Monday, February 25, 2008

On Feline Feminism

I am addicted to FM. My job involves so much of intercity travel that it's the only thing that stops me from going insane at the clutter inside local trains, in traffic jams, in BEST buses. RJs are the only problem with FM, or at least, they used to be the only problem. There's the Akashwani requests from "Sheelanagar se Tinku, Rajesh, Pravin, Menaka, Manju, Arya, Upen, Gaurav" for some godforsaken song from a Manoj Kumar movie which was not about patriotism and so no one is aware of it - no one outside of Sheelanagar, that is.

For a couple of hours day you cna hear the AIR 107 FM RJs with the convent accents taking requests for English music from the Bandra Reclamation Catholic Brigade. Here, both listeners and RJs have the worst taste in music: "The next track here is a romantic track, a lovely track This is requested by Anthony for his girlfriend Melinda, and I dedicate it to Xavier as well, and to Bibiana who love this song as much as I love playing it... here's Michael Bolton's 'Can I touch you there' ..."

And then there are the Hinglish RJs - the Jaggu and Tarana and other people whose names I cannot recollect despite them repeating them over and over again. I like Jaggu and Tarana with their spunky spoofing of random issues. Radio Stations also love their little skits. 'Chai with Charan' was fun, at times, but most others are just too goddamn painful for words. But if I ever get into an accident while crossing the road, there's a 78% chance that it was because I was too busy laughing aloud to 'Phone ring toh Ghanta Singh'.

But everything, no matter how bad, is all welcome entertainment compared to the new entrant on the FM scene - 104.8FM.

Look, I'm all for women's empowerment. I consider myself a feminist lawyer and I'm proud of it. I stand up for women, be they my friends who have just broken up with trash men or clients married to trash men. I would like to find a way to help them help themselves. Don't we all?

However, a radio station was never a plausible idea, to me, for some reason I didn't think that a women's only Radio Station would lead to the upliftment of women and the solution to all their problems.

Guess what? It still isn't!

Let us begin with the Radio Station's theme song:

A woman begins screaming, because calling that noise 'singing' would be a crime...



India ka first Women's only Radio Station"

Louder and shriller, now:





Oww indeed. And if you are used to hearing the radio at full volume, and if you're lucky, you might be rendered partially deaf, as apparently there are no regulations on things like this. If not, like I was, you'll have to bear the content.

The channel has little self-ads in which they talk about how women are different, they have different roles, and how the station is "there for them" yadayadayada. So they have more of a focus on "content" than on music, naturally. With wonderful pathbreaking shows like "tu tu meow meow", which is a male female debate show, and "meow matinee" in which they discuss things that affect you, and "meri meow" which is all about solving your problems, Meow FM proposes to be the best thing that ever happened to women!

I don't care how many women with scratch marks on their faces are blowing kisses on every BEST bus in Mumbai not already advertising for the Firangi Channel, the producers and content supervisors are probably men. Why do I say that? Let me see...

1. Meow matinee, a few days ago, proposed to discuss one the most important issues in a woman's life. Guess what it was? Breast Cancer? The Human Papilloma Virus? Dowry? Stridhan as a woman's exclusive property?
Get real guys. Figure out the real issue:

Kitty Parties!

2. One of their USPs is 'advice to women' and encouragement to call in with issues and problems, and of course women need their own radio station for this, after all, all women are messed up and need help. And there are too many radio stations with Agony Aunt shows in which the RJs blatanly hang up on women.
3. Excuse the sarcasm. Fine, I can understand that a lot of women have no one to talk to and no one to understand them, but if that's what you are looking to combat, why can't we get a few sensible people to render advice? For instance:
"Mera boyfriend hai, we have been going out for past 3 years. Now he is saying that he doesn't want to get married to me, because he wants to make carrier. My parents want me to get married but I have taken an oath that I will not get married without him."
So what's a solution that a woman needs to hear from a radio station devoted to her needs? Maybe a dose of a little "he's just not that into you"? Maybe a little dose of reality? Maybe a little 'would you like to move on now or when you are 35 and when he is conveniently married to someone else?'.
No no no, now, that's not what a meeti and catty friend would do, instead, the girl is advised:
"Have you told him about this oath of yours?"
"You should tell him. He needs time. He needs to know your feelings..."
Again, people do not realize that it is this very approach that screws plenty of desirable, intelligent, popular, witty and smart women all over the city. So now, more desirable, intelligent, popular, witty and smart women will join the screwed over brigade. Come along sisters, the more the merrier.

And lastly, its ironic that a Radio Station which seeks to make a place for women on FM names the station after one of the most painful stereotypes attributed to women. I suppose we should all be thankful that they chose the feline over the female canine, should we not?

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