Movies That Disappointed The Young Feminist In Me
Being young and in love with cinema landed me in a lot of trouble. After a certain age, I started realizing that the underlined feeling of discomfort I felt while consuming cinema occurred because it was intertwined with misogyny. Hence, to date, I have been caught in a cycle of learning and unlearning the patriarchal values that are so freely propagated by cinema.
Here are some movies that disappointed the young feminist in me:
Little Mermaid: A tale of a woman’s sacrifice and dependency on a man for freedom.
The movie loudly screams about defined gender roles and brings them to the most susceptible audience, children. Ariel’s father asks her to follow his rules as long as she is underwater. She explores her desires and fantasies about life on land and sings about freedom. Ironically, when her voice represents a certain resistance against the patriarchal norms of her father’s kingdom, she chooses to give it up for a man. The story could be perceived in the following ways. “Ariel got freedom and access to a human world as she fell in love with a man” or “Ariel had to sacrifice her voice for a man”. Such a narrative might sow seeds of patriarchy in young minds.
Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs: A princess serves dwarfs and is finally saved by a man who kisses her while she is asleep.
A helpless princess gets kicked out of her own house by an evil step-mother. Snow White finds refuge in a tiny house of dwarfs. Here, she cooks and cleans for them while they are away at work. Also, of course later she gets into trouble and is saved by a man. Women are deemed to be delicate creatures who can only be saved by glorious rich men in fairy tales. They are restricted to certain “roles” here too. Further, a prince kisses snow white in her sleep, for me, the tale dangerously dilutes the concept of consent.
Twilight: The story of Bella and Edward and their abusive relationship.
A young girl falls in love with a mythical creature who obsessively stalks her. Also, he has cravings to devour her as he watches the woman sleep. To some, the movie was a sensational love story. However, the 13-year-old me was deeply disturbed to see that Bella might actually be in an abusive relationship wherein Edward radiates energies of a control freak. The narration is mind-boggling and replaces all the wrong things with fantasies of love.
Phata Poster Nikla Hero: Full of songs that glorify stalking and objectification of women.
Eve teasing, stalking and launching slurs at women are elements that have been upsettingly glorified in this film. It is impossible to accept the songs of a movie when their words pierce my skin and tell me that it’s okay for men to treat women as objects they own. A lyric from one song literally says- “Do not stop me from stalking you”. When people allow these narratives to be suspended into the public so freely, it raises questions of safety of women in the society.
Raanjhanaa: When a woman doesn’t respond to your declarations, she is an evil manipulator.
Another tale of a man stalking a woman to “win” her. But as soon as you get a breather when the woman responds to this behaviour as opposed to the usual affirmation, she is branded as a manipulator. Technically, if women are not timid or submissive they automatically turn vicious in these narratives.
Vipashyana Dubey is an intern with SheThePeople