Man’s World in Ladies Room: Examining the Counter-Hegemonic Gender Representations in Indian Digital Streaming Content

© Media Watch 10 (S) 19-30, 2019
ISSN 0976-0911 e-ISSN 2249-8818
DOI: 10.15655/mw/2019/v10/Spl/49613


Man’s World in Ladies Room: Examining the Counter-Hegemonic 
Gender Representations in Indian Digital Streaming Content


Ruchi Jaggi1 & Uttara Manohar2
1Symbiosis International University, India
2University of Wisconsin La-Crosse, USA



Digital media platforms like YouTube have allowed space for counter-hegemonic gender narratives in the Indian media landscape. A content analysis of two YouTube web-series (Ladies Room and It’s a Man’s World) was conducted to examine the construction of gender in these new-age narratives. The purpose of the investigation was to examine if the digital content in the YouTube web-series conforms to the traditionally mandated sex-role expectations about general attributes, activities, emotional expression, and speech patterns that are typically associated with men and women. Our findings illustrate that the Ladies Room reflects a post-feminist ideological stance through its plot, imagery, and visuals, emphasizing that girls’ stories are important and can be funny. These characters represent the urban Indian women, where privileged women can resist the traditionally prescribed gender norms. On the other hand, It’s a Man’s World, challenges the hegemonic gender representation in mainstream media but ironically replicates some of the subservient feminine stereotypes as enacted from a man’s perspective. Overall, the representation of the three primary characters and the packaging of the shows is suave, contemporary, and relatable for the young Indian audience. More importantly, these web-series resist and challenge the traditional gender narrative that dominates the mainstream Indian film and TV shows. 


Keywords: YouTube content, Indian web series, gender representations, OTT-content, millennial viewers




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Ruchi Jaggi (Ph.D., Savitribai Phule Pune University, 2016) is an Associate Professor and Director of Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Symbiosis International (Deemed University), Pune, India. Her research interests include media representations, children and television, popular culture analysis, gender studies, television studies, and emerging discourses of identity on the new media. She is a reviewer with national and international journals and publications including Taylor & Francis and Sage and is also on editorial boards of journals and publications.

Uttara Manohar is an intercultural communication scholar whose research examines communication practices that manifest and sustain stereotypes and biases based on social categories of race, nationality, and gender. Her research examines depictions of sexual violence and gender in the Indian media context and has been presented at national and international communication conferences and published in peer-reviewed international journals.


Correspondence to: Ruchi Jaggi, Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Symbiosis International (Deemed University), Symbiosis Knowledge Village, Lavale, Mulshi, Pune-412 115, India