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'The Spoilt Modern Indian Woman' Eviscerates Indian Gender Stereotypes on Facebook

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What's the best way of tackling inequality? Facing it head on. Stereotyping against women remains an ongoing issue the world over, but in India, it's rampant, and emblematic of a far bigger issue. Many Indian laws and outdated cultural dynamics still place Indian women in a very difficult, often perilous position. Stereotyping may not be as severe, but one begets the other. Those who question the 'established' notions of how women are supposed to behave are often berated, or even threatened for it.

That hasn't stopped The Spoilt Modern Indian Woman though. That might sound like a deliberately ironic title for some sort of performance artist, but it's actually a Facebook group dedicated to highlighting the unfair and unrealistic standards inflicted upon women in India, and then turning them upside down. Using the commonly employed format of an image with bold block text above and below, each top line references a particular stereotype, and then the bottom one cuts its legs away.

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It's simple, but judging from the nearly 15,000 likes the page has accumulated since it went live about 8 months ago, it's doing the job. The name comes from an insult which was hurled at the co-founder of the page, Sonam Mittal, after she wrote an article about having been raped by a co-worker while she was on an NGO placement. That wasn't even the most venomous insult she received following the article, or her other one about having been molested on a beach in Goa, and then told by the police that it was her fault for being out late.

Sadly, it's not uncommon for Indian women who raise such issues, personal or otherwise, to be met with scorn. What The Spoilt Indian Woman does, which is so vital, is to take the issue beyond its home nation. Sure, it's funny, but humour is often the best way of catching the initial attention that ultimately leads to greater concern. It's been linked to a spate of other, similar campaigns appearing across the world, including the Everyday Sexism project here in the UK.

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A lot of India's gender issues are deeply embedded, and it's going to take more than a few memes to dig them out, but the Indian government is keen to ally with social media giants like Facebook, and they are becoming increasingly more concerned with their global image. Pages like this are going to maintain and spread the awareness of their issues with sexism and hopefully, they will subsequently recognise a need to address them.



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF


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'The Spoilt Modern Indian Woman' Eviscerates Indian Gender Stereotypes on Facebook Reviewed by Callum Davies on Friday, March 11, 2016 Rating: 5

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