It's 2017. But it sure doesn’t feel that way. Not with the way women are being dragged back to prisons sculpted by misogyny and self-proclaimed Champions of ‘culture’. Not a day goes by when people in power do their bit to trample the hard-won rights of women and their freedom of expression.
In the past month we’ve had a Kargil martyr’s daughter receive rape threats for stating her view. Riots erupted in Nagaland over attempts to establish 33% reservation for women in local body polls. The film Lipstick Under My Burkha has been denied certification because the CBFC found the story ‘lady oriented, their fantasy above life.‘ (The full statement boggles the mind!) A Nursing college in Kerala has asked its female students to not shut their doors while changing clothes, which according to the Principal will deter them from homosexual acts. Yes, it’s a wonder we haven’t pulled all our hair out by now. But, wait! It’s not over. There’s more.
A Mumbai college Principal believes that wearing pants causes PCOS (Polycistic Ovary Syndrome). Twitter put her notions to rest with #DressLikeAnIndianWoman. And this is just in India, mind you. The rest of the world also seems to be on the same page. An EU Parliament Member said women should earn less because they are weaker, smaller, and less intelligent. If that leaves you spluttering in anger, there’s Trump whose whole administration seems to have a vendetta against vaginas and wombs.
Back in our land, we have Maneka Gandhi, the Union Minister for Women & Child Development, say this about the need for curfew in colleges: “When you are 16 or 17 you are also hormonally very challenged. So to protect you from your own hormonal outbursts, perhaps a lakshman rekha is drawn. It really is for your own safety." What’s more, she shared these concerns on the eve of Women’s Day.
While we’re tempted to face palm and leave it at that, we feel this day deserves a little more help from us. So here’s some Cinema therapy that we hope will enlighten Maneka Gandhi and the like, or shush them up at the very least.
2016’s biggest movie based on the Phogat sisters and their father, should eviscerate any belief that a girl belongs only in the kitchen. This film that shows women taking on the arena of men and that too, in spanx, should shut down any naysayers.
Ki & Ka
‘Father is as much a verb as mother’, points out Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in her feminist manifesto, Dear Ijeawale. Balki’s film tries to capture this ideal. Though it doesn’t do it convincingly enough, the intent is laudable.
Gauri Shinde did a better job than Balki while trying to bust the shackles of gender-roles. Alia’s Kaira battles the ’single’ tag and the ’settle down’ bombardment. Not only does she survive, she thrives albeit with a little help from her friends and a very dishy Dr Jug.
A movie that revolves around the struggle to add heft to the word ‘No’. Consent has always been a dicey matter be it in court, or off it. But Pink does well to elevate the term.
This Oscar-winning movie is a must-watch for those with little to no understanding of what homosexuality is. While not the 101 on homosexuality, this film ought to help haters humanise their perspective.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Last year’s biggest Oscar winner is a feminist masterpiece. While the setting is dystopian, the premise seems current. Women are treated like property in this harsh new world and Furiosa is on a mission to liberate them.
Thelma & Louise
We can imagine Maneka Gandhi watching this film and thumping the table furiously while exclaiming, ‘See! Seeeeee! Lakshman Rekha!’ But all she or anyone needs to do is look a little closer, and one will find that if the men had kept their uninvited hands to themselves and their zips up, Thelma and Louise’s lives could’ve taken a better turn.