When will our Sex Negativity and Hypocrisy end?

While watching the film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, one thing I genuinely appreciated it for was the portrayal of marital rape. The scene is where Milkha Singh’s sister (played by Divya Dutta) is raped by her husband. Not just the fact that it showed something that most mainstream films refuse to address, but the way how it is portrayed as well was commendable. Her husband is shown as otherwise “well mannered bloke” – not the evil mythical rapist that waits women in the dark alleys during nights (which is ignored by most people as rape is often committed by perpetrators who are close to the victim). Anyways, IHM has a blog post here with some good comments, which I would recommend reading.

Now back to the post. When I was casually browsing through one of the frequently visited film review blogs, I saw this comment over there:

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So apparently, the guy thinks it was a “sex scene” between her and her husband and showing it would “uncomfortable” to kids. Now I’m not blaming the guy, because he’s not the problem, he’s just the symptom of it. I have lost count of people who fail to understand the concept of marital rape and how wives can still be raped by their husbands.  I won’t get into the territory of movies where rapist marries the victim and it all gets fair and square in the end. Lumping any discussion regarding sex as vulgar is pretty convenient. But what is okay though, is the terrible objectification of women that’s being passed on as item song (the name says it all – where woman is considered an “item“), which has no relevance to the story, but mandatory to most movies these days. Promoting the worldview of woman being just a piece of flesh is perfectly fine, but oh no, god forbid let anyone see any healthy and extremely relevant portrayal of a heinous act on screen. This is not just limited to movies. People are perfectly fine with slut shaming women, but healthy discussion of sex or rape is not necessary at all. That’s all a given, as we are all enlightened beings already. There is no need for any “vulgar” discussions like that. That would be against our great culture and what not. Never go near the issues of misogyny, rape culture etc.

What we can do though, is get morally outraged when rapes are rampant and demand him to be hung or to be castrated. Our one sized solution for all problems. Why bother with all the hard part of having addressing the underlying problems at all?  Right fellas?

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10 responses to “When will our Sex Negativity and Hypocrisy end?

  1. A similar opinion is shared by quite a few of the people whom I discussed the movie with. They think that the australia scenes, and more importantly the marital rape scene doesn’t make it a ‘U’ or general public movie and that it is not kid friendly.

    However they have no issues taking kids to other movies where many other damnable things are shown.

    I think what makes people tick is that when asked about this scene, they don’t want to discuss it. Since the scene clearly shows it in negative context, and quite a few people don’t view marital rape as rape, it would put them in a tough spot to explain.

    Came here via IHM

    • Quite. I won’t be surprised if quite a few people would regard this as rough sex. Which brings us back to sex negativity, people are never comfortable discussing anything about sex, let alone rape.

      And ironically enough, I have seen movies where woman is slapped for being a bitch or some such reasons, and most people seem to have no issue with their kids watching it. Fairly less common in current movies I think, thankfully.

  2. Great post. It’s always striking to watch old bollywood movies when they could only show two flowers touching suggestively as consensual intimacy so taboo, but rape scenes were liberally thrown in for titilation. Sad really.

    • Precisely. The rape scenes were almost mandatory, and these scenes were trivially thrown in to titillate male audiences to the extent that it trivialized rape. Reminds me of this (awful) tamil film called Manmathan (the “hero” kills cheating sluts in the movie, by the way) where the actor jokes about how “super” the rape scene was. And sadly that’s the effect these ridiculously bad portrayal of rape has had on many.

  3. The hypocrisy of our society essentially means that everyone wants to consume sex as voyeurs, without actually having to face up to the reality of their baser desires. Hence, what the rape scenes of the past decade in movies were, the item songs are today. Borderline pornography, that can be enjoyed by the whole family, kids included!

  4. A lot of people who saw the movie had complaints with these two scenes and yet they had no problem with Dirty Picture or that piece of crap Jism 2. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with these scenes, because like eating or drinking, sex is another activity that human take part in, nothing wrong. In my opinion, it was needed for the development of Milkha, no matter what the people say.

  5. I feel that Indian movies should have some compartmentalisation while taking movies. I still remember having seen a movie in the Indian remake of english movie the ‘Baby’s day out’, where the hero has an item number. When hollywood says movies for kids, they know they should not include violence or gender issue scenes. But in the garb of masala movies, our movies are churning out item numbers and say that it is the audience’s favourite choice….(who said so?). Are Indian movies catering to cheap audience, to whose whims and fancies they may show such scenes in the movies. I do not believe the majority are craving for such scenes.

  6. A late reply to this post. I, too, felt disturbed by the scene, but not because it made me uncomfortable, but because it made me sad for the sister – though she was running away to be a refugee in India, she had no escape from her everyday torture. The boy Milkha’s angry rebellion is understandable after the incident.

    By the way, for some reason, this reminded me of something related. Mere Baap Pehle Aap was a remake of the Malayalam movie Ishtam. I don’t understand much Malayalam but happened to watch the Malayalam version first. There is a female role with negative shades, the hero’s brother’s wife. She criticizes the hero harshly for wanting to re-marry when he’s too old. Her husband, hero’s brother slaps her. In the Malayalam version, the hero tells off his brother strictly for hitting a woman, brother is ashamed, and some women step in, console the sister-in-law and take her away gently. In the Hindi version, the hero is upset but when he’s about to say something to his brother, his son stops him and holds him back. Brother is unashamed. Sister-in-law runs away in tears.

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