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Promising Young Woman is every woman's nightmare, but also a fantasy many of us have had - what if took the law into our own hands?
Promising Young Woman is every woman’s nightmare, but also a fantasy many of us have had – what if took the law into our own hands?
“It’s every guy’s worst nightmare getting accused like that.
Can you guess what every woman’s worst nightmare is?”
This line made me pause to take a deep breath. Such is the power of that one question.
I believe 10 out of 10 women would have the same answer to this, which talks of a not-so-shocking albeit absolute harsh reality.
The lines quoted above are from a 2020 released movie ‘Promising Young Woman. It has a sort of Gone Girl vibe to it, with its essence rooted in seeking revenge.
Some spoilers ahead
Cassie, a young medical school dropout, is harbouring a deeply traumatic event from her past. In order to find sense in this chaos and set things right in the world, she regularly frequents bars pretending to be drunk. She waits to see whether a man would approach her, to help get her home safe or try to take advantage of her. Unfortunately, it’s usually the latter. Once she is taken to their place, she flips the switch on them letting them know she is sober and calling them out on their intentions – that of wanting to have sex with her while she is intoxicated and even unconscious.
While this move seems absolutely risky to the viewer, given the fact that so many things could go wrong and pose a danger to her life; one must admit that there is a supreme satisfaction in watching these potential molestors/ rapists squirm, once Cassie points at for their deplorable thoughts and actions.
This does not lead to any legal course of action in the movie but seems to show the main lead aiming to call men out on their wrongdoing and striking extreme fear in their lives, such that they would think 10 times before pulling something like that on any woman ever again.
The story lets on quite early how her friend, Nina, at medical school was raped and the boy got off scot free. It also shows another aspect, of how it was the men have committed this crime, participated in it and we find out later, even videotaped it; it is also women who played a role in the same; women such as the medical student who refused to believe Cassie’s friend as well as the Dean who appeared as if she did not remember the incident or who Nina was initially.
And that is for sure one of the worst scenes from the movie – to have a woman herself blame the victim instead of believing her.
“She was promiscuous, she drank too much, she put herself in a vulnerable position” and so forth – as if the issue of a woman’s consent and her right to basic respect does not exist.
While this movie may have been exaggerated for the sake of creating a thriller/crime story, it highlights the core issue of morality with reference to sexual crimes. It delves into the psyche of individuals in a society such as ours who would rather block such information from their awareness as it is too disturbing or upsetting to have in their conscious awareness.
Family members, friends, relatives, colleagues and at times, even spouses, refuse to acknowledge a woman’s truth. Sadly, while the episode may be over, the psychological toll it takes on survivors lasts a lifetime. It affects their world view, decision making, self-esteem and trust in themselves and others.
We live in a post #metoo time; however, while the movement surely ignited women to find their voice, those in our country suffer in silence daily. Whether it be domestic abuse worsening during the pandemic and lockdown, childhood/teenage abuse or rape, what women have to be worried about on a daily basis is unfair, to say the least.
As exaggerated and candy-flossed as this movie was, it made me think – Why must women have to turn towards deviant or criminal behaviour in order to find justice? What are the options when the legal system fails a victim? Is this what we must resort to?
Sadly, the movie’s ending reaffirmed my belief that no matter how a movie seemed to show a woman taking matters into her own hands, it still ultimately led to her being a victim of violence.
Perhaps the few times women have actually lied or ‘cried wolf’, has made society doubt all women’s voice and stories (unless there is an actual confession at play), calling all of it merely feminist propaganda.
A woman’s worst nightmare doesn’t end at the incident but the fight that follows to survive, be heard, believed, supported, and be entitled to justice and the right to live her life.
It is ironic how I am finishing writing this, with the movie Pink on my television in the background.
No matter which culture or country, the narrative for women is the same – fight to survive, fight the odds to merely live.
Top image is a still from the movie
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Soul centric and free spirited all the while living life through travel and adrenaline junkie activities. Counselling Psychologist and Educator by vocation. And a life and laughter enthusiast by heart. Usually found daydreaming about her read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, indivisual posts do not necessarily represent the platofrom's views and opinions at all times.
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Stop glorifying biological parenthood - other methods of growing a family are just as valid, and completely a couple's choice, especially of the woman whose body goes through pregnancy and birth.
Stop glorifying biological parenthood – other methods of growing a family are just as valid, and completely a couple’s choice, especially of the woman whose body goes through pregnancy and birth.
Trigger Warning: Contains derogatory remarks about having a baby through surrogacy or any means other than giving birth through biological means, and may be triggering, especially to adoptive parents.
Recently Priyanka Chopra Jonas announced parenthood by surrogacy. This has once again sparked the debate about ethical surrogacy, which is a discussion for another day.
Arathi Rajagopalan, founder of 'House of Kalart', talks about thinking like a designer & transitioning to thinking like a business owner.
Excerpts from an interview with Arathi Rajagopalan, founder of ‘House of Kalart’ – a fusion jewellery label that merges global aesthetics and traditional craftsmanship.
When did you start ‘House of Kalart’ and what was the intention?
I started House of Kalart in 2017 as a venture where painting, drawing and embroidery are married with metalsmithing to create well-handcrafted fashion jewellery. Along with painting and styling, the venture aims to create a holistic fashion experience for a bold and dramatic woman!” As a child, I had always been fascinated by arts and crafts.
Contrary to what films and society make us believe, there is life after rape. Rape survivors, not victims is the mindset we need to adopt.
I cannot imagine the pain and trauma the 23 year old woman went through that fateful night. What sad times we live in!
This incident flared up discussions on capital punishment, security, laws and I guess everything that anyone can touch upon. However what I am concerned about is that no one is talking of rape rehabilitation. My question remains, God forbid if rape happens, are we as a society equipped enough to rehabilitate the person concerned?
Do we even know the process a rape victim should go through, so that she can come back to normalcy? Rape has no age; from a girl of four to a sixty year old woman, no one is spared. But I think what a four year old would need, a sixty year old would not. Do we have the processes in place? (more…)
Marital rape is still legal in India - here's the story of one such woman I know. 71 years since independence, 69 years of being a Republic, and we still live in the last century!
Marital rape is still legal in India – here’s the story of one such woman I know. 71 years since independence, 69 years of being a Republic, and we still live in the last century!
According to section 375 Indian penal code, a man is said to commit ‘rape’ who, except in the case of certain exceptions (given later), has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the 6 following descriptions:-
The exception: Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, if the wife is not under fifteen years of age, is not rape.