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The trailer of the upcoming film Sanju has outraged several people because it is a prime example of double standards for men and women.
Unmarried women who are sexually active and own their sexuality without fear are always judged, whereas for men it’s as if sleeping with multiple women gets them bonus points. This concept is promoted in popular culture too.
Many very well-known sitcoms have a stereotypical ladies’ man. There is Charlie from Two and a Half Men, Barney from How I Met Your Mother (who even goes so far as to create The Playbook on how to score with the ladies) and Joey from everyone’s favourite show – Friends. This character is usually extremely proud of his sexual promiscuity and treats women as conquests. Howard also attempts to be this guy on The Big Bang Theory, but this show differs from others is that the character known for actually being really sexually active is a woman – Penny. And she is the butt of many jokes due to that; she is slut-shamed quite a bit (although there recently was an episode which involved her shutting down a male character who slut-shamed her – baby steps I guess).
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Indian popular culture is not too different – sexually active men are studs while sexually active women are sluts. The trailer of the movie Sanju has Ranbir Kapoor (who stars as actor Sanjay Dutt) bragging about having slept with multiple women. People have taken to Twitter to complain about the fact that if the film had been named Sanjana and had a woman boasting about similar things, then she would have been slammed for it.
Some might say that all this is hogwash and ‘feminazi’ propaganda. Well, I direct them to watch Indian movies that have been released in the past and notice the pattern.
For instance, the 2012 Hindi film Cocktail has the sexually promiscuous male protagonist start a sexual relationship with an equally sexually promiscuous female protagonist. However, she is brought to her knees, begging him to love her and saying that she will change her ways. Meanwhile, he prefers her ‘good girl’ best friend whom ‘he can take home to mommy’. This isn’t explicitly stated but it is part of a culture that values chastity over everything else. Another example, is the 2004 Tamil movie Manmadhan in which the hero finds and kills ‘morally incorrect’ girls because boys are ‘Oh, so noble!’
The movie Sanju is probably going to add to the already long list of works of fiction all over the world in which men who have slept with many women are glorified. Yes, women are prizes that men have to win by overcoming obstacles that come in the way of getting them, to have sex with them. Women who openly want to have sex are sluts or evil bitches. Three cheers for double standards!
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My issue is not sanju or his sexploits, I am upset that this is the guy who is being touted as role model, a guy who was caught with arms, substance abuse, whose great excuse but my momma died.
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