Rise of Strong Women: A Psychological Reflection in Select Bollywood Movies

Rise of Strong Women: A Psychological Reflection in Select Bollywood Movies

Rajalakshmi Ananda Kumar (Amrita School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, India) and Sowndaram C. S. Ravi (Amrita School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3511-0.ch010


A living being enters this world in a tabula rasa state (i.e., a clear mind without any information). It is the society that fills human nature with information, which later turns into behaviour, pattern, personality, habit, values, culture. This concept portrays in Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory. This theory explains how the environment is affecting a person's development, which is of five levels. Can the environment show discrimination in the process of information filling? This question is answered by the Thomson Reuters Foundation survey, which showed India as the most unsafe place for women. How India has surpassed all other countries in this genre is shown in Bollywood films. Matrubhoomi, Padmaavat, Bandit Queen, Begum Jaan, and the like have depicted various forms of violence and injustice committed against women. We cannot ignore the fact that many films listed above are real history. This chapter critically reflects women's state in Bollywood films by using Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory.
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Homo Sapien’ is the word that differentiates us from all the other species on the earth. Human beings have many movements like Earthlings to show the after-effects of speciesism. All species are a part of nature. All humans or non-humans have the right to share space on the earth and enjoy Mother Nature's resources. Charles Darwin's concept of 'survival of the fittest' is popular because of its clarity in understanding the truth of nature. Mighty dinosaurs and mammoths that we see in Hollywood films lost their space on the earth. Homo sapiens were the only species who sustained on the planet earth by controlling nature.

To ensure the continued survival of our species, we created society. Family is the basic unit of society. From family, we developed the nation further into having different communities like schools, colleges and workplaces. The effect of the interaction and participation of the various systems of the society in nurturing a mind is undeniable. Here, we have to take into consideration the question, what would be the state of mind produced by a corrupted system? The answer to this question is that all the thoughts thus trained are corrupt. Ironically, that is the truth. The objective of this chapter is not only to show the corruption of the mind but also to focus on the possibilities of changing an unhealthy account into a healthy one.

Famous psychologists like Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Carl Jung, Eric Berne or famous philosophers like Osho, Eckhart Tolle, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and J.Krishnamurthi have all established that human beings are capable of reaching heights that are higher than the mind. They believe in creating true potential or in becoming one with the Supreme Power. However, before going into all this, the focus has to be on how we are treating an integral part of homo species – Women treated. Nature or nurture (Society), the role of a woman is profound. We accept and encourage that and also silently turn our face away from the harassment that is happening against women. We are indeed capable of attaining the real potential/becoming one with supreme power. But for that to become a possibility, we have to stop throwing fire and acid at our species. The levels of loosening of the unconscious inhibitions of the human mind that we see in the present have never recorded in all of human history. Nirbhaya’s gang rape and the Pollachi case have shocked us to the core. What is troubling is the knowledge that these are not going to be the last of it.

Women aren't mere objects to quench man's libido. Women also follow the living beings with needs, desires, goals and aspirations of their own. In the year 2020, being a woman is not an easy job. The government continually broadcast information about various 181 toll-free numbers. Google’s Play Store offers many apps for the safety of women, YouTube, WhatsApp and Facebook have all resorted to displaying safety tips, the importance of pepper sprays and other self-defence mechanisms. Even the existence of all these safety measures does not leave a woman safe and comfortable. A highlight is a survey conducted by the Thomas Reuters Company, whose results openly proclaimed India to be the World's most dangerous country for women. The fact that we deny them the opportunity of being happy and peaceful just because of their gender is unacceptable.

Gender is an ever-changing social construct, depending on the culture and on the social system that is prevalent in a given period. The word ‘gender’ denotes more of the social and cultural differences between males and females than actual physiological differences; it implies role-related behaviour. Gender representation is prevalent in all sectors of society. Sadly, gender representation has morphed into gender discrimination against women. Digital media broadcasts associate men with alcohol, vehicles, shaving creams while associating women with cosmetic products and home appliances (Popaa & Gavriliu, 2015). The textbook of classes 1 to 5 of Sindh (A state of Pakistan), shows patriarchal orientation. The pictures and texts in these books imply that women are lower in status and that they cannot function properly without the supervision of men, especially in public places (Agha, Syed, and Mirani, 2018). These media broadcasts will create more prejudices and will lead to more gender discrimination.

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