Alert: rant post
There has been zero post-idea in my mind about International Women’s Day. Just some rambling thoughts. And all of them surround the banal depictions of women in pop culture- regarding books, movies, advertisements etc.
Banality 1: Brands giving gyaans
Even 5-6 years back I used to be goo-goo eyed when the mercantile euphoria around “Women’s Day” was at its peak. Not anymore. I don’t need a makeup brand to tell me how a woman can run circles around all the lemons everyday life throws at her and still her lip-smudge remains intact!
I’d rather wish to see the brands up their game in what they are supposed to offer and loos in their stand-alone stores.
Banality 2: The petite, feisty protagonist
In books, in films, in ads, this is disheartening to see a woman has to be petite in order to be feisty. Whether it’s classics ( can’t help there much as the authors are dead) or YA fantasy, most of the heroines are defined by their short stature (mostly using as a facade to hide their killer nerves).
In the age of “body-inclusivity”- contemporary women authors – you can certainly do better!
Similar post: The subtle case of body-shaming in books
Banality 3: Only “strong, independent” trope real
I can only speak for myself but this myth has become a bit frightening. It’s as if you’re not walking, talking, behaving (and most importantly feeling like) volcano- you’re canceled.
And what’s strong exactly? Last I heard, even a feminist role-model like Beyoncé has forgiven and happily co-existing with a philanderer partner (which rightfully should be her decision).
Feminism becomes oversimplified when we limit it to this “strong, independent women don’t take it lying down” trope.
Banality 4: “Boss bitches”= sharp suits, red lipstick, high-heels
….in stock photos, ads, films, Ted talks. But one can be equally emancipated in a sari/ salwar-suit with curly, unruly hair and nude lips and Kolhapuri chappals.
Banality 5: Celebs=beacon of empowerment
Again cue to point 3. It took me eons to realize that what public figures preach and what they mean are completely opposite.
The hoopla won’t end anytime soon. We need to be careful to separate the art/carefully projected image from the artist.
Banality 6: Menstruation, you beauty !
To call it its things blowing out of proportion is an understatement to me). I’m neither proud nor ashamed of my menstruation. And for someone who till now has decided to remain child-free by choice, this “period blood=fertility (thus beautiful)” trope is “othering” me and folks on the same boat.
The taboo surrounding menstruation should be gutted: ✓
In order to do that, glorifying it and linking it to “motherhood”- thus continuing the cycle: ⤫
Banality 7: Menopause is invisible
The dead silence regarding menopause only proves that attractiveness, sexual freedom, the employability of older women is a joke.
Age. Bleed nothing. Fade.
Banality 8: Revering motherhood …
…while suppressing the punishments it entails.
In countless motivational stories about single moms building their lives up again from scratches. Celebrities flaunting baby bumps on magazine covers. Women in WA groups congratulating each other on Women’s Day ‘cause
giving births= strength of character/body/mind.
Ads showing a woman -holding a high-paying corporate job while dish out home-cooked foods to kids, smile benignly when the man-of-the-house offers help in kitchen and looking impeccable all along.
A long way to go before the-
- lack of support,
- raising eyebrows over career-moms without a battery of nannies,
- post-natal depression have become subject of a pop culture outlet.
It’s hard to write (while maintaining status quo) about women. This is a quagmire. And you don’t know where to end.
What do you think about the above points? Let me know in comments.