If you watched Kabir Singh and understood the reason for all the outrage and thought “am I actually watching this?” or had any other similar feeling along those lines, congratulations, you are part of an endangered minority.
If you felt that we are overreacting and all that misbehaviour is just a character flaw in an otherwise well-groomed, respectable man, then I won’t hold you responsible for it, but only ask you to read the rest of my article; a crash course to avoid being ‘bekhayal‘ (thoughtless). We will come to toxic masculinity and misogyny later. Let’s start with the basics.
All those girls and boys out there admiring Kabir because of his loyalty and devotion towards Preeti, I’d like to draw your attention to the thin line between chivalry and chauvinism.
Kabir did not know Preeti, it was supposedly ‘love at first sight’. Not for Preeti, her options were taken away from her (Kabir threatened anyone who would come near her), she was taken to undisclosed locations to be given private classes! She was basically ordered around, which she accepted. From where I stand, this seems completely like ‘Stockholm syndrome‘.
If you are still not getting it, let me be a little crude. What if Kabir Singh was not the good looking, delicious, Shahid Kapoor, but a broken-nosed (totally possible because of his violent streak) paunchy guy who single-handedly took away all your prospects and hung around you all the time uninvited. Creep-level comprehended?
Did you laugh when Kabir went running after his house help? Or when he unzipped his pants to scare off a nurse? OR WHEN HE ORDERED A GIRL TO UNDRESS AT KNIFEPOINT?
This is not funny. Imagine this in real life. And don’t tell me it is fiction because it happens and might happen more often because of this movie.
Oh and the chubby girl comment. “Chubby girls and pretty girls make excellent friends”. Are we supposed to laugh at this bigotry?
Another thin line exists between confidence and arrogance. And if the latter is seductive to you, then sister, you got issues. Arrogance breeds violence. Kabir Singh is vehemently violent. Yeah, in the film both parties were violent and everyone hits each other (all this is apparently ‘so Delhi’). And, of course, our hero is the strongest and it is a film and we live in a democracy, so glorify what you want! My lesson, however, is girls don’t fall for that shit. Trust me.
If you have understood what I was trying to say and have reconsidered Kabir Singh’s attitude as just a character flaw, congratulations, you have understood toxic masculinity. It seeps out from every pore of the movie. The controlling nature; lines like “Preeti chunni thik karo.” (adjust your scarf), ‘She is my girl’ – because she is an object that you have purchased? It is a classic example of ‘the lion fell in love with the lamb’ story which is misogynistic as hell because you are assigning gender roles, where one is inferior to the other and is expected to be thankful for it.
I hope I have highlighted the problems enough for anyone who didn’t see it before. If you still don’t see it then I definitely hold you responsible for your ignorance. There are a lot of Kabir Singh’s in our society getting away without a scratch. The least we can do is not glorify them and call them out on it.
DISCLAIMER: I voluntarily term myself a bad feminist. My views and my feminism is continuously changing with everything I see around me. If my critique does not match with your feminism please tell me, maybe I will learn something new. That is how I have reached this point in the first place. However, one thing that does not change is my right to choose what I think.