Can and able: women overcome gender bias, one barrier at a time

Published: 09th October 2016 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th October 2016 12:48 PM   |  A+A-

Pink is a recent film that has shaken the system. It has put the word out that when a woman says ‘no’ to sex, it means no. We can thank the team of filmmaker Shoojit Sircar, writer Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and the caste of young actors, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari and Andrea Tariang, who carried off their roles with conviction, despite the presence of a superstar.

The film is a gripping portrayal of real issues in our society. One where women are independent and can live on their own, but are not free of the blemish that this freedom brings with it—of being seen as loose and easy. If you party, have tattoos and are willing to befriend boys, then you should also be willing to sleep with them when they want. The film left me with a sense of vindication because it belies these stereotypes.

While the film drives home a strong message, one cannot escape the fact that the women are not powerful on their own, it is the ‘saviour’ in the shape of a bi-polar lawyer (Amitabh Bachchan) who ‘rescues’ them with a convincing argument.

Perhaps in an India of this day and age, women still do need the support of men to reinforce that their agency, their bodies, their ability to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ means something and that consent is sacrosanct.
After all it is not just women who need to be feminists, but men as well.

This brings me to a man who is not a feminist—Donald Trump. The American billionaire has convinced me that India is not the only country which has its fair share of sexists. It gives me chills to think that the country, which most of us expect to be progressive, may be led by a President who goes around doing things like calling the former Miss Universe ‘Miss Piggy’ or putting down Carly Fiorina, his former rival, because of her face (clearly Trump has stopped looking in the mirror). He has even gone on record to say that women who have abortions should be ‘punished’. While I would like to put a gag order on Trump, it also gives me insight into the beliefs of some Republicans in the so-called First World.

My heart bled when I read Sonam Kapoor’s piece on how she felt unattractive despite being on a billboard with Ranbir Kapoor in Saawariya. This mostly because there were several ‘fat photos’ of her before weight loss floating around, with bits of her body circled in red. No doubt it is good to be healthy, but is it fair to shame people because they do not fit into size zero? It is good to hear Sonam say, “Today, at 31, I like my body because it’s healthy. I’m done celebrating thinness or flawlessness.”

Women are emerging out of the moulds that they have been trapped in for centuries. It is no longer  sacrilege for a woman not be married by a certain age or to stay single. It is no longer a sin for her to walk out of a marriage that is not working and is not a crime for her to have a relationship or more before marriage. Fair is not necessarily beautiful and dark is certainly not ugly. Fat shaming is looked down upon. This is true for certain sections of our society where the women are wrestling a modicum of empowerment from a seriously skewed society.
One day, and I hope that day comes soon, we will not have to make films about consent and choice for women because that will be a given, we will not have to worry about that extra pound, and a man like Trump will be booed and shooed off the stage, let alone get a chance to run for

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