Check out 16 Return-To-Work Programs In India For Ambitious Women Like You!
Invoking the bro-code, the song Teri Bhabhi doesn't just commodify women, it also manages to show you everything that's wrong with Bollywood!
Invoking the bro-code, the song Teri Bhabhi doesn’t just commodify women, it also manages to show you everything that’s wrong with Bollywood!
One would think that with the passage of years in cinema, and the success of movies like ‘Pink’ or ‘Thappad’, Bollywood is finally outgrowing its stale and regressive tendencies. Especially the ones that treat women like commodities owned by their boyfriends, husbands or fathers.
But the first song from the ‘Coolie No. 1’ remake by David Dhawan, starring Varun Dhawan and Sara Ali Khan would burst our bubbles. The song titled ‘Teri Bhabhi’ was released earlier yesterday.
In the song, you can see Dhawan demanding men to step away from their would-be ‘bhabhi’ by evoking the bro-code. And the other men oblige, not because Sara Ali Khan’s character is seen as a human being deserving respect for her agency. They do so because Varun Dhawan has laid ‘claim’ on her.
This music video is rooted in the culture of the ‘bro code.’ The ‘code’ essentially warrants a cisgender heterosexual man to infantilise and commodify women’s bodies. It lets the men take away the women’s agency, even mistreat or harass them. The most important element of the bro-code is that the man’s ‘bros’ are expected to support him. They are supposed to never rat him out, despite having full knowledge of his actions.
The women who find themselves in the private sphere of these men’s lives are defined by and limited to their relationships to these men. It attempts to obscure the experiences of women in a gendered society. And it pushes them back into the confines of domesticity, at least in the popular imagination.
Over the years, feminist struggles have helped women overcome several thresholds. It has helped them find themselves in the civil society movements and as employed individuals. But this patriarchal conception of treating women as properties tries to take away from the women their identity and their position in the society.
In situations where women find themselves as the victim of gender-based violence, this commodification creates a space wherein very little empathy or support is afforded to the women. However, it rests solely on her relationship with the men in her life.
So, a rape survivor would receive conditional empathy or support for being somebody’s daughter or wife. But when removed from her relationship with those men, she is made the perpetrator of the very crime she’s a victim of.
Media takes that up and represents that positively. So, male ‘heroes’ while trying to woo a woman would exhibit outright stalkerish behaviour, stopping at nothing, not even harassment. This is then romanticised and valorised until he finally wins her over. But if the girlfriend or wife of the said ‘hero’ is exploited by someone else, the hyper-masculine angry young man’s rage takes centre stage and not the woman’s trauma.
Pop-culture reinforces these ideas by idealising a certain category of women. It does so by calling these adult women ‘girls,’ and rendering all other bodies and gender presentations as ‘undesirable.’
A thin, fair, feminine woman who depends on a man either emotionally or for security, or both, is romanticised. Similarly, ‘damsel in distress’ needs a ‘knight in shining armour,’ Cinderella needs her ‘Prince Charming.’
Even a female superhero is infantilised. So, while DC’s ‘Supergirl’ is an adult woman being called a girl (a word used for children), Superman can remain a man in all his glory.
Cinema is influenced by, and in turn influences, the accepted culture of the society. So, when mainstream movies like ‘Coolie No. 1’ choose to reproduce harmful stereotypes and toxic masculinity, it goes a long way in the normalisation of the same. It cements into the society the very things it could try to counter.
Picture credits: Still from the song Teri Bhabhi on YouTube
A postgraduate student of Political Science at Presidency University, Kolkata. Describes herself as an intersectional feminist and an avid reader when she's not busy telling people about her cats. Adores walking around and exploring read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
It is easy to give in to patriarchal expectations from a married woman and lose your self in a marriage, but the path to happiness is in keeping your independence.
Marriage is often described as the joining of two individuals’ bodies, minds, and souls. Upon getting married, you are expected to share everything with your partner, including time, money, and all other aspects of life. Your life should revolve around your spouse from beginning to end.
But is it necessary to spend every waking moment with the spouse? Are you not supposed to have a life apart from your spouse? And do these rules apply only to women or men as well?
Although both men and women may face this situation, women are generally expected to give up everything once they get married. Despite progress in several areas, expecting women to abandon their interests, passions, and friendships to align their lives with those of their spouses is still considered the norm.
The rising numbers of single women choosing this life shout out clear and loud that patriarchy and sexism will no longer break or chain us.
Another book on singlehood? It seems to be the season for books on the joys and freedom of being single. But Demystifying and Dignifying Singlehood: Life Journeys of Single Women Across the Globe by Uma Jain is different. The book does not glorify or glamourise the lives of single women in any way. These are real stories – with the good, the bad and the ugly, all there.
The book tells the stories of 15 single women across the world. A feeling of deep understanding and empathy fills you as you read the book and understand the challenges faced by the women who are single – by choice or chance. Some of the women chose to be single because they faced discrimination and even abuse as girl children. Some others had abusive marriages and sought divorce.
The tag line ‘Crafting pathways on rough terrains’ on the cover page is enough to tell you that this is a serious take on the issue of singlehood. If it focuses more on the rough than the smooth, that has been the reality for the 15 women.
Please enter your email address