“There is no hope for that family or country where there is no estimation of women, where they live in sadness. For this reason, they have to be raised first.”
– Swami Vivekananda
Regardless of what some 40-something year old man’s whatsapp forward says about how women eat men alive for merely just existing and passing it off as an unfunny joke, on the 8th of March, everybody magically falls in love with the magnificence of being a woman. March is the month of Women’s History and we’ve seen women from age old eras fighting for the rights that we have right now, but our fight isn’t over yet, so get your battle axe swinging, warrior!
If you’re in on the ropes of social media, you might’ve seen various people post a picture with their palm facing front, with the hashtag #ChoosetoChallenge, which is the theme of the 2021 International Women’s Day, calling on us all to think critically about our own thoughts and actions and how we can better promote gender equality and celebrate women’s achievements. Purple, green and white are the colors of International Women’s Day. Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolizes hope. White represents purity. Ours is a society in which male dominance often (mostly, always) dictates the norms and with the passing time, there has been a rise in how many women we see upfront.
This is the 21st century and it’s no lie that we’re all heavily influenced by technology and most importantly, media. Media represents everything we are and everything we ever will be, from this point on. How many women does one see on the TV everyday and feel a gush of inspiration pass through their veins? We are living in that phase of the future, where women’s voices are being recognized, and heard only because of the tireless and continued efforts of Feminist, and Humanitarian activism.
Women are under-represented in media, from animated characters to female centric films, there’s only quite a handful, where they’re portrayed as forces of power and not just objects of seduction and the worst part is when they’re placed in a position of power while having to use their looks for something they can easily achieve with their brains. Fortunately, changing times also call for a revised consumption of media.
The Y2k kids, who have grown up seeing every different version of an “animal”-man, ironman, Captain America are now seeing Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Black Widow, and the inner child in me did a whole lot of back flips! There’s so many terrific female directors like Olivia Wilde, Alice Winocour, Anne Fletcher, Barbara Streisand and so many more, making female centric films and tackling the problem of under-representation of women in media. Fighting this problem begins with wiping away the wrongful portrayal of women as a love interest to men or a side character that the man can blame whenever things don’t go his way.
For a country that puts its women up on a pedestal as the highest form of Shakti [Power], the reality used to be that they were found as helpless, without any identity except that of a wife, or the mother who has very little voice in decision making and has very little by way of her own basic choice. Women have suffered for eons, and that has given her infinite patience and infinite perseverance. The ever-growing whirlpool of transition from tradition to modernity, it all comes down to the attainment of equilibrium, though woman’s existence is still reduced to a hard, never-ending battle for survival. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but us, women have quite established ourselves in every arena possible.
Media has an important role to play: to create awakening in women to achieve their potential as the prime movers of change in society. In today’s world, print and electronic media play a vital role in effectively conveying messages that need to be conveyed. The main question arises whether it’s the portrayal of women “by the media” or “in the media”. While the more the merrier is a very easy solution, empowerment also comes from women standing together and laying out a united front. This year’s theme, ‘Choosing to Challenge,’ does rightly that. The upsurge of female content creators is commendable. What will proper representation of women in media get us, might you ask? Somewhere, there’s a little girl watching Captain Marvel stop an entire planet with her bare hands, though she knows she couldn’t probably hold off a planet, she sure knows that nobody owns her, and that’s how she takes biiiig strides and gets ready to take over her world!
So this women’s day, embrace the strength you exude. You are the fiercest of them all! Sit back, and enjoy these excellent films!
Whale Rider (2002)
Little Women (2019)
Disney’s Moana (2016)
Here’s to strong women: May we know them. May we be them! May we raise them! Happy Women’s Day!!