The Breakthrough Voice 13th August, 2019

Why Pop Culture Is A Force To Be Reckoned With – Part 2.

In this day and age, pop culture and its influence are at their peak. Primarily because of the reach of social media. Pop culture is immensely entertaining, draws in huge audiences and can be one of the most effective ways of raising awareness about social causes. Here are some examples as to how pop culture was effectively used for social awareness:

Menstruation Taboos

In a place like India, menstruation is still a massively taboo subject. People tend to forget that it is a natural process of the female body. Therefore, it is perplexing to understand why it is a taboo. Certain cultures have celebrated it – mostly, and unfortunately, because it is a sign of reproduction. Which then begs the question – is a woman’s ultimate goal reproduction? 

In 2011, it was reported that only 12% of India’s 355 million menstruating women use sanitary napkins, whereas others resort to alternatives like unsanitised cloth, ash and husk sand. That is the reason why Reproductive Tract Infection is 70% more common amongst these women. 

Videos like this remixed song by Girliyapa help to spread awareness about stigma through entertainment and helps break barriers and stereotypes.


The comic scene in India has gained tremendous pace. It has become immensely popular with the youth and has many platforms popping up all over the country. Comedy is a great way to implement social change because it is able to do two things very effectively – directly point out the futility of some of the traditions and cultures that we follow, which tend to be socially destructive. It is also entertaining and therefore people are more willing to listen and understand.

For example, Vir Das talks about the troubles between religions and communal disharmony in his comedic routine. He is very clearly able to point out areas where one religion might have a problem with the other, and blatantly calls out the different problems in the issues present.

Street Sexual Harassment

On 1st January 2017, in Bangalore – regarded as the safest city in India – girls on the street were grabbed, groped and abused. Despite as many as 1,500 policemen being present on the streets, they were not able to avoid an incident of this nature. Street sexual harassment in India is as rampant as it can be. The reason it is done is that it is considered to be ‘fun’. Harassers disregard the trauma and fear that they inflict in the guise of enjoying themselves. Social experiments such as this video not only clearly give an example of the kind of harassment taking place – but it also puts the perpetrators in an embarrassing position.

Online Harassment

Social media is a great way to spread a social cause. However, it can also be detrimental because all kinds of people have access to these online resources – and access to multiple ways to contact other people. There aren’t many effective methods of fighting trolls. This video takes on a humorous Qawwali format where two women tell their stories of being stalked online and offline.

Fat Shaming

In this day and age – people have gotten very health conscious. Unfortunately, that has resulted in many people making comments about another person’s appearance, usually regarding their weight. It is reasoned by saying that it is out of a sense of ‘fun’. However what people forget that it is not funny at all, but in fact narrow-minded and inhumane. People tend to lose their self-confidence due to these comments made. They think twice before talking to other people, tend to avoid going outside, and just generally feel uncomfortable around others. People who make such comments need to understand that there is not one instance where making a fat joke is funny.  

Voice Of The People 

People are using social media to push the government to serve them better. It’s almost used as a gathering of voices to show that they have a common concern that has to be addressed. This video talks about the many potholes in Mumbai – and how the state government should take long-overdue initiative about it. 

Ridiculous Beauty Standards 

People in India have an extremely unfair belief that fairness is equal to beauty, and dark skin colour is well out of this gambit. That is why big brands like Fair and Lovely try to promote fairness and give people the idea that becoming ‘fair’ will help them with their life in general. But why? Why does one need to become fair? People need to stop thinking of darker women as any less. This video wonderfully brings that out. 

The ‘Perfect’ Bride

Families always promise their daughters that all their ‘problems’ will magically vanish as soon as they get married. There is this weird social pressure to get married because according to this assumption, women’s ‘biological clock’ is running out. To be the perfect bride in India, she needs to be as “Indian” as possible. This Indianness is brought about by wearing Indian clothes, keeping long hair, etc. A woman can’t be smoking, drinking, partying etc. for then she is not considered ‘pure’ and marriageable. To add to this mess – a woman’s place in a married household is considered to be in the kitchen.

Featured image used for representative purpose only. Image source: TeePublic

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