Gloria Marie Steinem, an American feminist, journalist and socio-political activist, shared her meaning of Feminism, “A Feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.” These words straightforwardly mean the absence of any gender role. I want to begin my article by explaining the primary difference between Sex and Gender for you to differentiate between both when you read further.
In general terms “sex” refers to the difference in genitalia. The word “gender” is more difficult to define, as sex turns to gender when some social meaning, norms, values and roles attached to it. This might not explain the term in the best manner, but by this I want to make clear that the word gender has nothing to do with anything “natural” or “by-birth”, it is about human-made cultural expected roles.
Coming to the main idea of my article, that is anti-feminist Bollywood, I would like to ask you to pause and think about your favourite movies and songs. And there you go. I bet 90% of you have thought about a movie that has promoted gender roles.
Most of the times, it is about a girl with lots of material demands that she asks from her father or husband, a woman who is a homemaker and is waiting for her husband with delicious food that she cooked for him, a girl imagining a dream wedding or expecting some huge surprises, etc. On the contrary, a guy with an ambitious life, high earning, owns a luxurious car or a big house, rigid about his views, a decision-maker of the family etc.
I am sorry, but this is what “patriarchy existing in our roots” means, this is what “gender roles” mean. Bollywood has never failed to give us the wrong messages and goals. For instance, a latest Bollywood song that plays “Mujhe lehanga laa de mehanga” — a girl who cannot afford her demands is asking a guy to bring her expensive clothes. It clearly shows the image of a dependent girl and a rich guy.
Most rappers in Bollywood (would not like to defame names) are sexist and are known for their misogynist masterpieces. One of the latest songs, Makhna, plays, “Tujhe diamond jaise smbhaal ke rakhna” — clearly treating a woman as an object and an inferior human being. In this song, the rapper calls himself a womanizer and regards himself a threat to any woman who comes closest to him. The problem is, why to suggest women be alert and not change your character.
Songs like Gori Gori, Kajra Re, Yeh chand sa roshan chehra have awesome tracks but lyrics that judge girls on their looks. They give the message that a girl should be fair, with beautiful eyes, hair to impress a guy who is going to judge her on her beauty and has nothing to do with her career, strength and life struggles.
Why are words like career, ambition, decision-maker, strong, struggler and other such adjectives never associated with girls in Bollywood songs and movies? And I feel pathetic when I see girls dancing to such songs.
I do not neglect the fact that Bollywood has gifted us with feminist movies in the past few years like Neerja, Dangal, Pink, etc. that gained popularity among masses but they are still less in number. We are today’s generation and this Women’s Day I request each one of you reading this to take this forward spread awareness and realization about such an important issue. Firstly, stop promoting such songs and movies. And please buy the tickets for the movies that promote gender equality and try to bring various social evils into the light to encourage them.