© Media Watch 10 (S) 19-30, 2019
ISSN 0976-0911 e-ISSN 2249-8818
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
Budhwar, P. S., Saini, D. S., & Bhatnagar, J. (2005). Women in management in the new economic environment: The case of India. Asia Pacific Business Review, 11, 179-193. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1360238042000291199
Das, M. (2011).Sex role portrayals in Indian television ads. Sex Roles, 64, 208-222. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-010-9750-1
Davis, S. W., Williams, J. E., & Best, D. L. (1982). Sex-trait stereotypes in the self-and peer descriptions of third-grade children. Sex Roles, 8, 315-331. Retrieved from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00287314?LI=true
Geary, D. C. (2002). Sexual selection and sex differences in social cognition.Biology, society, and behavior: The development of sex differences in cognition, 21, 23-53. Retrieved from: https://faculty.missouri.edu/~gearyd/Socialcognitionformat2.pdf
Hosman, L. A. (1989). The evaluative consequences of hedges, hesitations, and intensifies powerful and powerless speech styles. Human Communication Research, 15(3), 383-406.
Jaggi, R. (2011). The Great Indian Television Soap Opera: Issues of Identity and Socio-cultural Dynamics. Media Asia, 38, 140-145. Retrieved from: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01296612.2011.11726893
Jensen, R., & Oster, E. (2009). The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women’s Status in India. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124, 1057-1094. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40506252
Manohar, U., & Kline, S. L. (2014). Sexual assault portrayals in Hindi cinema. Sex Roles, 71(5- 8), 233-245. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-014-0404-6
Munshi, S. (1998). Wife/mother/daughter-in-law: Multiple avatars of homemaker in 1990s Indian advertising. Media, Culture & Society, 20(4), 573-591. Retrieved from: doi: 10.1177/016344398020004004
Nanda, P., Gautam, M. A., Verma, R., Hong, K. T., Linh, M. T. G., Puri, M., & Tamang, M. J. (2012). Study on Gender, Masculinity and Son Preference in Nepal and Vietnam. International Center for Research on Women, New Delhi, India.
Nath, D. (2000). Gently shattering the glass ceiling: experiences of Indian women managers. Women in Management Review, 15, 44-52. Retrieved from: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/09649420010310191
Osella, C., & Osella, F. (2006).Men and masculinities in South India.Anthem Press.
Prasad, R. (2009). Alcohol use on the rise in India.The Lancet, 373(9657), 17-18. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61939-X
Reis, H. T. (1994). Gender differences in intimacy and related behaviors: Context and processes. In D. J. Canary & Dindia (Eds.), Sex differences and similarities in communication: Critical essays and empirical investigations of sex and gender in interaction (pp.203- 231). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Verma, R. K., Pulerwitz, J., Mahendra, V., Khandekar, S., Barker, G., Fulpagare, P., & Singh, S.K. (2006). Challenging and changing gender attitudes among young men in Mumbai, India. Reproductive Health Matters, 14, 135-143. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0968-8080(06)28261-2
Williamsa, J. E., Best, D. L., Haque, A., Pandey, J., &Verma, R. K. (1982).Sex-trait stereotypes in India and Pakistan. The Journal of Psychology, 111, 167-181. Doi: 10.1080/00223980.1982.9915356
Wood, W., & Eagly, A. H. (2002). A cross-cultural analysis of the behavior of women and men: implications for the origins of sex differences. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 699-727. Retrieved from: http://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/0033-2909.128.5.699
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