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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Stereotypes of Manliness/Masculinity in Film Industry


What are the notions of masculinity popularised by the film industry (of course, this is a generalisation, to which there may be exceptions)?

1. A hero should be expert in seduction. A panditji who worships Narayana and studies the shastras; a lalaji who maintains his books and frugally gathers lakshmi; or a kisan/mazdoor bhai who works hard to maintain his family can never be a symbol of manliness. Why? Even a learned scientist or a brave soldier would hardly figure as a hero in Bollywood. In Hollywood, that is not the case, but there too the character is sexualised enough to fit the role of a hero.

2. A hero should have some anti-social traits and often they are criminals. They are druggies, smokers or drunkards. They have dignified the use of filthy language. Fornication and hooliganism is glamourised. A gentleman who is liberated from these traits  is projected as a nobody.

3. A hero should have a muscular body with no body hair, both to attract the opposite sex and to embarrass the antagonist. Interestingly,  the Puranas depict the asuras with such bodies. For reference, please check the descriptions of Hiranyaksh and Hiranyakashipu in Shrimad Bhagavatam.

4. The porn industry has now upgraded the stereotype. It has tried to standardise the shapes and sizes of private parts and the rituals of love making. A hero has to be a narcissist who treats women as nothing but sex objects. If one calls a woman mother or sister, he is treated as less a man, at best an uncle with antiquated fads.

5. Remember, the punctual, early riser in Dil Chahta Hai, the god-fearing student in Three Idiots or the sadhu-sants in Oh My God are depicted as idiots, weaklings or bigots. A typical hero is a late riser, who prefers perfume to bather, who does not work for a living, who parties late in the night, who never refuses a drink, a lady or a fight and who worships only himself. Don't you think that boys and girls in India would be influenced by this massive propaganda machine? Should we aspire for such demonic standards or reform our attitudes?

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