It seems impossible to send out strong messages on women empowerment in duration as short as ten seconds, isn’t it? But this is exactly what filmmaker Kiran Rao had done with her two short films. These ten-second films are earning accolades across social media for saying so much in such little time. In one clip a maid can be seen handing an injured woman she works for, her smartphone, with a call to be placed to the police. Her employer appears to be a victim of domestic violence. The film ends with the message, “It takes a few seconds to show courage.” In the second film, a brother is shown pouring some of the milk in his glass into that of his sister’s, who received a visibly smaller serving. “It takes a few seconds to show change,” says this one.
- Filmmaker Kiran Rao has directed two short films which are just ten seconds long.
- The films send across a message of woman empowerment.
- They also subvert many stereotypes associated with gender and class.
- The films also convey how change doesn’t always have to be big to be significant.
Small steps taken to empower women matter, because these little things can convert to stepping stones for these women to find liberation from patriarchal oppression and gendered violence
There is something special about these two short films, perhaps how they embody a message in their own length – all it takes is a few seconds. To bring change, to show courage, to break stereotypes and to smash patriarchy. Put these few seconds on top of each other, repetitively and what you have is a powerful movement which affects the lives of millions of women and girls irrespective of their socio-economic standing. Small steps taken to empower women matter, because these little things can convert to stepping stones for these women to find liberation from patriarchal oppression and gendered violence.
Often we expect giant waves like the #MeToo movement to bring change into the society. We think that one big monumental step is all it takes to break shackles of oppression. But patriarchy and misogyny are so deep rooted in our society; it isn’t possible to uproot it in one big stroke. What we end up doing is cutting off one head of the monster, and no sooner than we turn our eyes away from it, the head grows back. Just look at how #MeToo movement in India is struggling to bear consequences for accused sexual predators. Almost all celebrities accused of sexual misconduct are creeping back into public life, and we can’t help but think where we went wrong. In a society which idolises masculinity, one hack at the giant monster of patriarchal oppression isn’t enough. It needs persistent hacking day in day out, to start bearing positive results.
By showing a maid empowering her employee, this film asks us to inspect our own gaze and to look at our surroundings more closely.
Another thing that I liked about these short films is how it challenges stereotypical beliefs which many of us tend to carry. We often assume that domestic violence isn’t an issue that economically or socially well-off women have to deal with. By showing a maid empowering her employee, this film asks us to inspect our own gaze and to look at our surroundings more closely. Even in the second film, it is the young boy who is shown to herald change. He gives (possibly) his mother a cold stare for discriminating between him and his sister and goes on to happily pour some milk from his glass into that of his sister’s till they are ‘equally’ filled. This is a shout out to all the men out there who overcome the trappings of toxic conditioning and see women as their equals. They understand their part in empowerment of women and have no qualms in giving up their privileges.
Rao’s films don’t just hit us with the harsh realities of our society; they fill us with hope and positivity. They also tell us how the steps we take to liberate women can be small and yet effective.
Picture Credit: India.com
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.