Bollywood Thinks Stalking Is Romance, And AIB Is Calling Out The Bullshit

Posted by Saswati Chatterjee in Sexism And Patriarchy, Video
December 12, 2016

AIB is certainly on a roll, delivering hard-hitting video after hard-hitting video. After last week’s video on demonetisation, they’re back – this time with some cutting observations on the blatant levels of harassment in Bollywood – all of which has been passed off under the umbrella of ‘romance’. And they’re here to call out that bullshit.

The fact that Bollywood glorifies stalking as romantic behaviour is not news. Even in movies we refer to as classics, the idea of the man pursuing the woman until she “relents” is deeply ingrained. Our movies have consistently shown that if a woman rejects a man then she is ‘arrogant’, because how dare any woman reject a man? In which case, she needs to be ‘taught a lesson’. As the note before the video points out, much of this translates into very real life consequences – with men being taught to think that a woman wants to be pursued, that when she’s saying “No” what she actually means is “Yes”. Does that sound terrifying? It should.

The video also points out how Bollywood uses cheerful music to cover what are definitely super problematic things on screen. A gang of boys chasing a girl? Inappropriately touching a woman without her consent, in the name of wooing her? Making sexually explicit gestures at her? None of that matters when you can groove to some great beats along with it!

The bottom line is that none of this is happening in a vacuum. For people who say it’s “just a movie” and doesn’t affect real life, newsflash, it does. The video talks about a case of an Indian man who escaped a conviction for stalking because he was apparently influenced by Bollywood.

Yes, this actually happened. And it’s proof that our movies send a distinct message that tells the young men out there that it’s okay if you keep following a girl around, she wants it, that’s how romance works.

Nope, that’s not how romance works. That’s rape culture.