Online Media and Its Unpleasant ‘Airport Looks’ Coverage

With the advent of the internet, everyone has acquired the power to be anything and everything they want to be. They can be a photographer, a film critic, a fashion guru, policy makers, journalists, lawyers, so on and so forth. Even before news agencies could report an issue, my friends on social media were able to do it all the more efficiently.

The target audience online is different from the audiences of the traditional media. The age group of 15-35 is the primary target audience online. To cater to the needs of this audience, news organizations are resorting to practices and coverage of news that are unethical and not newsworthy.

A case in point here can be that of the ‘airport looks.’ Every week, there is a comparison of the looks of all the leading the celebrities by almost all the leading news organization. It’s absolutely ridiculous to even have a story like that and  for the same to be covered by all the leading organizations.

Indian Express covered a story on 18th September 2018 which was titled “While Anushka Sharma and Esha Gupta nailed airport fashion, Sonam Kapoor failed to hit the mark.” This article is not from an actual person in the fashion industry but from the team of Indian Express. This article blatantly wrote that Sonam’s look was weird. While these articles, in fact, garner much of the attention and also increase the organization’s viewership, such click-bait journalism needs to halt. There are bigger implications of such stories which not only affect the psyche of the audience but also abet in creating pseudo expectations.

The Times of India covered a similar story on 12th September 2018 which was titled “Airport style: Get inspired by Bollywood Celebs.” This story displays pictures and looks of celebrities that are ‘cool’. While this article definitely talks about which looks hit the mark, it also encourages the audience to try it out. It pushes its readers to try “this accessory with that dress”, wearing loose and over-sized clothes and what not. A simple question here is: why should young girls aspire to wear clothes like film stars? Being an actor is a profession like any other. While their popularity is unmatched, the undue attention that’s stressed upon everything that they do is unrealistic.

There are no weekly stories of ‘How to keep yourself up to date’ or ‘How to recharge oneself with knowledge’ or even stories of people who’ve dedicated their lives to bring about a change in the world. Such coverage reinforces and creates an ‘elitist’ attitude among people. We are all aware of the whole idea of not wanting to repeat clothes inspired by such photographs and coverage.In one of the latest interviews, Jahnvi Kapoor was asked as to why she repeated clothes and she said she does so because it’s unrealistic to buy new ones every day. Such constant reportage not only affects the audience but in fact the stars as well. Due to the expectations and media frenzy, the celebrities are also sometimes forced to look perfect all the way and wear new clothes.

With regard to the piece in the Indian Express, such comments are actual crude and hurtful. In real life, such comments are known as ‘bullying’. To call someone or what they are wearing as weird is unwanted and unpleasant. We see around us cases of depression, mental distress or even suicides due to such an unpleasant comments. In the 21st century, being cool has become a necessary trait to mingle with the society. The depiction of the same is seen in advertisements, movies, and web-series online. This strips the individuality of people and forces them to be something that they are not.

Not only does such coverage strip people off themselves but also creates an environment full of competition. What’s essentially needed is an environment that promotes collaboration and not competition. Ranking people on their looks is the most demeaning act anyone could possibly do. Such comparison puts undue stress even on the celebrities. It’s time we act more sensitively and responsibly.Media organizations also need to brush up on their ethical lessons and be sensitive before publishing stories. Usage of the right words is primary otherwise it can cause harm to the people.

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