It's in common knowledge that internet thrives on objectification of women. From endless lists on 'wardrobe malfunctions' to obsession over female stars gaining or losing weight, objectifying women is a sure-fire traffic spinner for many sites. Magazines also routinely come out with annual lists of 'hottest', 'most beautiful' stars. While most women -- especially ones in showbiz -- have not been heard complaining against being featured in such lists, IPS officer Merin Joseph is not one of them.
So when, a vernacular daily compiled a list of India's 'most beautiful' IPS and IFS officers, Joseph promptly decided to put them in their place.
She pointed out that how, by handpicking a few officers as the 'most beautiful', the publication has trivialised the work they are doing. She also made it clear that they would rather be appreciated for their work, not their physical appearance.
Referring to the article, she wrote in a Facebook post: "This perfectly sums up what is wrong with the press in India, especially the vernacular press. Shameless objectification of women and propagation of patriarchal structures, reducing a lady's worth to her face value. These are bold and brave officers working in the complex bureaucratic system in India, negotiating their way through the good , bad and ugly of our body politic- and here we have a list of officers whom people can ogle at. It's seriously disgusting, constricting and very very demeaning to our identities as smart, intelligent self made women. Have you ever wondered why we never see a list of the most handsome males in the IAS and IPS ??"
Her post got over 2000 likes and more than 200 shares in a couple of days. It was heartening to see pretty much all the commenters agreeing with the objectification of women in the media.
Following the criticism, the publication - Dainik Bhaskar - pulled the link down.