In East Asian and South Asian dramas especially harassment and abusive behaviour are shown synonymous with being romantic. Deep trauma in the male leads life is justified by the media’s method of representation which formalises the perpetrator as a deeply troubled individual with a dark past who is then separated from the general public, thereby politically blocking discussions on power relations and male-centred sex culture, which are the root causes of sexual violence, and pathological deviants. It creates scenarios that boil down to individual problems. As a result, there is a concern that the reality of various sexual and domestic violence may not be reflected and the reality of violence may be made invisible.
This trope is detrimental as it solidifies gender stereotypes of how a man and woman should behave while being in a relationship. Intimate Partner Violence is not equivalent to love. Movies that make it seem like the woman can change or heal a man by justifying emotional and physical abuse on grounds of romance ingrain these harmful ideals of what an individual should put up with. In real life, women often lose their lives in such situations. Similarly, jealousy being shown as cute must not be glorified. Relationships that are composed of this behaviour are toxic and can be life-threatening if not walked out of. They cannot be changed or improved by brushing it off as passion and concern.
Not only in movies, even in entertainment programs such as talk shows and daily tv soaps, women are also treated as objects of eye candy, and some are sexually objectified. Although women feel threatened in reality, there are often scenes in dramas where the male protagonist’s coolness is emphasised or used as a romantic device. The scene where a man grabs a woman’s arm has already established itself like a cliché, and so is a forced kiss. The horror that female characters face in the drama and the scene of violence should not be used as a romantic scene. In the scene itself, female characters should say that it is fear or violence and reject it. instead, these movies result in an unrealistic happy ending. The problem is that in dramas, female characters are often depicted as victims of sexual crimes such as rape and are often used as devices for dramatic conflict, but not many are properly referred to as violence. This lack of accountability and promotion of unhealthy narratives should be condemned.
Another toxic idea that has shaped the idea of masculine emotions is that men do not cry and that crying is for women only. This toxic and hegemonic masculinity is responsible for excluding men from expressing emotions and restricts them from accepting their emotions. The media has played a continuous role in promoting this destructive idea of masculinity being built on repressing emotions. Countless movies have fostered the outlook by projecting men as adhering to masculine ideals and any questioning to that is met with aggression which is further fuelled by the need to display their machoness.
This idea that men have to be strong at all times and refuse to feel human emotions is fostered in them from childhood, which leads to unstable emotional connections and refusal to seek help in later years. The Alpha male trope is highly damaging and the media propagation adds to the existing problem. To be a real man does not require men to be emotionally distant, human emotions are universal and both men and women feel sad or upset from time to time. If movies start undertaking the initiative to promote the ideals that a healthy release of emotions is normal and has nothing to do with being a man, that could be a starting point for encouragement to open expression of repressed emotions.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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