ear Yo Yo Honey,
Listen. What was your first word? 'Ma'?
Words are one of the first things we ache for. A baby learns to say 'Ma' or 'Pa' or 'Daadi' because those are the words of first love. Then comes 'Yes', 'No', 'Biscuit'. They point to eyes, say 'eyes'. They are happy when they go to a park. They ask: Why do cats eat rats? Why can't I follow you into the bathroom?
Yo Yo, a baby learns words as a way of understanding his world. Papa says he must go out to work so he can feed you. You learn that a man must make money. If Ma beats you, you learn that beating is alright. You listen to a song about heartbreak and learn that pain can be expressed through art. You hear of other boys stalking girls; you start doing the same. You want to know how sex works; you look for photos, books, videos.
Words are the tools through which we assimilate, and learn to negotiate society. This process never ends. Every year I change a little bit because of what I absorb, mostly through words. What I read, watch, experience, dream, overhear.
Society is a mish-mash of image, word and experience. This is what culture is. Artists are not loved for nothing. They grasp our shared truth. They help us derive meaning from the chaos of life.
But many male artists have confused ideas about sex, masculinity and femininity. Their lyrics and videos create fake meanings. For example, a man and woman are dancing. They are smiling. But the lyrics suggest violent sex, or hint at a disrespectful relationship. The viewer is left to connect the dots.
The women acting in most videos are not dressed in working clothes. But the men often are. Women are never shown doing any work, although most women put in twice the number of work hours.
Silence is Violence, We Take It No MoreNeha Kaul Mehra
This will go on, unless we examine our attitudes towards sex and femininity Karuna Ezara Parikh
I Rise, I Rise, I Rise, I look inside myself, I look with fresh eyesIsha Singh Sawhney
The Internet Acid Attack Kony Chatterjee
What do the songs say? They tell a lie, right? A dangerous untruth about what women are like and what they deserve. Lyrics in your newer songs – High Heels, for instance – are entirely focused on the outer shell of a woman. It makes me wonder if you can see us as anything other than female-shaped thingies. Video after video after video.
Perhaps you're feeling petulant. Perhaps you've moved on from that sort of video or lyrics, and you want everyone to forget your past.
Sadly, Yo Yo, it doesn't work that way. Fame comes slowly. It took 6 years for your infamous song to reach my ears. Art is not witnessed or dismissed overnight. Just like violent ideas are not assimilated and put into practice overnight.
About your Gurgaon show, there were two petitions going around. I did not sign one because it used words like 'pornographic' and 'offensive'. I know you have a right to give offense. Besides, I am not opposed to nudity or sexual imagery in any art form.
So, this is not about pornography. It is not about obscenity. It is definitely not about sex. I did sign the other petition because it objected to the violence embedded in your songs.
Lyrics in your newer songs – High Heels, for instance – are entirely focused on the outer shell of a woman. It makes me wonder if you can see us as anything other than female-shaped thingies. Video after video after video.