Gender, Sexuality, Society, Equality

Society often dictates what is acceptable and what is the “norm”. And sometimes the larger collective isn’t always right and people get abused and taken advantage of because of it. With Bhumika we see Usha earning a living as an actress and in her caste she is typically not allowed to marry but she does anyways. This represents difficulties for Keshav but I argue that it represents issues for a lot of men. I know that in today’s age we tend to think of ourselves as more knowledgeable and therefore more understanding but I do think it’s an inherent thing for some men to feel emasculated when their spouse makes more money than they do (whether it’s a heterosexual relationship or not). I just feel that it’s in men’s nature to desire to feel this way. However, where some men differ with this is how they react to it. Obviously we see Keshav’s reaction to Usha’s behavior throughout the movie and meet it with disgust.

In the article I thought it was interesting that the author talked about what exactly the movie seemed to be about.

“Sexual difference and female subjectivity are the pillars around which Benegal situates his analysis of women’s subjugation. He moves from an exploration of the self to an exploration of subjectivity. The relationship between self and society seems to get deliberately subverted and here lies his failure to comprehend the complexities and the essence of women’s problems and see only the phenomenal level of what appears to be the issue at stake.”

Ranjani Mazumdar

I do feel that it was a hypocritical thing of Keshav to do where he suggests that Usha use her sexuality in order to make more money yet by the end of the movie he becomes violent and jealous of her relationship with Vinayak. I don’t really know how to explain this. I would like to think that this was/is just a director’s representation of what things COULD look like yet I know better than to think that this doesn’t happen even today.

The one thing that I found interesting too was the idea of non-marriage for people of this acting/musician caste. I feel confused honestly at how I should feel about all this because one hand I see how women can be treated yet at the same time I feel it’s a culture that has been in place for some time and who am I to decide what another country should or shouldn’t do? I know that here in the United States we wouldn’t feel like an actress or artist of some sort shouldn’t get married but in other places perhaps they do. As you can see, I’m conflicted. I try and see both sides of the argument yet both sides make no sense but at the same time make complete sense.

With these movies coming out such a long time ago I wonder how things are in India today in regards to these issues of women’s rights and how they are treated in and out of the home. While looking at various articles I came across an article written by the BBC called “How India treats its women” and this article talks about the alarming number of rape cases going across the entire country. At one point in the article it says that there are six various politicians who had rape charges against them at the time of this article (December of 2012). The most surprising thing to me about all of the numbers and stories was that India at this time had a large number of women in positions of power.

“This in the country where the leader of the ruling party, the speaker of the lower house of parliament, at least three chief ministers, and a number of sports and business icons are women.”

Soutik Biswas

And again I feel like I don’t know how exactly to feel about all of this. I feel so appalled that these numbers are so extremely high. I will post a link to the article from BBC and if you read it you will see for yourself that the numbers are astounding. I guess this changes a lot. How can it be that women have positions of power yet women are still mistreated? For me it all comes back to the beginning of my post and societal norms and the views of caste in the Indian culture. Perhaps it’s a system that feels that some people aren’t worth the trouble. I don’t know exactly how it would be said or felt but that’s just how it comes across to me. At the bottom of this page I’m going to post the numbers from the BBC article and the link to it if anyone wants to read it. It was written in 2012 and I hope that things have gotten better for women in India but I’m not 100% sure if that’s the case.

This Is A Link To The BBC Article If You’d Like To Read It
All of the following is from the article from BBC:

With more than 24,000 reported cases in 2011, rape registered a 9.2% rise over the previous year. More than half (54.7%) of the victims were aged between 18 and 30. Most disturbingly, according to police records, their victims in more than 94% of the cases knew the offenders. Neighbors accounted for a third of the offenders, while parents and other relatives were also involved. Delhi accounted for over 17% of the total number of rape cases in the country.

And it is not rape alone. Police records from 2011 show kidnappings and abductions of women were up 19.4%, women being killed in disputes over dowry payments by 2.7%, torture by 5.4%, molestation by 5.8% and trafficking by an alarming 122% over the previous year.

Deaths from fire-related incidents, they say, are a major cause – fires in India kill each year more than 100,000 women. The researchers say many cases could be linked to demands over a dowry leading to women being set on fire. Research also found a large number of women died of heart diseases.



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