Unrooting the History

Misogyny has been rooted in Bollywood for decades. Was it always this way? The simple answer is no. Beginning with the early 1950’s era, films cast a very different approach in terms of women. This was deemed as the golden era where movies focused mainly upon social justice after the recent freedom movement. Ironically, films in the 1950’s gave women the portrayal of being strong and many thrived as female leads. However, a shift in Bollywood in the 1960’s and 70’s changed the whole presentation of females in the industry. These women embodied the role of a “damsel in distress” and men took pride in being an “angry young man.” These roles set into stone, and with the arrival of the 90’s came the highlight of items songs where the objectification of women deepened. Girls were dressed in scantily clothing surrounded by men. These musical performances became a must in movies and are very much still incorporated today. The movie could be horrendous, but an item song could capture all the eyes and that is what filmmakers wanted.  The storyline of films changed from the surface but kept its true misogynistic aspects. Myriad details reflected what a “good woman” should be like and she should love the man despite his wrongdoings. Actresses slowly became sidelined and no longer held the importance in a film, only being added to add to the “richness” of the movie and attract the male gaze. Equally as talented as their male co-stars, these females never received the same recognition. Movies were made with an idea of the male actor as the focal point and only recently have the contribution of females came into the limelight. Many filmmakers are understanding the notion of changing with the time, hence the recent releases casting female leads have been a big hit. Let alone female leads, Bollywood is slowly making a transition to create films based on the problems of women and how they should be normalized in the world today. Sadly, the audience outpour for these misogynistic films is a lot higher than those who show the freedom of a woman. It is as if a mentality has been set by many people that this is the norm and this needs to be changed. 


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