Stuck in a Gray Area?

 Renita Siqueira is currently pursuing her third year of BMM in Mumbai. She has been an avid reader since childhood. Being a creative person, she enjoys art and craft and makes cards for family and friends and paints t-shirts. Movies, books and listening to music are a part of her staple diet. She loves spending time with friends and believes in being herself. She’s always expressed herself better through the written word and discovered her interest for poetry at the age of 15. She pens down some of her thoughts on her blog-

Stuck in a Gray Area?

Quite a while back, a book, a supposed ‘erotica’ novel came out in the market. People thronged to read this book. It received such a response that it was eventually made into a movie. And this movie was released on Valentine’s Day. You might think, ‘What a romantic way to spent Valentine’s day!’

Seeing the hype it caused I decided to read this ‘good book’ that my friend recommended. I was shocked by what I read.

It certainly wasn’t about love or romance. All I could see was a predator trying to catch his prey, a man gaining pleasure from a woman’s pain. Dominance, control, sadism and objectification of a person were some of the things that hit me. What concerned me even more was that the objectified person tried to understand the protagonist’s mind and consented to put up with his antics even at risk to herself. People thronged to read this? And pre-booked tickets to watch this movie? If people enjoyed reading about sadism, didn’t that make them sadists too?

I found it strange that such a distorted portrayal of erotica was both accepted and lapped up by the audience. The line between pleasure and abuse has become so thin it’s almost non- existent. It is this perverse idea of dominance and control that many a times translates into violence, usually on someone weaker, and most often than not, on women. We see real life cases every day of exploitation, harassment, incest and rape to name a few that are examples of the same issues of dominance, control, sadism and objectification that come out in the book.

In times like ours, when we are so determined to fight violence and abuse of any form why do we like and sometimes even endorse such books and movies that romanticize sexual violence? Abuse and violence of any kind, whether on paper or not, is unacceptable. Let’s not be hypocrites who do not practise what they preach.

Fight abuse, not just through word and deed but the very way you think. Stop someone the next time they joke about rape or eve teasing or pass comments and objectify someone. Do not advocate abuse even in the form of a ‘good book’ or ‘funny joke’. n When you truly believe it’s time for change, everything is either right or wrong, black or white. A gray area suggests compromise. So pick a side and stand by it in everything you do. Don’t be trapped in that convenient gray area.


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