Title

Sexuality and substance abuse portrayals in item songs in Bollywood movies

Publication Date

3-21-2019

Document Type

Article

Department

Journalism and Mass Communications

Disciplines

Film and Media Studies | Women's Studies

Publication Title

South Asian Popular Culture

Abstract

The current research examined a specific genre of songs in Bollywood films called ‘item songs’ which are known for showing prominent Bollywood actresses surrounded by groups of men performing provocative and sexual dances. Specifically, 125 items songs released between 1991–2014 were examined using quantitative content analysis for the portrayals of sexuality, and substance. The findings indicate that most such portrayals depict thin, young, scantily clad women, performing sexualized dances for male spectators. Furthermore, most portrayals featured illicit substances such as alcohol and tobacco. Given the rising number of cases of violence against women in the Indian society and an uptake in substance abuse and related health conditions, it is pertinent to examine the role media portrayals may be playing in influencing the related attitudes and behaviours. The implications of the study are discussed.

Keywords

Bollywood, Hindi movies, substance abuse, gender, sexuality, India, item songs, stereotypes

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