Okay, so I have read almost all reviews and the various viewpoints on the film Kabir Singh. I am yet to decide whether I want to watch this movie or not, while I agree with most views that the movie is a celebration of toxic masculinity and an epitome of an abusive relationship, I can’t but wonder as to why women are attracted to such toxic men. Look around you, you will find many Preetis in a relationship with the Kabirs of the world, who are abused, and silenced even battered yet they keep mum and keep going back to the same man. What attracts a woman to such a man? Toxic love…anyone?

SOME TAKEAWAYS:

  • The movie Kabir Singh is a celebration of toxic masculinity and an epitome of an abusive relationship.
  • One cannot but wonder as to why women are attracted to such toxic men.
  • A study says that women are attracted to sexist men because they are perceived to be more protective, providing, and committed to them.
  • Acceptance of these consequences in this age and time when we are fighting for the opposite seems very regressive.

Look around you, you will find many Preetis in a relationship with the Kabirs of the world, who are abused, and silenced even battered yet they keep mum and keep going back to the same man.

Reading the many viewpoints on social media I came across Sreemoyee Piu Kundu’s post on Facebook, being an author and commentator on gender issues she might be right in her assessment when she says, “Even as knowledgeable movie critics ram the blatant misogyny the film endorses and the abusive relationship between the lead couple — what I cannot help but question is whether women actually fall for and secretly crush on eccentric, emotionally edgy, bad boys like the protagonist being essayed by Shahid Kapoor?”

Well, believe it or not many researches and surveys say women are attracted to men who view women as gentle and nurturing at the same time as weak who need extra care — an attitude that has been termed as ‘benevolent sexism’. Benevolent sexist men believe that women should be put on a pedestal and be protected by them, and they should be helped before men in emergency situations. They are the same men who hand over their coat to a woman in the cold and open doors for them.

Believe it or not many researches and surveys say women are attracted to men who view women as gentle and nurturing at the same time as weak who need extra care — an attitude that has been termed as ‘benevolent sexism’. Benevolent sexist men believe that women should be put on a pedestal and be protected by them, and they should be helped before men in emergency situations.

A study says that women are attracted to a male romantic partner who held benevolent sexist attitude because they are perceived to be more willing to be protective, providing, and committed to them, which are important traits which women look for in a prospective mate, and this in turn makes him more attractive. So, was this what makes Preeti cling-on to Kabir, even when he marks her as ‘his girl’, slaps her, openly swears and abuses and is angry all the time?

Now let’s look at the other side, what makes men adopt the bad boy attitude? Ask any man and he will let out a secret — that they get “friendzoned,” often, which basically means that men who are egalitarian, respectful and gentle toward their crushes get placed into the role of a friend, rather than a potential romantic partner. So, men have embraced this concept, and have learnt to be assertive, and display dominant traits that, allegedly, are more attractive to a woman.

Let’s admit there are women who like bad boys—meaning they are attracted to men who are dominant. So, what does that mean that these women have “internalized” misogynistic attitudes, or simply are naïve and foolish, failing to recognise or admit that sexism is damaging, I really wonder.

I fail to understand this obsession of women for sexist men, because it also means accepting many detrimental consequences of such a relationship like their competence being undermined every time, a restriction is placed on their freedom and even being confined to the kitchen. Acceptance of these consequences in this age and time when we are fighting for the opposite seems very regressive.

Kundu further says, “Are we guilty of being suckers for intense, uncertain, scary, tumultuous love rides with men who fly off the handle at the slightest provocation, have glaring temper issues, are crazy possessive and remain the errant manchild we swoon over because we think we have a moral right to reform him and in turn he will love us, obsessively, and, like no other.” I fail to understand this obsession of women for sexist men, because it also means accepting many detrimental consequences of such a relationship like their competence being undermined every time, it may result in a restriction being placed on their freedom or even be confined to the kitchen. Acceptance of these consequences in this age and time when we are fighting for the opposite seems very regressive.

Look at it this way, in the long run I don’t think benevolent sexism will work. Will the woman in such a relationship keep accepting bad boy behaviour for life? What happens when she reaches a threshold, and all romanticism flies out of the window? If this is so then, we women have to change our mindset, choose better partners who consider us as equals rather being our saviour, an abusive one at that.

As far as the movie is considered I believe that films do mirror our society at some point, both the glossy and the dark underbelly. And no, the film is not about true love, it’s about an entitled bully with anger issues, of which I do not approve. I would end by quoting Kundu again, she says, “What is scary is that now they (such characters) are mainstream. Are we identifying ourselves in all this?” These are disturbing but relevant questions that we need to ask ourselves.

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Smita Singh is an editor with SheThePeople.TV team. The views expressed are her own.

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