Bhamini Lakshminarayan | M2015MC013
Dr. Sunitha Chitrapu
11th September, 2015
Consuming Resistance: The Political Economy of the Media and Women
In 1991, India’s Balance of Payments crisis ushered in the era of the IMF/World Bank-mandated conditionalities of economic reform that were focussed on macroeconomic stabilisation, liberalisation, privatisation, and deregulation. This resulted in various consequences that are still being debated, among these being a change in the media that we now consume and create. The liberalised media has shaped the discourses that we consume and create today, shaping them into different forms than those that were prevalent in the pre-liberalised era. Drawing from the ideas I found most relevant in the readings prescribed for this course, I use Adorno (1975), Fejes (1981), McChesney and Schiller (2003), Fernandes (2000), Straubhaar (2003), Chomsky (1988), and Habermas (1989) in an attempt to place the discourse surrounding the women’s movement in India within the nexus of the liberalising political economy and the media.
The wave of feminism in the 1970’s and 1980’s in India focused on the exclusion of women in representational and public spaces, and their consequent lack of political power rendering their existence and arguments nearly invisible; this movement focussed on collective needs. In contrast, the newly liberalised movement is one that focusses more upon the needs of individual sexuality and agency – a change which I locate within the newly consumer-oriented economic space, within which, I argue, the market claims that the needs of today’s woman can met by specific consumption patterns described and reflected by the media.