I went to watch the movie ‘Mom’ yesterday, on my mom’s insistence. The Sridevi fan that she is, I had no option but to give her what she wanted. Or else she’d have reminded me of how I did not let her watch ‘Kaabil’ which ultimately my brother got from his friend and showed her on the LED TV via a pen drive.
See what is common in both the films? Yes, they are all Home productions where the actor playing the protagonist is related directly to the producer of the movie. But, their theme has this one thing in common – Rape Revenge Saga.
That is one genre which has stuck with Hindi film industry since the 80s. And I have never been a fan of it.
A bunch of boys and men who consider a girl rejecting them as the greatest blot on their masculinity violate a woman and get away from the law while one of their loved ones decides to get revenge. A visually-impaired man fights off goons because hey, he is a man, and a normal, rich school teacher decides to punish the acquitted rapists of her step-daughter, not just for revenge, but also to prove to her daughter that she is Mom, not Ma’am.
I do not have the appetite to watch movies of this sort. It makes me mad. It is gross. And it makes me feel helpless, considering nothing can ever change when it comes to the dichotomy between men and women. I find it hard to sleep at night.
But mostly, because it reminds me how people close to you, guys you consider yourself safe with, can turn monsters, sex-maniacs and inhuman and make you feel like a “waste product.” Betrayal, back-stabbing and slut-shaming hurts as much as being sexually abused, if not more. But what is worse is the fact that you can do nothing about it.
A school teacher cannot look for a private investigator and hunt down the rapists with an aim to avenge what they did to her daughter. Glorifying people who take law into their hands may earn you claps in the theatre, but in reality, you will end up creating a much larger problem than there exists. When such monsters are someone outside your social circuit, it is a different story. But, when they are one of your own, someone you trusted with, what do you do?
Rapes have always happened. Men have raped women, made them their slaves and revelled in the glory of their sexual conquests. From History to Mythology, it is the same tale of power and lust which is camouflaged as unfulfilled desire and undying love and presented to the people. That’s how rapists like Apollo and Zeus became Gods and Daphne and countless other wives of Zeus became his “muses” who existed solely to fulfil their masters’ desires and, like Daphne, couldn’t protect themselves even when they turned into a tree, basically killing themselves.
What’s common in rapists and fuckboys? They are not correlative. But there is a common trait in both the types.
The thirst for power.
Rape has nothing to do with sex; it is all about asserting power over a woman. A woman they consider weak.
Have you noticed what kind of women Fuckboys usually look for? Women with low self-esteem, low confidence and virgins who would do anything they ask them to and tolerate their shit in the name of love. Sleeping with them and then abandoning those gives fuckboys a sense of conquest – a FEELING of power.
We are power hungry individuals. We love to be dominating. We love it when people around us bow down to us, either in fear or to give a blowjob. The traditional segregation among sexes has taught us to treat each other differently – while men are supposed to be rough and tough to prove their masculinity, women ought to be providers – silent, obedient providers. Where did the previous generation go wrong?
Sometimes, I wish our mythology wasn’t this twisted. Sometimes, I feel Sita should have questioned Ram when she was asked to prove her purity to him. She didn’t go to Ravan herself, she was abducted. How is that her fault? Maybe, that’s where the seeds of victim blaming lies. A bunch of a-holes abducted you and you are not “pure” anymore since they raped you – it’s your fault.
I was always taught that Krishna was a playboy and that Ram is better since he had just one wife and he was faithful to her.
Well, to me, it is better to meet a thousand Krishnas who protect my honour than to meet one Ram who banishes me to the jungle because the men in his kingdom are a-holes.
Krishna married 16000 queens because they were refused by their husbands after their kidnapping by a demon. He saved Draupadi when her own husbands failed her. He married Rukmini and ran away with her because she wanted to be with him even though her marriage was fixed with a jerk called Sisupal.
Krishna didn’t sleep around and later threw those women away from him because he was done. He is not a playboy. He was self-sufficient, secure and able. That gave him power. He never needed to be influenced by anyone. Isn’t that what you call true ‘dharma’? To me, that’s a turn-on.
People kill in the name of religion though it makes no difference since God doesn’t come to protect you when you are in deep shit. That’s something you are capable of. Religion was supposed to teach, not spread lies and blasphemy in the name of the Lord. When you have people turning kids into orphans, why would you need a religion?
And you use it to ask women to stay in their limits, be subservient to you.
Mythology is a deep influencer. It is important not to distort Ramayan, Mahabharat or any of the Greek and Roman tragedies to impose one type of behaviour. It becomes a religion soon after and you wouldn’t even realise it’s implications till people begin to kill each other. For power.
A No is a No. And Consent is the King/Queen. Whether you are a teenager, a grown-up, a man or a woman. This is the ultimate truth. Maybe, that’s what our mythologies were supposed to teach us, no?
My mom had told me back when I was a teenager that I should be careful around my guy friends; that you never know when they’d take my friendliness for something else or lose their senses and let their hormones or fragile ego control them. Oh she was so right!
Throughout the movie I kept thinking how I’d advice teenagers now to listen to their parents. When you grow up, you begin to discover, painfully so, that your mother was right.
In this age of gender violence and distorted mythology, moms are right!