they fit me well and a bonus is my boobs look good in it - I'm smart, have values and am not a skank. News flash, cleavage isn't a sin, it's part of a woman's body and I'm not going to hide it just because men "can't control themselves".

LOL calm down. I said it did nothing for her character in the movie. There is nothing wrong with her showing her cleavage. Did you see me bring up race 2 where there was ample skin show? No because it made sense with her character and the mood of the film. Stop being so defensive when I didn't even attack her or you for that matter. I'm a woman as well and i know my cleavage isn't a sin. You clearly missed the point I was trying to make about Bollywood so I'm questioning if you are as smart as you say you are.

inaccessible womenin item numbers are hardly productive in a backward society as Indias. Also it is the fair skin factor of the vision of a foreign women that is at play. Interesting how the females are paid a great deal of money to perform in these numbers but them try to come across western and educated nut with no clue as to the issues of the common man. But a fact that India has real issues in its treatment of women. Bollywood could be the platform rather than catering for the less than satsified average. dawaat e ishq made an effort with dowry- Actresses actors directors think in your privedlegd platform think universally how to educate masses rather than line ones pockets

It's funny how people blame the actresses, not the movie producers and directors. This women would be out of job in no time if they said they don't want to do item songs and look pretty. The movie industry in India is led by men and they only want to make money. I blame the women in the business like Farah Khan who produces the same soft port type of crap instead of some intelligent women movies. As long as women don't get into this business as decision makers and push the women's agenda, all will stay the same. You can't blame the "soldiers" for a war, blame the "generals".

I don't understand. Does the audience really want to see scantily-clad women prancing about? Or is it because we are fed so much of this that we are made to believe that we want it?

If a character requires a certain look it is understandable but in most bollywood movies women are wearing micro mini skirts and looking trashy but trying to project the girl next door look. I think Bollywood shows too much skin unnecessarily, KJo's movies are oversexualized and it's no wonder that indian society has sex on the mind. Most look to Bollywood for everything and all they see in these movies are sexy women, sex, and nothing else.

They should make more movies like Mary Kom and less like Dirty Picture ! I mean come on !I would rather watch and I would rather watch and listen to Ziddi Dil than Lovely because I as a woman feel more empowered . I'm not promoting Mary Kom nor m I a fan , but movies where women are shown as a "character" with feelings and goals are OBVIOUSLY much better!

The irony of the story is in one side here we are in country like india where rapes,sexual ssault tothe womenare seen and read in day to day basis.On the other side,here we have this entertainment industry which has totaly objectified women as sexual and item numbers...we tend to forget that in overly populated country like India where majority r poor and illiterate people and how much entertainment industry has effect on them..who will take the blame??

Guys i skimmed over the actual summary of the study and its not very accurate at all. It said that the indian film industry has made no films with a female lead!! Which we all no is nonsense. Some of them have been huge hits. From dirty picture. Kahaani. English vinglish. Queen have all been female leads and a commercial success!

You should probably have read the whole thing :-/

Im glad this study has been done but as someone said its completely bogus. Number of thin females?? And for indian films i can almost bet u money that its only bollywood films

yes its only bollywood films.

Bipasha , Deepika makes sexyness is normality. But porn stars should have been banned right now.

Open double standards

Are you so dumb , I meant that Bipasha & Deepika is normally sexy n modern day women . And porn stars like Sunny leone and pee-nam pandey n sherlyn should leave. Sweata basu must leave too. There's no mercy for those who sells their body.

How Bipasha Basu is not in the Pictures, she's the most sexiest actress of Bollywood, the way she did those sex scenes in Creature 3D is so hot but she never looked Vulgar thats her sexy achievement.

The problem is, most people in india can't tell the difference between sexualizing female body in an item no or showing an actress objectified, eve teased (fully clothed), having no purpose in a movie or speaking role, just ornamental to say wearing a bikini or appearing nude! What can you say?? Ask sonakshi and u will understand why majority of the country doesn't understand this study :(

I think Indians have no one to blame but themselves for the crimes in which women are victims. When you promote your women as pieces of flesh, objects, helpless and weak (always requiring the help of a man) and pay to watch films where this is done, you are indirectly participating in the crimes that result from it. The west is no different in my opinion. They have similar crimes, but they at least have a justice system with little corruption in it that aids victims of crimes in getting justice for themselves. Adult men are biologically built to have sexual desires just like women and by dressing modestly, both men and women can avoid stirring each other's sexual urges.

do you know hollywood stars such as Anne hathaway,angelina jolie and many others went nude for films, the difference is they were not represented as sexualised objects unlike fully covered bollywood actresses

Lovelyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy LOLLllllllllll

The thing is, Oscar award winning actresses like Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry have gone fully nude in front of the camera, but in Hollywood and the rest of the world they don't degrade these women or view them as objectified in the films (even though none of the males private parts were shown). So many actresses in Hollywood have done nude scenes! They get awards for them lol not made fun of or objectified.

It's only in India where something like a woman's cleavage becomes national news. People need to get over it, accept a female's sexuality and her RIGHT to wear whatever she wants, be proud of her breasts, her cleavage, her bum, her abs, whatever and show it off! A man can wear a tight low cut v neck shirt to show off his pecs, or a singlet to show off his arms, or tight jeans, or walk around in shorts and kacha but a woman can't? This is just Indian mentality - double standards.

not objectified in Hollywood - ha ha.


Hatred is a bad thing dude. Get over it and worry about ur favs sinking career

im no sonam fan, but an actress whos signed up for literally the BIGGEST film of next year opposite the BIGGEST superstar of the countrys career could hardly be described as "sinking" pv post this!

this is not something to be proud of in a country with an alarming rate of rape and sex crimes. ban item songs that may not be responsible for rapes blah blah, but they sure as hell don't help matters in presenting a responsible and empowered image of women on screen. also the actresses who preach about women's rights and empowerment while shaking their bits scantily clad, need to make a stand and refuse to take part in such roles and songs which objectify women. if you're gonna talk the talk, then you better walk the walk. the buck stops with the women and producers of bollywood. grow up, act responsibly and show respect and the audience will follow suit.

What were there measurements? Attractiveness is quite a subjective thing..

true and india is promoting porn actor in mainstream hindi cinema....its going down the hill for hindi movies.hindi tv serial is a safe bet....

Omg like this is some sort of huge revelation? But legit question - how does one measure attractiveness?

Does anyone even take the UN seriously anymore? This report is so bogus it makes me cry. How the heck do you accurately define "attractive", "thin" or even "sexy attire"? So UN, please shove this up your backside.

Bollywood is competing,Hollywood's porn industry....UN report is true

B wood and all the rest of them should just pay more attention how Malayalam actors carry themselves it's embarrassing and a darn shame

west is so quick to point fingers at india forgetting the four fingers rightly pointed at itself. as much as india needs to be improve on this aspectm hollywood and american society itself is full of this. how else can one explain kim kardarshian and hazaar sex tapes scandals of various other people.

it is true about india but even more true in hollywood - that is just the fact.

Who takes the UN seriously? The US goes ahead with its wars despite its disapproval,it still has't given a comment on the Gaza issue,etc.Also why no mention that this study was done jointly with Rockerfeller,a US organization.Do you really they are going to put the US at the top of such a poll and face criticism from its own customers,most of whom are US citizens.I have yet to see a topless scene in a Hindi,Telugu or Marathi and yet we top it when US movies have had numerous topless and nude scenes? Was the wolf ot wall street based on world peace ? Oh wait let me guess, that's art

yes they do,but it was heavily criticized besides they have rating system,so you know before watching the movie that its going to have a sex scene or nude scene or its going to be a clean flick,also when movies are run on normal channels,they rip the scenes off....e.g I know my children dont have to watch game of thrones because of nudity,and other shows that have no nudity but suggestive dialogues,and I keep them locked..but in bollywood movies kids go an watch movies with item songs where a woman is sexually dancing and gyrating to tantalizes males,how many kids have watched sheila ki jawani??
Then see here no kid will be able to go watch The wolf of wall street ,which is a rated movie("R")
PG 13 movies have no sex scene,there will be a kiss and one curse world is allowed,and still its PG that is parental guidance .i.e. you decide if a movie scene or kiss etc is too much for your kid.
Thats the difference,let kids be kids!

We Indian are hypocrites , You got a problem UN? LOL The females always have the option to walkout of the movie wonder why dont they do it?

in Hindi cinema, it's getting bad..in Tamil cinema and Telugu, it's just disgusting the way they portray their leading actresses, especially in songs. I guess Malayam cinema hasn't yet succumb to these disgusting acts. -------------------------
do you guys think these actresses who have made it to the top by wearing lesser clothes and shaking it all THINK about the repercussions of their actions? nope, they only care about money. while they roam around with bodyguards, it is up to us to guard ourselves well!


Cant agree more on tamil and telugu cinema.. I am myself a telugu and I already stopped watching commercial telugu movies.. the only reason is the way they portray women as purely sex objects.. their formula is very simple.. show the lady as fair as milk, make them wear skimpy clothes, camera angle should show only on their waists, bellies and cleavage.. no acting, no defined character, no other talent..just showing waist n abs is enough.. this is changing the way guys think about women completely and I myself witnessed many such sexist comments from Andhra men.. Tamil is still better I feel..

tamil cinema is much better than telugu and hindi and seriously who cares abt mallu cinema yaar ,,large actors and larger women!...

malayalam films at least have story and great actors and actresses who can actually act unlike vijay, allu arjun...all they do is dance and do larger than live stupid action films......

I live for Malayalam cinema. The way things are going I swear it might be the only films I'll let my kids watch from india.

no shocker,yes its true,i prefer hollywood in this regard,they do have meaty roles for women,and movies are blockbusters.

List them actresses so we know its real. Lol

Hmmm where the hypocrites and their fandoms. Its fact fact fact right here for you all.

You used the right pictures, two out of three of the women pictured owe their entire careers to such high-sexualisation and make no apologies for it.

In india women is an object created only to satisfy men's lust. She is not suppose to think study or speak up. She is only to act as a sex doll. That is what men learns since birth until they die. I Don't see it changing anytime near future.

Aren't all these criteria subjective though? I don't doubt it, it's just a strange study since everyone's idea of thin, attractive, and "sexy attire" are different...

I'm genuinely confused how this is an objective study.

Lol, cant help but notice that India has the least number of thin women in films...

i rest my case.

India has the highest percent of attractive women

India has the highest percent of attractive women

Not surprised at all. But what boggles me is that there is an actual survey on sexualization of women?!! Hopefully this makes movie makers rethink their content (i know, not going to happen)

Something to be NOT so proud of I guess !! :/

It's true, but to be honest, so is the West. I've grown up watching Hollywood and Bollywood, and they both have these things. However, there are also better female driven movies in the West too, and that's the difference.

India is the fattest?

The item number craze plays a large role in this ranking.

This is so bogus... only 10% of attractive females in American movies?

Yes nothing has changed in BW. Almost all old BW movies have the lead actress being raped or the bad guy is trying to rape her! Now, all leading actress (Kat, Deepika, Kareena,...etc) are dying to get the next big item songs where they degrade themselves and are presented as an object!

Its true. India is very hypocritial when it comes to the topic of 'Sex' and 'nudity'

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