Sri Reddy, a Telugu actress who recently went on a semi-nude protest against Tollywood's producers and directors, has alleged them of asking for naked pictures and videos in exchange for a prospective role.
Sri, a talented Telugu actress who is vocal about 'casting couch being a real thing' in the Indian film industry, has once again sparked a debate on the #MeToo movement that revolutionised the entire Hollywood and other film industries around the world.
Casting couch, which is commonly related to film and television industry is indeed a sad reality in every industry. It's a form of sexism at the workplace after all. The process where a superior authority with a power to provide employment and shape someone's career demands lewd favours in exchange is nothing short of gender prejudice.
As a part of the industry at the beginning of my career, I learned that the perpetrators and victims alike, are often termed as 'a well-known secret.' Directors, producers or struggling actors (usual victims) who've been part of it or involved in such cases are seen as 'a well-known secret,' by others.
A lot many people (more than you could imagine) have once in their life encountered a moment of sexual harassment/casting couch or at least have come across an instance where someone superior to them attempted to get some sexual favour from them.
It was Alyssa Milano who noticed this first and then re-started a hashtag, once famous on MySpace, that was earlier initiated by Tarana Burkee with two simple words, Me Too.
Actress Alyssa re-started this hashtag to accuse Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and workplace sexism. It became a global trend as more than 64 women showed courage and came out to blame him for doing the same with them.
Earlier, a majority of Indian women who supported equal rights for females n the society would only know about the protests relating to child marriage, sex-selective abortions and dowry-related violence.
Later in 2012, we witnessed the most unfortunate rape incident in the nation's capital that threw some light on other women-centric issues like women safety, eve-teasing, cyberbullying, sexual abuse among others.
For instance, the government criminalised stalking and voyeurism. A lot of other laws came into existence at the state levels as well.
While all of this was going on, we Indians as a nation opened up a bit on sexual harassment, and it became a household discussion.
Perception changed, and the behaviour where parents and children used to feel awkward and changetelevision channel whenever they'd spot such news has slowly faded away.
#MeToo revolutionised the way issues like sexual harassment at workplace and casting couch were addressed around the world. Its impact is so vast that it has scared the ones who do it, gave power to innocent voices of victims.
In its light, Indian women, too, realised too that this battle is still far from over, there's no shame to come out openly and talk about it.
In Sri Reddy's case, where it has been iterated by some people that she has staged the entire protest to defame Tollywood and to gain some publicity. But then again, more women face such adversities in reality than those who would fake it for their own sake.
More than 16% of young Indians say casting couch in the film industry is an exception, not everyone does it, nor everyone is a victim of it.
Whereas, the majority of the people say a person should be judged based on talent, and not the body.
What's your take on the entire issue? Share your views in the comment box below.
That's all for now, folks!