The Feminist Times
Gender and the Entertainment Industry
Movies, Short Films, Soap Operas, Social Media Content and Web Series are the catalyst for bringing about a social and psychological revolution. They have the power to make people question their beliefs and practices. They, however, become problematic when the viewers are subjected to stereotypical ideas.
The Indian Media and Entertainment industry has actively enforced the much-disputed patriarchal norms through the production of content solely meant to pursue their economic motives. The notion that it is only women who are responsible for homemaking has been presented in a naturalistic manner. Such content has established that the solemn duty and responsibility of women is to devote her life to the art of homemaking. I grew up watching such ideas being presented in many movies and soap operas as a precondition for getting married. These shows have propagated such notions through statements such as, Learn how to cook else you will get rebuked by your in laws.” These ideas become entrenched when even advertisements submit to the gender specific roles built by society. How many times have you seen a male advertising dishwasher, detergent or cooking items?
“We need to ponder upon the fact that being a homemaker does not mean you can be looked down upon."
However, our society has continuously ignored the efforts that take in the management of the house. his serves as the foundation of homemaking as a job being solely reserved for women, yet another reflection of patriarchy and how the entertainment industry has helped in its sustenance.
Even if domestic servants are employed for housekeeping, the female member has to take care of the overall conduct. These shows and movies create a deeper division by promoting certain mannerisms and behaviour as 'feminine' and 'masculine.' The portrayal of women in such light has made it difficult to challenge the patriarchal norms. It has dampened the ability of our society, especially the older generation to question such prejudicial notions. It also poses a considerable threat for children and teenagers by exposing their brains to misogynist as well as homophobic beliefs.
Everyone should have a basic knowledge about the art of homemaking, regardless of what gender they belong to. Considering that the audience targeted by movies and soap operas is huge, such content has the ability to make colossal differences at the grass-root level through their beautifully knitted-stories aimed at debunking these socially constructed gender-specific roles. I strongly believe that if these platforms are used in a proper manner, we can change the social fabric of our country and make the general public more accepting towards not only women but to various other communities as well.
- Ekta Choudhary