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Kiara Advani Shines In Guilty, A Film About Consent And The Need To Smash Toxic Male Entitlement

Posted: March 7, 2020
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Kiara Advani (of Kabir Singh ‘fame’) makes a mark in Netflix movie Guilty, that tackles the entitlement of men, thinking they have the right to decide who “asks for it” and who doesn’t.

On a cosy evening, with the weather just perfect, I snuggled in my comforter and started watching a crime thriller on Netflix. 10 minutes in, I saw a notification ping saying Guilty was now streaming on Netflix.

I had seen its ads and had probably marked it hence, the notification. I switched to watching Guilty and the next 120 minutes had me hooked onto it.

What is Guilty all about?

Guilty is a story of a woman, it’s a story of womankind, it’s a story of humanity, it’s a story screaming why boys need to be raised right, it’s a story of how acceptable victim shaming is, it’s a story of how insensitive we all are as a society.

Guilty is a very upbeat, young movie with a deep rooted message with which a lot of college kids and youth would identify, as well as the older generation.

Based on the #MeToo movement, it’s an extremely urban story. Its so urban that one of the characters in the movie when asked questions about his whereabouts, says “I want to plead the fifth”!. The section of society that has grown up on watching American TV series and Hollywood movies find it eye opening to know 911 isn’t an Indian emergency number and, pleading the fifth is in the American constitution and not in the Indian and this vibe is captured perfectly in the movie.

The story of the movie is also so powerful that the acting and the actors don’t outshine the story track. You’d remember the cast of this movie by their screen names and not their real-life names and that is a huge accomplishment for any creative team.

We’re still fighting for basic dignity

What the movie does to the you, is a separate story all together. Like I said earlier, it’s a movie on society, sexuality, gender bias, victim shaming, and the list could go on and on.

What surprises me is, its 2020 and we are still fighting for basic human dignity of a particular gender. Since ages there has been content around this issue. In every century, the story is probably the same. It’s just the narration that changes.

Watching this movie, I remembered a Hollywood movie I saw as a kid starring Jodie Foster, The Accused. The Accused was released in 1988. Guilty is released in 2020. The issue and the insensitivity of the society, the attitude that if a woman is drinking, wearing skimpy clothes, flirting with a man, is asking for it, is the same.

Victim shaming and the victim blaming is the same. The entitlement of men in thinking they have the right to decide who “asks for it” and who doesn’t, is the same and this similarity is what we all as a society should be collectively ashamed of.

Yes, she wanted it, but no, not like that

In the movie, a girl who accuses the college heartthrob of rape, with whom she had been flirting and wanting to sleep with, wore skimpy clothes and minced no words when said “yes, I wanted to be with him, yes, I flirted with him, yes I wanted to be his girlfriend and yes, I wanted to sleep with him BUT NOT IN FRONT OF HIS FRIENDS” is a statement that probably a lot of people would not even understand because of the misogyny that we practice in our societies.

The film treads on the bold territory of domestic rape, wearing plunging necklines, the coexistence of the possibility of flirting and having the right to say NO, the stark difference in the perception people have of a woman who seeks attention and of a man who seeks attention and, of course, the dirty world of legal politics.

Why the #MeToo movement caught such a momentum worldwide is no rocket science. The logic is simple. There cannot be a woman in the world who has never ever faced any kind of physical abuse. It may be in the form of rape, “eve teasing”, bottom pinching, slut shaming etc but, it has happened. And all of it falls under one umbrella: treating women as objects.

The question of consent

How hard is it to understand what No means. How have we all raised the boys who went on to become men that they think cleavage, alcohol, short dresses and flirting is a certified indication of “asking for it”?

I remember when I was in college, a bunch of boys used to harass us every single day. The police station was walking distance from my college so myself along with two more friends of mine went to the police station to complain. The police officer there took one look at us and told us to wear full sleeved clothes and wear salwar kameez instead of jeans and the “boy problem” would soon vanish.

When would we start holding men accountable for their actions? Why do women have to be cautious for themselves as well as for men? Why is the onus of not provoking men on women?

It takes a village to raise a child and looks like since centuries we have been raising boys in the wrong kind of village.

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