How TV ads turned us into a nation of voyeurs

ROHIT BATNI writes from Bangalore: Lately, watching TV at home has become synonymous to watching ‘public undressing’ performances most of the time.

TV today is giving birth to more voyeurs in this society than anything else ever did. It is sad that creativity has lost all its colors and reserved itself to blue!

With advertisements restricted to 20% of the TV airtime per-hour, advertisers are pushed to the limit of retaining viewer attention, and resorting to ‘public undressing’ seems to be their way-out?

Watching these lewd visuals have gradually come to being an acceptable ritual in the living room. What used to be earlier a taboo to even talk about has suddenly become the tea-time pastime for a good portion of the TV market.

And this very society is now plagued by rapes and other heinous crimes. These behavior changes sponsored by the market forces are not doing any good to us at all.

Clearly, as a society, you cannot undress in public (on- or off-screen) and not be plagued by crime at the same time! We’ve got to choose between these two.

There’s absolutely no logic in daring the opposite sex by taking them to the limit of hormonal tests by means of these public undressing performances.

Likewise there’s no logic in questioning the integrity of people when there’s no way of separating the ones with integrity from the ones without it.

It is enough trouble if each city has one rapist at large.

But on similar lines demanding capital punishment to anyone that commits this crime, however heinous, doesn’t help alleviate the problem. A judicial precedent means nothing for a mind that is weak enough to become criminal.

Rapid, unplanned and unsustainable urbanization has triggered unforeseen migration at national levels, leading to unhealthy inter-personal relations in an otherwise well-connected society, also causing a perceivable plummet in average moral values among dwellers.

Viral consumerism, considered quintessential to running any urbanized settlement, has blinded the average citizen to the ill-effects of such sponsored behavior changes in a society.

The aberration between market and society faced by common man makes him miss the big picture – that he is being modified (from within) in the pretext of being captured better by market forces. Even to the extent of approving the inappropriate and making their societies breeding grounds for criminals.

Although a weird one, this is a comparison I find convincing always – crime is like a river, with not a single clear source of its birth, innumerable tributaries contributing to its growth, all headed towards one common destination: an out-pour of the darkness out of oneself.

This state-of-mind called crime cannot be culled by an act of law, instead it should be culled by an act of collective conscious minds.

In fact drawing from experiences of various people in the same society, it can even be deduced that penal laws constructed out of similar compelling situations (viz., Sec 498A IPC) have only jeopardized harmony in the society and paved new avenues for corruption of the human mind.

Like it is said, in the case of Sec 498A, it has heralded new ways of exposing the lowest levels of the executive & judiciary to corruption, who had been deprived of the benefits of erstwhile penal laws.

Hence, in the interest of public welfare, it would be prudent of the youth to not take up the cudgels for compelling the legislature to play a blind-game.

Instead the same youth had rather display their collective sense and strength in warding off spirits in the market that, in the name of consumerism, convince people to even approve vulgarity such as ‘public undressing’.

Being a better informed customer is as important today as being a better informed citizen. Let us not build unnecessary fortresses of legislation when we can prevent such a need by being a better informed customer.

Also view: The commodification of women