~ CHAHAT KANCHAN
Cinema is something that has been loved by all since the time it began.It is an escape from reality. Movies take us to another world where instead of focussing on our problems, we focus on the lives of the actors. But somewhere, these movies and the portrayal of their characters is a source of our problems in real life.
Movies types and stereotypes
There are various genres of movies, such as:
Comedy- Comedy is a genre of movies that shows a plot in such a way that induces laughter when the audience watches it.
Horror- Horror is a genre made to let the viewers embrace their fear and love for the paranormal.
Fantasy- Fantasy is a genre that appeals to that part of the viewers who believe in fairy tales and the stories of princes and princesses and knights and all the other creatures that they create in their minds.
Crime- This is that genre that usually shows how a mystery is solved, from the perspective of the detective or the officer.
Action- This is the genre that has a huge number of fight scenes where the hero lands one punch and the villains end up unconscious.
Drama- These movies usually focus on the dilemmas the characters face, the difficult choices they have to make, and the consequences they have to face for the choices.
And the list goes on since there are various other genres. They differ from each other, but they all have one thing in common- stereotyping of women. For those who don’t understand, it is the practice of ascribing some specific characteristics to women, holding some of them on a pedestal just because they act according to the “standards” set by society. Since the start of the era of movies, women have been stereotyped. The way the heroines are portrayed in them, it’s as if these are standards according to which women should be.
EXAMPLES FROM INDIAN MOVIES
Some Indian movies showing instances of stereotyping women are as follows:
Men, the ultimate protector – Almost every Indian movie has portrayed this at least once that men are the ones who are supposed to protect women. It is surprisingly possible for a hero of the movie to beat 10 hooligans alone, that too with amazing ease while the woman stands there watching the hero (instead of helping him). This has put some weird concept in the minds of the people that men are somehow superior to women. And this fact is evident from famous movies, including Khandan. One of the dialogues in the movie was-
“Tumhi mere mandir, tumhi meri puja, tumhi devta ho.”
This signifies the mentality that the movie promotes.
Stalk a girl and eventually, you’ll get her- For a very long time, movies have promoted the idea that when the hero stalks the heroine, stands beneath her house, follow her to her college, and boom, she falls for him. Something that happens in the real-life, what people don’t realize is the impact this has on the girl. For instance, in the movie Ranjhanaa, Kundan stalked Zoya.
Gender-based violence- When Kabir Singh came to the theatres, it faced a lot of backlashes from the people, but what they didn’t realize is that the movie portrayed nothing but reality. For as long as history has been written in pages, women are on the receiving end of abuse. And the movie showed nothing else. It portrayed that slapping your girlfriend is normal. The hospital nurses ran away from him, without filing any complaints. This kind of portrayal does nothing but indirectly emboldens the dominating status of men.
DISNEY MOVIES AND STEREOTYPES
People love Disney, especially little children. They’re full of music and flowers and singing creatures and magic and the most important of all, a happy ending. But beneath all those things, a list of stereotypes lies. The musicals we see, with everyone dancing around and singing, entertain us but they are riddled with stereotypes. Some of the most famous of the stories have normalized things that shouldn’t have been.
Image Source: https://www.courant.com/hc-xpm-2012-08-27-hc-mommy-minute-20120827-story.html
Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs- In Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, the heroine is very naive, which is evident when she is tricked by her stepmother twice. As the movie continues, she saves the seven dwarf adults, from their miserable lives by helping them out in cleaning and tidying up their mess. Because the dwarfs did not know how to do the household chores, the men were never taught how to do household chores.
Cinderella- The movie revolves around the idea that outward beauty is what makes you special. Although this idea is highlighted in almost all of the Disney movies, it is exemplified explicitly in this movie. Another movie that promotes this idea is The Sleeping Beauty. Aurora and Philip meet each other, fall in love, and then apparently live happily ever after even with each other. So apparently according to these movies, if you’re beautiful enough (according to the standards set by society), a prince will come and save you.
Thus, when movies are made by people, without even realizing the enormity of what they have portrayed in them, they suffer backlashes, as they should. Our new generation must be taught that no matter what gender they belong to, they are capable enough to dream of anything. Societal norms and gender stereotypes about beauty, division of household chores and job profiles are not meant to be followed, rather be broken. Let’s move beyond our stereotypes and embrace a world that accepts both the sexes, equally!