How many of us have actually questioned the morality behind the films that we watch, the ones that were supposedly made to entertain us with the characters' supposedly light-hearted antics?

Most would argue that it shouldn't matter as it's done to entertain the audience and shouldn't be judged harshly, but doesn't life imitate art sometimes?

Most of the so-called harmless antics are done by men and it's the women who are at the receiving end of them. The behaviours are then downplayed as 'boys being boys', when in real life, those exact actions would be branded as sexist and as sexual harassment.

Let's take a look at some of the scenarios shown on film that actually negatively affect women in real life.

1. Taking a peek at a naked or half-naked woman

When the hero is shown being a peeping Tom, looking at his love interest or a woman in a state of undress without her consent, it is intended to be the comedic or, even worse, the romantic part of a film.

An example of this terrible invasion of privacy is shown in Simbu's film, "Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangathavan", where he tries to take a peek at the heroine, Shriya Saran, while she undresses.

Watching women bathing is also a pretty popular scene and is supposed to be 'funny'. The first Malayalam film to enter the Rs 100 crore (RM 60 million) club, "Pulimurugan", had recurring scenes with Suraj Venjaramoodu trying to look into women's bathrooms to capture the "kuli scene". Suraj does not even play the villain in the film, it is supposed to be an example of "boys will be boys."

In real life, this is a massive invasion of privacy and many women who have found themselves in the same situation are left traumatised and feeling unsafe. The more unlucky ones find themselves blackmailed because they were captured on film.

2. Stalking

The idea behind the stalking is that the woman isn't given a choice in rejecting the man - her feelings and thoughts do not matter at all. The man is shown following the woman around relentlessly till she says 'yes' and this is supposed to be 'romantic' because he loves her and that is all that matters.

Several films, from "Mouna Raagam", "Arjun Reddy" and "Mr Local" have repeatedly glorified stalking as conquering a woman's heart which she will eventually come to appreciate.

This is not considered as 'romantic' by most women in real life and is, in fact, a nuisance and a waste of their time and energy trying to reject the clueless man. From threatening them and their families, to creating a scene at their workplace and thereby endangering their jobs, stalkers in real life have made life miserable for women. Many women have even been murdered because the spurned men could not handle the rejection.

In films, what is shown is only the man's point of view, his love sick emotions, making the viewers sympathise and root for him. What is rarely shown is the female's point of view and how she actually feels about him and how his actions affects her.

3. Impersonation

Tricking a woman into falling in love should not be seen as an option. In "Minnale", Madhavan's character pretends to be the man that the heroine is supposed to meet for a possible match, arranged by her family. From cutting the phone line in her house to actively lying about his real identity, this hero goes to great lengths to win her heart – and all because he saw her dancing in the rain.

In real life, we have heard of love rats, men who engage in multiple relationships with women by adopting different identities. They would court and engage in sexual relationships with the women with the promise of marriage in the near future which never happens, leaving the women broken and bitter, some for life. Do you honestly want that as part of your karma?

4. Wife-beating

A man is shown to have a right to beat his wife because she was supposedly out of line and should be put in her place immediately and effectively.

The woman is shown to be 'appreciative' of the beating or slapping and sees it as a sign of love. Her submission to her partner is a sign that she accepts his behaviour and that she has reformed to please him. Kovai Sarala, for instance, has played several such roles as the male comedian's wife who gets slapped around.

Domestic violence is a crime in many countries but surveys done in India worryingly show that a majority of the population still believes that a husband hitting his wife is not wrong. Domestic violence covers a wide range of abuse, from emotional blackmailing to physical violence and even murder.

On screen, we've rarely seen domestic violence committed by the hero as a crime. And even when it is, like in "Kaatru Veliyidai", they eventually reconcile.

Of course, in real life too, women often go back to their abusive spouses but in cinema, the abusive spouse also receives a sympathetic narrative which makes up for his past behaviour and justifies everything as "love".

Source: The News Minute
Photo source: The News Minute