The ‘Industry’

I have always been a fan of the media – be it songs or films. As a teenager, I was huge TV fan, watching almost anything and everything – especially things I wasn’t allowed to watch. I consumed more than my fair share of movies and TV series, from Hollywood to Bollywood.

As I grew older, the realities that confronted me on my television screen became glaringly obvious. What kind of topsy-turvy world was this – where everyone is beautiful and happy endings are inevitable?  Certainly isn’t a reflection of real life, although the industry claims to mirror the world as it is. Oh, that’s right. Patriarchal, condescending to women and stereotypical – I guess they stayed true to their word.

Sex sells. All these women I’ve sent overseas, all started out like you. Now they’re earning 10k a month, and having the time of their lives in Paris. I’ve seen this girls naked, they’ve trusted me with their nudity.

You can’t be difficult to work with, you should know how to be flexible. You can’t go into this with principles.

Have you noticed how the entertainment industry is rarely taken seriously and sometimes even, looked down upon? So when I told my parents that I wanted to sing, back when I was 16, it’s no surprise to me, in hindsight that they were visibly unhappy with the idea. I vowed to find a way to sing that wouldn’t compromise my beliefs and values, and still make Mom and Dad proud, without giving up my traditions.

Traditions, values, principles – what are all these compared to the riches I could earn. To the fame I could get. If I just do what I have to do, ignore everything and everyone, keep my eyes focused on the end goal – then I can do anything, and I will, without caring at what cost to myself, and my loved ones. Without caring about my dignity and my self-worth.

Diesel "Sex Sells"

Diesel “Sex Sells” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Because what is dignity and self-worth when it comes to money. What is right and what is wrong all fades away.

Is that what you would tell me?

If you want to be an entertainer, are you only successful if you sell yourself as an object of sex?

Is it worth it? To sleep with the director, just so you can get a small  part in the new movie. Is it worth it, to give a blow-job to the photographer, who may or may not reject you because you decide to say no?

Are you telling me that all this money and fame compensates for everything else?

Are you telling me that you would tell your sister/cousin/niece to go in there, go make it big in the entertainment industry and do it exactly the way you did it? Would you?

How would you feel if your friend came to you and told you she had to sleep with a guy to get a part in a movie? Would you encourage her to continue?  I find it so hard to believe that a person would ‘sell’ their bodies, for no other reason than they had to. Understand also that this is not coming from a moral high ground, these questions have come up in my own struggle to determine what is more important to me – my passsion or my values. Perhaps there is a way to balance the two. In my case, wanting to be a paid singer was the dream, which would have compromised my values and position against selling out to the ‘sex sells’ line. It is expected of girls lining up outside an agency’s office to take off an item of clothing, or at least to bare some cleavage.

Sell: your body, your femaleness, your sexuality, your femininity.
Be coy, make sure you don’t know all the answers.
Let him lead, be polite, don’t say no if he wants it.It’s rude to allow your desires to interrupt his.
Be flexible, ready for anything. Just do whatever it takes –
to get to the
top.
 
Does the end justify the means?
 
 No. The answer is a resounding NO every single time. I can hardly believe that I almost fell for this, once upon a time – in my mindless pursuit to get a break for my singing.

There is no way in hell I can participate in this mind-fuckery AND stay true to my beliefs. You might argue that I’m too much of an idealist and I won’t be able to argue with you even then. But no means no. And I’ll be happy to be called an extremist, if that is indeed, what I am.

An industry that treats its workers as one and the same, no better than the last one that walked in, just another face.

An industry that will purposely break your spirit in order for you to think that you will never be good enough.

An industry that calls you ‘average‘ in a roomful of people dying to be the very same thing you are.

Such an industry is not worth it, at least for me. And I question anybody who tells me that it was, in the end.

Money and fame doesn’t buy you anything except for basic necessities; it cannot fulfill your innermost desires and wants. Taking the shortcut is simply going to diminish your self-worth and perpetrate the lies that are told in the industry, like the ‘sex sells’ shit they’ve been telling us for years. It is time to break our silence on this lurid nonsense and speak out against mainstream media, the entertainment industry and how girls are expected to be treated when they’re looking to make it big.

The next time you’re asked to ‘be sexy’, tell em that you already are. Then smile sweetly and give them the finger.

              p/s: Image credits go to Elena Rossini – this is a documentary in the making called The Illusionists.
 
 
 

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