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5 Glaring Examples Of How Bollywood Movies Take Gender Equality A Step Back​

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By Kanika Katyal

In the society as we know it, women are reduced to nothing less than objects of transaction between the father and the husband.

As Luce Irigaray states, women are exchanged as “goods” between men. All of this only because a woman is seen as an economic liability. Being considered a ‘burden’ is one of the reasons for the aversion towards the birth of daughters.

Matters become worse when you consider the harsh reality of lack of property rights for women in India, and how time and again the popular media – cinema has perpetuated the idea of a woman being a liability.

Bollywood not only crystallizes new beliefs but also reaffirms old truths. We have often come across popular projection in films where women are displaced and outcast when they are believed to have transgressed the rules of their father’s or husband’s house. What’s more astounding is the fact that we have naturalised those responses, because the law has been unfair to women too.

Here’s a list of five scenes from popular Bollywood movies where women are banished from their household and rendered homeless – proving that more often than not, popular media has perpetuated the idea that equal rights are nothing but a sham.

1. Here’s a song from ‘Mother India’ which annunciates that a woman’s fate is to leave her childhood home to dwell in the husband’s abode. Her father’s house is not hers, and her husband’s house is not of her own, then what can she call her own?

2.In the movie ‘Anpadh’, Lajwanti is held responsible for her husband’s death, is abused and hurled out of the house. The belief is that the woman, who brings to an end the family line, deserves no place in the ‘family house’. The scene is a stark comment upon the alienation of widows.

3. The inter-relationship between ‘the home’ as a sacred territory and the social importance imputed to chastity is reflected here. The father dreads his haven to be polluted by the presence of a deflowered woman. In ‘Kya Kehna’, Priya is asked to leave the house by her father because she exercises her right to keep her baby, borne out of wedlock. There is no place for her in ‘his house’.

4. The father fears that Preeti’s rape would bring disrepute to the family, and would interfere in getting suitors for her three unmarried sisters. Here too, the notion of ‘ghar ki izzat‘ and the nest hold a close relationship. She could be anywhere, for all they care, but ‘this house’. She is forced to leave the house, with nowhere to go.

5. In ‘Lajja’, when Vaidehi takes a stand against her abusive husband, she is banished from her household. When she seeks shelter in her parents’ house in India, she’s rejected there too.

The question is, why is a woman asked to leave? And where is she supposed to go?
Sons are naturally assumed to inherit all property but what about the daughters?
Do you think such a representation would hold credence if women were guaranteed property rights by the constitution?

It’s time to act and challenge the status quo! Granting of legal rights is a huge step in women empowerment. It is a way of granting them complete agency, so they can follow up their choice with a course of action fearlessly. As Calvin Coolidge states, “ultimately property rights and personal rights are the same thing.

You must be to comment.
  1. B

    Bollywood certainly does not talk about this

    Rape cases: Scripted FIRs fail court test

  2. ItsJustMe

    The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 was amended in 2005 to give equal inheritance right to women. At least get your facts right before you banter on articles like these. It belongs in a dust bin if there is a digital one. I guess YKA is slowly turning into a dumpster for feminists to write shitty and glow in self appreciation

  3. nagraj

    what a bakwaas article from another feminist wome from India. On the contrary one out of two films now-a-days in bollywood r female centric
    and full of ridiculous feminism. They have also started criticism men unnecessarily in the movies. still feminists like u can’t stop crying.
    these Indian women always r thinking about so called rights in spite of getting so many freebies and all sorts of reservations in India. when
    will these Indian women talk about duties. I have never seen any Indian women talk about duties. Feminist women r trying to destroy
    Indian society and unfortunately they r getting success in that.
    and lastly who said that girls do not have right in the property of there fathers? 2005 onwards they also have got right in their father’s
    property along with men but the responsibility of the parents still lie with the sons. Women only get rights in India while men get
    all the duties and responsibilites. Hopefully u would publish my comment. But i would not be surprised at all if u do not publish it
    as i very well know the mentality of the feminazis.

    1. SupernaK

      Never go full retard

    2. nagraj

      No one could be as retard as feminist women.
      truth hurts . Learn to accept it.

    3. nagraj

      No I’m not a retard like feminazis.
      I Just tell the truth and truth hurts for many people like u.

  4. Anonymous

    Don’t you think these movies weren’t actually taking gender equality a step back but showed the problems related to gender equality in the society and the plights the female leads suffered due to sexism?

  5. Ryuzaki

    “The question is, why is a woman asked to leave? And where is she supposed to go?
    Do you think such a representation would hold credence if women were guaranteed property rights by the constitution?”
    How can someone write such a stupid article? You say where is she supposed to go as she would be helpless and all, and then you want equality.
    And what do you mean by right by the constitution? Where is it written that a man can do certain thing and a woman can’t?
    This website is seriously turning into a shitty group of stupid pseudo feminists and idiotic liberals when they don’t even know the true meaning of that.
    What have you personally done to improve the situation of women other than complaining and whining about stupid excuses to abuse men.
    There used to be a good informative website raising right questions and also sometimes providing solutions. Now, its just a bunch of obnoxious extremists who whine about every thing around them.
    This certainly isn’t the “YOUTH” ki awaaz. Have a bigger spectrum my friend. Not everything happens for degradation of women and for benefits of men.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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