It feels like yesterday , when the 2016 April left me partially overwhelmed and completely thrilled . It’s my second daily blogging challenge ever and starting today , I’ll be exploring representation of women in contemporary movies through the month under the #AtoZChallenge 2017.
I have always believed , Movies are a representation of real life . They might seem a different version of the life as we know of or in most cases an exaggerated reality but then they are a reflection of the ‘popular ideologies and thoughts’ . Having said that , movies can also define the culture or values of a generation and can influence change in bridging glaring gaps in how things are vs how they should be.
In my Theme Reveal post I quoted a study in Gender representation in popular movies as per which Indian films didn’t fare too well [vs 10 other countries] with respect to portrayal of women. Traditionally , we are shown either as the doting wife , the sacrificing mother or the workaholic single girl with zilch social life.
But we know how talking about what’s wrong with the world seldom leads to anything positive. So for next 26 days , I’ll be talking about what’s going right instead. We’ll talk about general perceptions when it comes to how female characters are depicted and I’d be using some recent iconic or underrated movie characters who took the stereotypes and turned them on their head like only a girl can !
Sounds ambitious for an #AtoZChallenge theme? I sure hope it is ! Which brings me to the topic for Day 1 . Ambitious women.
Now when it comes to men , we love our ‘heroes’ as angry or ruthless or sincere – in a nutshell , we like them just as they are. Ambition when it comes to men is an attractive virtue and they could literally get away with murder and we wont blink because we feel it’s all means to a larger end. But when it comes to women , Ambition is an ugly word.
Women are portrayed as either black or white. They could either be so rooted in values they let everyone walk all over them as a doormat or the unstoppable insensitive immoral person everyone hates . Case in point being movies like Fashion or Corporate – when ambitious supermodels / corporate women end up being alone and guilty [their ambitious being the cause of their downfall] .
But the new age ‘heroines’ are done with playing second fiddle , they have dreams and plans and a view and a voice to match.
When Ayesha [ Wake up Sid ] a 27 year wannabe writer lands in a new city , she embraces her single status with pride . She is clear about what she wants from relationships and she’s pushy enough to ‘convert an interview’ into a hire . But , she wouldn’t carry on hanging out at jazz recitals with her boss if she doesn’t enjoy that kind of music just to see her name in the by line. On the other hand Akira [ Jab Tak Hai Jaan] , a Discovery journalist would go to any extent to get a good story but when she loses the guy , she doesn’t go down without trying.
Ambition in women is always seen as a sign of rebellion. A lot of people can’t even stand a woman with a view. So someone with her whole life’s plan figured out am sure is far from how we have imagined those silverscreen divas.
So when someone as seemingly ‘homely and marriageable ‘ as Rani [Queen] harbored ambitions to be self-reliant , something that her family always encouraged but her fiancé didn’t – the concept of un-ambitious was challenged in a subtle way as well in contemporary movies. From just another girl waiting for her knight in shining armour to real breathing living women glorious in their flaws and gorgeous in their desires – the shift is hard to miss.
These women are pivotal to the story line . They also have defined identifiable careers and fulfilling personal lives – a balanced view when it comes to ‘women who work and wish to grow in their careers’ just like women off screen. Referencing back to the study that triggered this series , the occupation of women in movies is less likely to be portrayed . But that’s for another post waiting to be written .
I am collaborating with Jaibala Rao who is blogging about iconic movies of our generation here . Click here to Join me in my #AtoZChallenge journey this April as I explore women representation in contemporary movies. If you are participating in AtoZ too , do leave your link and I’d try my best to drop by .