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Newly-released YouTube Tamil short film 'Because I Love You' sends a much-needed message about love not being about possessiveness & jealousy.
‘Because I Love You’, is a phrase that can be used as justification for a lot of horrific things. For instance, it is what some men think when attacking women with acid. They think that because they “love” a woman, she owes them love and must be punished if she does not reciprocate their feelings. But of course, this is not true love.
The short film ‘Because I Love You’ addresses the issue of when the titular statement is truly meant, and how it is different from assuming that loving someone is the same as owning them.
A newly-married woman, Priya (Deepika Raja), is being threatened by her ex-boyfriend who blames her for breaking up with him. Her extreme fear that her husband will find out about her past is testament to the fact that we live in an incredibly misogynistic society. A society that treats women like objects that reduce in value after being “used” by multiple men. The movie explores how the two men interpret love and how Priya deals with the situation.
Jealous men are romanticised in movies. The Tamil movie ‘Podaa Podi’ has the male protagonist as an extremely possessive a**hole. He does not like his wife dancing with other men in a competition that it is her dream to win. And the film’s solution is to have him participate in the competition with her, instead of having him work on his issues.
Another movie, ‘Manmadhan’, featuring the same actor (Silambarasan) has his character literally murder his girlfriend for cheating on him. Cheating is bad, but how can you murder someone you supposedly loved so deeply?
It is, therefore, a breath of fresh air to have a film in which the woman permanently breaks up with a man because of his possessiveness. The movie chooses to portray the man who is not jealous or possessive as the man who truly loves Priya. And I was so thankful to watch this (yes, the bar is very low).
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
– 1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 5 (from the New Testament of the Christian Bible)
As someone who has a possessive streak, I’ve always admired this quote about love. It talks about how being in love is all about being kind, patient, honourable, trusting, and selfless. Anything else is not true love.
Love is not about being envious that the person you love, loves someone else (it’s normal to be envious but that shouldn’t dictate your actions). It’s not about treating them like your property that provides you a certain amount of love, because you invested in it.
It’s not about hurting them because you don’t get what you want from them. It’s about not encroaching on their freedom. It’s about wishing them happiness even if it’s not with you. May we never again be tempted to romanticise toxic, jealous men.
Image source: Still from ‘Because I Love You’
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
You do not have to be perfect. There’s no perfect daughter, perfect employee, perfect wife, or perfect mother. These are just labels created by society, for their convenience.
So here you are, just out of engineering college, having no clue why you pursued Electronics Engineering. Yes, I know, like many others your age, you too were persuaded by your parents to opt for engineering because it supposedly gets you a lucrative job.
Believe me, however strange this might sound, you’ll soon come to realize that a high paying job need not always make you happy. And there are a myriad courses and career options out there, you should definitely consider something that’ll make you look forward to go to work every day.