Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Times of India removes article on women written in bad taste

The Times of India removed a story from its website in the wake of bitter criticism in the cyber world. The (ToI), the newspaper with the largest English-language circulation in the world, published the article criticised as one of the worst articles about women ever.
The Huffingtonpost.ca said ToI, with a reported circulation of more than three million, posted "Weird, funny facts about women" to its website, quickly prompting shock and outrage on Facebook and Twitter
The Huffingtonpost.ca said

The newspaper with the largest English-language circulation in the world has published one of the worst articles about women ever.

The Times Of India, with a reported circulation of more than three million, posted "Weird, funny facts about women"to its website Monday, quickly prompting shock and outrage on Facebook andTwitter.
It's not hard to see why.
The story (which stretches the definition of the term) presents some of the most tired and sexist cliches about women as unassailable facts.
Some lowlights.
"Women don't bathe everyday [sic]: Not all women bathe everyday [sic], no matter how much they profess cleanliness and hygiene. They rely on deodorants and perfumes to smell good."
"After sex women still love to be kissed: Men always feel tired and prefer to sleep after sex, but women don't. They like to talk, fool around, and kiss each other. For a great relationship, men should take note of this."
"Women don't like another woman to wear the same dress."
"Women can spend a whole day before the mirror."
"Women don't need sex as often as men do. Sex is more about emotions for women."
Reactions on Twitter have ranged from rage to bemusement.
"This is actually the stupidest thing I have ever read. I knew I could count on you, @timesofindia," wrote the Wall Street Journal's Margherita Stancati.
"The Times of India apparently learned everything they know about women from hacky 1970s stand-up routines," wrote @JeremysIron.
Others said the author is likely to claim the post was meant as a joke.
"That @timesofindia item is so outrageous that I suspect the author later will claim at it was supposed to be satire," wrote Reuters editor Robert MacMillan.
A quick look at "reporter" Biben Laikhuram's other posts suggests the piece was not written in jest. Other recent stories include "5 Sex positions women die to have," "5 Things that scare women about sex," and "6 Ways to get a stronger erection"(complete with an accompanying photo of a woman screaming in pain).
The story isn't doing much to improve India's reputation on women's rights. On the same day the women facts story appeared, the Times also published a story with the headline "Increasing crime against women sparks fear of chaos in volatile Hyderabad."
Recent stories about violent rapes in the country have led to new laws, but underlying cultural obstacles to equality remain.
Dear Biben Laikhuram,
You're not helping.
UPDATE: The Times Of India removed the story from its website after this article was published. The links in this story have been updated to a cached version.
KT's note:
Read also
"The Times of India sometimes manages to surprise even hardened cynics. Because of a little storm on Twitter, India’s largest read English newspaper has been exposed for carrying the most unprintable bilge on its website. Under its lifestyle section, masquerading as gender relations, the website has been carrying a series of articles about how to have sex, positions women like and so on.

They appeared to have been written by the same person and are not only badly written and in bad taste but also have little journalistic reason for being there. It is like a monkey trying to imitate the Cosmopolitan style of 57 ways to suck your man’s toes and so on. If you found the Cosmo articles silly, you cannot imagine how the TOI website versions would upset you. I have to use the past tense because the articles have been removed from the website after the criticism. It makes you wonder if there had been no editorial control so far on what this young person had been writing. I am loath to name him or her but the name is doing the rounds on the social media. It is also evident that whoever wrote these appeared not just to be misogynistic (women do not bathe often and are smelly are two popular themes) but also not very experienced in sexual matters.

This comment on the TOI website by Huffington Post encapsulates the disgust and scorn that has been apparent on social media for the last couple of days: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/07/30/times-of-india-women-facts_n_3677378.html? utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false&utm_content=buffer266a7&utm_source= buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer

Without being moralistic about it, why should a reputed newspaper’s website have to resort this kind of bordering-on-bad-porn writing? The articles had no corroborations or quotes or access to surveys. They were not funny or even sexy. The writer appeared to have no qualifications to hold forth on the ‘5 sex positions that women die for’. It was like someone senior said, “Let’s have some writing on sex” and someone junior was put on the job.

I have been told that most newspapers have similar kinds of “stories” on their websites. True?"

Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist and commentator based in Mumbai. She is also Contributing Editor, MxMIndia

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