So, recently, I wrote this article here on YKA titled – ‘Veere Di Wedding’ Is Neither Women-Centric Nor Powerful’. While I am overwhelmed by the majority response regarding my very brief point, I also received some flak for the same. I understand the contentions of the readers, and I also know that the authors needn’t necessarily respond, but I’m going to do it anyway because I would like to clear any misunderstanding that my writing posed. So, let’s start.
Firstly, a lot of you have claimed that I have completely ignored movies with male leads, and with obvious misogynistic events being portrayed. Well, I haven’t ignored them as evident from this portion of the article –
“Now, before you start calling me by colourful names such as ‘anti-feminist’ or ‘meninist’, here’s the thing –
We are raising voices against the objectification of women (in the name of ‘fun’) in Bollywood movies (and worldwide), but it’s okay to objectify men (in the name of ‘fun’)? How? Why? I’m failing to comprehend.”
If, however, despite this it still came across as me ignoring the majority of movies, well, it’s because I wanted to keep the article short. I understand that readers often have no interest in long articles. And of course, the obvious misogyny in movies with male leads goes without saying. I am sure that a lot of authors and activists have pointed that out in scores of articles and blogs.
Secondly, the next contention comes with the argument that “Veere Di Wedding” is not about feminism or women-empowerment since the actors have noted in press conferences that it’s about female friendship. Someone even wrote a blog that slammed my article on this point! Well, “DDLJ” or “Raanjhanaa” are not about misogyny, are they? They are about ‘love’. In fact, if you ask the actors, that is what they will say. But, certain portrayals in the movies where the male lead shows an absolute disregard for the consent of the female lead are cringe-worthy and definitely spike up the misogyny debate. Why? Because the scenes induce toxic behaviours amongst its viewers. And this is exactly where my concern lies.
You see, toxic behaviour is not limited to men, it works both ways. Once again, I invite you to refer to the quote above. In this era of rising concern about women’s rights and men’s rights, it is essential to speak up on such depictions in movies. The movie needn’t be about feminism. It needn’t be about women empowerment. It spikes the debate nonetheless because and only because of certain scenes.
Also, while I’m at it, feminism doesn’t, in my book, refer to just ‘women’s rights’. No, feminism is all about the equality, equal opportunities, equal treatment, and so on and so forth. Therefore, it is pertinent that objectification of women, as well as men, be deemed toxic and utterly unnecessary unless the story demands it, for instance, “The Dirty Picture”.
Thirdly, someone mentioned that this movie is exactly how one would portray feminism where female leads play dominant parts. Well, I have “Mary Kom”, “Mom”, “Queen”, “English Vinglish”,”Swades”, “Arth”, “Kahaani”, “Nil Battey Sannata”, “Highway”, “Fiza”, and so many more across decades! A dominant part is not doing exactly what men do when it comes to toxic behaviour. In the ‘Tareefan’ music video, there is just objectification of men. Just as the objectification of women is not a ‘dominant role’ of men, similarly, objectification of men doesn’t qualify as ‘dominant role’ for women.
I believe these were the only relevant contentions in the Facebook post comment thread where the article was posted by YKA. I am ignoring the colourful comments! I hope my opinion is clear now.
And let me clarify something, I have absolutely no problem with women having fun. Seriously, we should have all the fun we want to. It’s our right. But objectifying men just like they objectify us, in a movie in the name of fun is a big no-no. How a millennial can be okay with the glorification of sexual harassment and objectification is beyond my understanding. This ludicrous role reversal of toxicity (and what comes off as sexual harassment, where a female lead grabs a guy’s butt in a men’s washroom), just breathe more oxygen into the numerous misogynistic scenes in movies with male leads. I don’t think we need that.