Petition against the Portrayal of Women in Tamil TV-Serials

  • Author:
  • Send To:
    The Producers of Tamil TV Serials in various Tamil TV channels in Tamil Nadu and the respective regulatory agencies in the Tamil Nadu Govt. and the Govt. of India.
  • Sponsored By:
    Womens Alliance for Rationality (WAR), USA.
  • More Info at:
The primary reason that the immigrant Tamil families who live in the United States and elsewhere subscribe to the Tamil TV channels such as the Sun TV or the Jaya TV is to impart the Tamil language and culture to their offspring while living in the western countries. Watching the Tele-Serials begins like an innocent entertainment, slowly becomes an evening obsession and finally harms the mindset of the women and children - the primary viewers of these serials.

Tamil TV serials portray one half of the women characters as dependants and sufferers who often cry thus enforcing the age-old stereotypical view that women are generally weak and cant do anything on their own. They perpetuate the view that it is always good for women to be patient and accept any mistreatment that she may be subjected to by her husband and his family and sometimes even by the society. The remaining women are typecast as outright evil, plotting and abusive characters and go to any extent (even hiring goons) to settle personal scores. It is also not uncommon that one woman in each serial is shown as the super-woman who is like a saint and will achieve anything through her unimaginably perfect characteristics.

According to a scientific study conducted by the Indian Science Monitor (ISM), a non-profit organization in Tamil Nadu, the women themselves consider such over-the-top portrayal as outright unethical and dangerous to the social fabrics (The Hindu, January 12, 2006). In a survey done as part of their study, 70\% of those who watched at least two hours of these TV serials categorically opposed such negative characterization of women.

Tamil women living in the Western countries are probably far more conscious of their identity than their counterparts in Tamil Nadu thanks to the lifestyle prevalent in these societies. Hence it is not only highly illogical but also commercially unviable when these Tamil channels from India try to churn out the same stereotypes that are being aired in India. Thus when history tells us that a society, which empowers women, prospers the most, the Tamil TV serials presents a dilemma and a false sense of Tamil culture.

Most of us believe that the time has come for demanding a change in the portrayal of womens roles in todays Tamil TV serials. Hence, we would like to request you to please reform your programming style and create new Tamil TV Serials which are not only entertainment oriented but are also morally responsible and socially acceptable. We also hope your programs reflect the tradition and values of our rich Tamil culture and history as it undergoes and adapts to changes and growth in this modern day and age. We are looking forward to your cooperation. Thank you. *