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After watching Netflix’s Dubai Bling, I can’t stop wondering, is the portrayal of women on television and cinema doing any justice to women?
Happened to watch Netflix’s Dubai Bling and couldn’t help but wonder, is the portrayal of women on television and cinema doing any justice to women? Especially when it’s about empowerment and independence.
Just like many other reality shows about rich and influential people, this one too walks us through the glamorous lifestyles of 6-7 rich and successful women, and the depiction is the same as always.
They wear designer labels (only designer labels), jet around in helicopters, can’t survive without luxury (their words, not mine), and live an enormously larger than life lifestyle.
The notion that fashionable women have equally stylish careers all the time, like jewellery designing, fashion designing, interior decoration, social media influencing, selling real estate to celebrities, etc is maintained here as well. They are all into some chic businesses, and party day and night on yachts and private jets.
But honestly, superficial as these look, I am not concerned about the fashion or opulence, the ladies can afford the clothes and seem to be enjoying their lives.
Which is totally fine.
What irks me is the mentality attached to working women and housewives.
There’s one lady, a real estate agent fondly called ‘The Versace Queen,’ who works all day and attends every dazzling party in town, with her husband in tow. But more often than not, in almost every episode, she laments about her busy lifestyle not letting her spend time with her children.
My question is, if her husband is busy as well, why do the makers dump this clichéd working woman monologue on her?
Moreover, her husband is the epitome of chivalry, he appreciates her all the time, and comforts her, in fact he takes the children off on a vacation with him, so she gets some me time.
Is it only me or do we see a confused career-oriented woman and her sweet and supportive husband?
Then there’s this housewife, extremely wealthy, so much so, that her mansion gets too small for her. Why? Because there are rooms for her clothes alone.
She cribs all the time about lack of space, and her poor husband goes out of his way to please her. He gifts her an apartment, and she snaps, “Why gift, all that is yours is mine.”
They even look at a ‘castle’, she loves it and screams at him, “C’mon. Pay the advance right now.” And he looks on innocently, unable to calm her. But later he defends his wife, it’s her hormones, she’s stressed, I’ll do anything to make her happy. Of course, the good husband and his gold-digging wife.
There’s a young widow, again immensely rich, who wishes to start life afresh and dates some young men. She doesn’t like them much, so the Mama’s boys state she’s playing too hard to get.
The makers prefer to keep it that way, emphasizing that all her riches were her late husband’s, and she spends it all on her more than lavish life. Gold-digger, again?
A popular DJ’s wife owns her own label and happens to be an Instagram queen.
She is independent, a pillar of support for her husband, but then every time the man as much speaks to another woman, we hear tense music in the background and the lady tells us, “If she thinks she can snatch my husband, I won’t let her.”
So much so, that when her best friend, one of the aforementioned women, stands close to her DJ husband, she feels threatened and insecure. After all, jealousy is a womanly trait, right?
The women meet up all the time over lunch, and what do they do? No guesses, they gossip. About the member of the team who’s not coming that day. To the extent, that two of them bitch about a third, who’s to show up later.
And the very next day, one of them rats out her friend to the other.
And the two old friends now turned foes fight. And how, they pull each other by the hair, throw coffee and shout, ‘You’re Fake You’re Fake.’
Some others hug and kiss in public, but spew venom when in the company of their besties.
Come the men to the rescue. They are still friends, they meet up for golf, they don’t speak ill of anyone, they discuss the ‘cat fight’ and meet the two squabbling women personally to make amends.
But the adamant, headstrong, and particularly hormonal women refuse to budge.
Dubai Bling garbs its underlying misogyny in layers of designer clothes and accessories. It’s the 21st century, but the makers still believe that the way to a woman’s heart is a man’s wealth.
And however smart or strong they may be, Women will be Women; bitchy, temperamental and vain.
Image source: Still from the trailer of Dubai Bling on Youtube.
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I recommend reading Manjiri Indurkar's Origami Aai alongside her memoir to have a fulfilling and enriching experience of telling one's story with grace.
It’s All In Your Head, M famed author Manjiri Indurkar’s debut poetry collection, Origami Aai, is independent and yet an extension of her memoir in which she speaks with utmost grace about all forms of abuses that she has survived. In this book of intriguing and evocative poems, the poet weaves words to form images of the everyday life of her middle-class family, love found and lost, trauma, and healing.
The collection is divided into four segments, beginning with the family, slowly moving towards the world, and finally colliding them together.
We aren’t in mourning, but we are creatures of habit.
So we talk of each one who died of drowning,
and I listen to her stories with the patience
of a chronicler.
– Funereal Stories
When someone accuses you of "too much feminism", what they are really saying is, "I am uncomfortable with you challenging the status quo and disrupting my privilege".
Time and again, there is one phrase that keeps coming up in the social media discourse on feminism. Any guesses?
Ah, no prizes for guessing the infamous “itni bhi feminist” or “too much feminism” phrase, a classic eye-roller for me, and I am sure for many more of my tribe, in the realm of gender equality discussions.
Pray tell me, how can an ideology, a movement be too ‘much’? It’s not salt or the seasoning of your soup where you can go, “Oops, too much salt, only one spoon was required”. Either you stand for what feminism stands for, or you don’t.
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