The other day a feminist friend almost convinced me that Feminism does not mean male-hatred. So, we decided to agree on disagreements and to go for a hardcore feminist movie Lipstick Under My Burkha.
This was the story of four women searching for their liberties, especially sexual liberties. If we saw this as a person’s sexual freedom, it looked good. The way the characters were struggling with conservative mindset is everybody’s story today. But then it was made women specific by painting wrong image of men. There were four female characters in the movie and all four were living dual lives as they were not allowed to live life of their own choices. But that raised a serious question, did men have same liberties?
Four women Shireen Aslam, Leela, Usha and Rehana lived in small locality in Bhopal city. Shireen lived with her three children and her husband Rahim Aslam lived in Dubai and visited her for few days to rape her and make her pregnant every time. Her neighbor Leela worked in a parlour and had a boyfriend Arshad but was all set to marry another man Manoj. Usha Buaji, a 55-year-old widow, was fond of reading erotic books hidden inside the religious books. The youngest one, Rehana Abidi was daughter of a tailor (Burkha) and had a dream of becoming a singer.
They all were struggling with their dual lives. Usha Bua alias Rosy had a fantasy of having sex with the young swimming instructor Jaspal – that was her lipistick wale sapne. She called Jaspal one night and had phone sex. He did not know that he was speaking with the old woman who he taught swimming. This was shown as acceptable as she had become a widow at a very young age.
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Ours being a conservative society, sex is a taboo for us. A single old man having similar desires, is often called a ‘Tharki’, ‘Potential Rapist’ etc. The people who praised Usha Bua’s character, won’t accept the same in males, despite ‘desire’ being gender neutral.
Shireen, a sales woman earnt well but her husband who believed in traditional gender roles, did not like his wife working for money. He wanted to provide for her needs. He was the one who raped his wife every night. To make it worse, he was also shown as having extra marital affair which Shireen confronted boldly.
This movie also showed marital rape. As a feminist PIL is pending in Delhi HC, a lot of movies are coming up showing marital rape – a tactic to train our brains that it is a widespread phenomenon in our homes, All Indian husbands are being shown to be raping their wives. The Marital Rape scenes filled our minds with disgust – he came home every night, took dinner, shouted on kids and raped his wife”. This was shown as if men were such emotionless creatures.
To make the audience believe, the movie showed Leela asking Shireen if her husband ever touched her lovingly.
While the movie showed men as rapists and sex-maniacs, women wanting more sex was shown as their ‘need’. Leela was only interested in Sex She earned well from her job and wanted to live an adventurous life. She cheated on her fiancée by keeping relationship with her boyfriend. She was bold enough to demand sex from her boyfriend and also took initiative in having sex with fiancée. Her fiancée instead wanted to first get married before sex.
While cheating of the husband was criticized in the movie, Leela’s cheating her boyfriend was shown as her sexual freedom. When Shireen’s (Konkana Sen Sharma) husband demanded sex, it became marital rape but when Leela demanded, it was her sexual freedom.
Rihana Abidi, the youngest among the four, wanted to be free from the Hijab and carried out her role well. Rihana was a college student and became a part of jeans ban protest. As a mark of rebel and freedom from Hijab, she tore her jeans. She was a shop-lifter from high-end stores, too. The movie tried to justify the act as well and that was no surprise as feminists are all masquerading thieves.
The movie ended in a note, ‘Forget the world and live life on your own terms’. But does one’s freedom of choices mean, living an uncontrolled life? We all have restrictions in our lives and feminists seemed to be encouraging breaking laws as usual.
This film tried to project men as emotionless creatures who only saw women as sex objects. The film tried to project men as predators while women wanting more sex, as freedom. This one way projection showed how a new legislation on marital rape is going to take away all sexual freedom from men. Men are already shown as rapists here keeping in mind the pending Marital Rape PIL.
This movie showed a strong woman as sexually explicit, drunkard and a smoker, they hated males, spread sexism and were shop-lifters. This movie thus not only painted a negative picture of Indian men, it also demonizes women. This however, did not come as a surprise as we knew feminists as a bunch of criminals. They also justified crime in the movie.
The movie wanted us to believe that every man forced their wives for sex like Shireen’s husband did. Women were projected as so weak that they couldn’t even resist unwanted sex when they were bold enough to buy condoms from a shop.
The movie Lipstick under my Burkha is a desperate feminist attempt to make sex scarce for men. Make men scared to be happy in a marriage in the name of marital rape, or to trap him in a rape case outside marriage, while women go on raping men in various ways. In short, this is what the world is going to be if Marital Rape PIL is passed.
By Jyoti Tiwari