People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 32

August 11 , 2013

TOI Hits Low with Sexist Writings: DUJ

THE Gender Council of the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) had noted with dismay the increasingly sexist writings and visuals of women appearing in The Times of India (TOI). Instead of raising professional standards, the TOI seems to be hitting a new low.

Through a press release issued on August 4, 20134 by DUJ president Sujata Madhok and general secretary S K Pande, the DUJ Gender Council also pointed out that recently there was a report in Huffington Post focussing on these aspects of The Times of India. It wrote, �The newspaper with the largest English language circulation in the world has published one of the worst articles about women ever.�

The piece titled �Weird, Funny Facts about Women,� written by reporter Biben Laikhuram, was posted on the Times website but was hastily removed after strong reactions on Facebook and Twitter. It mentions how often women �do not bathe� but use perfume to cover up the stink, how they "can spend a whole day before the mirror," and similar absurdities. Other offensive stories in the recent past include repeated explicit discussions on sex positions etc, all written from a perspective that reeks of voyeurism and titillation and underlying misogyny.

The press release conveyed the firm belief of the Gender Council that newspapers do not have to depend on smut to sell if they are truly professional in their reporting and writing and are able to meet the genuine information needs of their readers.

In a letter written to the chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI), the DUJ has urged upon him to take cognisance of such offensive reporting against women in The Times of India.