Representation of Women in Cinema

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Representation of Woman in Cinema The identity of a person is fluid and constituted by ideologies stemming from many apparatuses. One such apparatus is cinema. Ideologies emanating from it subsume us consciously or unconsciously. This assignment will foreground the role of cinema in the construction of female, feminine and feminist. Since the start of cinema in 1896, the roles men and women play in films have been subjected to a continuous evaluation, largely due to their widely acknowledged and felt influence on our modes of living. The stereotypical representation of women has been displayed in cinema for many decades. The representation, either it is through cinema or through texts, takes into account a wide variety of cultural phenomena, philosophical perspectives, and ideological apparatuses which try to chain the identity of a particular person in fetters. Griselda Pollock argues that we should not remain content only with the cultural representations of gender as images of women. She rejects the imagery of gender and cultural stereotyping because it fails to explain the failure of inversion or reversal of accepted imagery. This is not only because the representation of women is linked to a broader chain, or system, of signification. It also occurs because representation is linked to a historically constituted reality. To put it simply, we can understand why female models ought to be more persuasive to male customers than vice versa only if we take into account, a prior commodification of a woman’s body. In the era of 1970’s and 80’s as it has continued since the start of cinema, the roles of women in the Indian films were serving basically to men’s desires. By supporting this argument Lopa Bhattarchya says in her essay “The Changing Face of Women in Indian Cinema” that the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s witnessed a severe decadence in the portrayal of the heroine in mainstream Indian cinema. Further, she argues that it was then that the female protagonist was reduced to heroine, connoting the image of mere glamour-dolls, dancing around trees with heroes and performing cabaret numbers. This way, she was projected as a show-piece or in other words, as a feel good touch to the film, rather than being a flesh and blood human being in her own right. Rarely will a person deny that the Bollywood filmdom has been essentially male-centric, leaving little space for the female counterparts to evolve and grow as versatile performers. The roles they played were mostly of the Sati savitri mould, lacking variety and depth of female psyche. The politics behind the appropriation of representation is to form a fix identity of women but in the defense of it critics argue that by portraying a person in his /her conventional image or a group of people with identifiable characteristics, filmmakers present the characters with which viewers can easily recognize and relate to. Critics argue that film mirrors the society and its values but the major concern here is that it not only portrays but also determines and supports certain value systems at the cost of excluding certain others. Through the films an artist shows attitudes and behaviours of a person and thereby configures a way of living that is considered ideal. The representation of woman with her feminity is a very tragic thing. A girl child follows the order of her father or elder brother and after getting married she follows the order of her husband, such role is romanticized and idealized in a way that occupies the mind of most of the people and forces a girl child to follow those things willingly or unwillingly which hardly matters. When a female character does not conform to the imposed identity of an ideal woman, she is portrayed as an evil-spirit. Masculinity is portrayed as natural and given despite various social...
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