Let’s play a game. What word comes to your mind when you hear these words-
Interestingly, these are most commonly used to describe women. The only thing ‘flawless’ we can see in a woman is her beauty and anyone who doesn’t conform to the society is ‘flawed’.
Totally unrelated but today I want to talk about these glamorous, full of extravaganza and pomp, so-called Feminist series/movies like Veere Di Wedding and Four More Shots Please.
No, I m not going to review any of these. I am no expert in film-making. In fact, my bar is so low that I watched something as horrendous as Race 3 solely on my free will. (In my defense, I watched it while arranging my wardrobe and I can’t decide what was more difficult.)
But honestly guys, people have rated Race 3 a 2.1 on IMDB and a 3.1 to Veere Di Wedding? Race 3 totally deserved it. And I understand Veere Di Wedding was bad, lacked substance, actors gave poor performance and all of that…. but so, did Chennai Express, Happy New Year etc. etc. but they still managed to get some decent ratings.
And then I read the user reviews… something like this….
For a society that cries out “Not All Men”, this movie was taken much more seriously than it deserved.
Of course, there are grave issues like female infanticide, female illiteracy, rape and sexual abuse, trafficking, domestic violence that exist in the society, but does that mean film-makers are not allowed to make shows like these? Yes, issues like fat shaming, successful women not getting suitors, lesbians struggling to find true love, working wives finding it difficult to manage the household on their own, look trivial and all these women are called privileged. But, don’t they deserve to tell their story?
If this is true then the same must be true for movies like Pyaar Ka Punchnama and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety because there is so much unemployment in the country, engineering students are committing suicide coz of the pressure. It’s so wrong to portray that people have this much time and money to take their girlfriends to lavish vacations and prepare such a long speech after a breakup. And I am honestly not getting into the fact that these movies appear to be misogynist because hey, not everything is educational or inspirational, some stuff is solely for fun and entertainment.
So, the bottom line is that not all men are rapists, misogynist movies are just for fun and cannot be generalized, people like Hardik Pandya were just exercising freedom of speech on Koffee with Karan.
But 1-2 movies/shows like VDW and FMSP teach girls the wrong lessons about feminism.
A small example to explain my stand- It’s ok to advice a girl to refrain from drinking because you don’t drink, and you believe it’s bad for health. But it’s not acceptable to call a girl slut because she agreed to have casual sex with you.
Call them privileged, unrealistic or bold, the fact is that feminism is not in their actions that they drink, lust or cuss like men, feminism is in their courage that they are able to do what they want to do. What about the consequences? Very aptly portrayed in the season finale of Four More Shots Please. If the series would have ended in any other way, I would have screamed, “What world do they live in?”
I really don’t mean to say that men are against feminism or they don’t like movies with strong female protagonists. Movies like Parched, Secret Superstar, Hitchki etc. are highly acclaimed. What I simply mean is men don’t relate to women and their issues and their desires and they feel it’s ok. The same is not true for women. I remember a seminar where a man accusingly asked writer Anuja Chauhan, “Why don’t you write for men?” Her reply to this question was, “I never said I write for women only”. And I was wondering, I never asked this question to Mr. Chetan Bhagat whose novels, written from the perspective of a male are enjoyed by both sexes.
And then I remembered reading “Dear Ijeawale” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie where she said men cannot relate to women’s issues unless they are related to them. And I think that’s the main reason why women should be encouraged to tell their story, no matter who they are, what they think, how they live. Because there are not enough Chimamandas in our country. Men cannot relate to women because they haven’t heard their stories. Growing up, I remember listening to my father’s stories of his childhood, his college life, his struggles. But I never heard my mother telling about her hostel life, her struggles as a housewife. Why do women have to wait till they become a grandparent to tell sugar coated stories of princes and magical creatures to 4-5 years old children? Is it because of lack of time, lack of voice or lack of platform? Or is it because of over judgment? Why can’t stories around women just be? Why do they have to convey a social message or be judged as bold or rebellious?
And yes, after wasting 800 words of ranting, I almost forgot to mention something that triggered me to write this post. This screenshot:
Seriously Amazon Prime? By calling your own protagonists “unapologetically flawed”, what point do you want to prove? That you accept these women are an aberration to the norm of what women should be? That you made this series but at the same time, you detach yourself from all the moral responsibility by passing judgment like this? Honestly, this is the fake feminism that people should be calling out.
Because of this ambiguity around feminism, people don’t accept it. Even Kareena Kapoor says she’s not a feminist. My family feels happy that I am not a feminist. Calling oneself a feminist seems as difficult as coming out of the closet. I have seen feminists feeling sad that they don’t go to the office and hence, they don’t look like feminists. I have seen feminists feeling angry that women in India are not rebellious enough to be feminists. So, who is the real feminist? Can you please stand up?