Bollywood plays a very significant role in portraying stereotypes. This is because, in India, Bollywood is considered not just an entertainment industry, but also an influencing platform which includes certain ramifications. Bollywood also represents the socio cultural norms which are perceived by many people as a daily life mediator which helps them in building relationships. When various modes of enquiry are induced, it can be seen that casual misogyny is portrayed in the form of sexual jokes and derogatory comments.
Regressive masculinity is a gender-based ideology of beliefs about what it means to be a man’.
These age old beliefs of being masculine give us the idea that men should be dominant, the single earning person in the family, having superior authority upon others, should have a perfect and masculine body and so on. Bollywood scenes where the hero’ tightly holds the heroine’s body or wrist when she doesn’t agree to or even when she tries to defend and free herself from his clutches, but the hero’ tries to make his advance or stalks the heroine.
All these acts have numerous romantic appeal instead they should be seen as nothing romantic but some unwanted physical harassment and violation of consent of the heroine. Such bold ways of sexual behavior are methods through which men choose to showcase their manhood, on screen.
Whereas, emotional weakness or breakdown in one’s character is seen to be dismissed by the male heroes which is generally made clear by the classic statement of all time : ‘mard ko dard nahi hota’ which when translated into English means that real men don’t feel pain.
Such instances indicate that to be a man’ is to be superior to others which lures one to think that such a status amongst men is truly possible or really exists. As far as these being manly’ rules are concerned, anyone seeing to move away from the existing norms are considered to be less manly’ who are subjected to various social forms of punishment like being looked down upon, publicly outcast etc. It is very disturbing to see these norms being practiced even in today’s modern world of global awareness and access to easier information which thereby call for the questioning of toxic masculinity and the established gender roles in the Bollywood industry.
Although it is true that everything revolves around the issue of pleasure, yet it is seen that the patriarchal response is very negligible for they make us forget the existence of mutual relationship between males and females. The very sole idea of identity’ is itself not permanent. It is a process of continuous change which constructs and reconstructs various modes of representation. Various melodramatic framework is drawn by the popular culture which leads to the formation of typical symbolic structures. Gender representation is at the heart of such structure where the figure of women is reduced to the level of patriarchal domination. But, on the other hand, men are never seen to be defined in relation to women. They are represented as someone very specific and universal in contrast to women who are considered as other’.
This presentation of women as the other’ or the lower sex is taken for granted in most social and political platforms. Therefore, due to such representations, Bollywood and other popular cinema keeps on portraying women as stereotypes who are only meant to be controlled by their male counterpart. Moreover, the stories of popular cinemas also revolve only around the men’ their conflicts, their dreams, aspirations, revenge, desires and of course their heroism. The women exist only as mere characters in relation to men either as mother, wife or lover. In this paper, I shall be discussing the three very controversial Bollywood films (Kabir Singh and Lipstick Under My Burkha and Dabangg 2) as to how they portray regressive masculinity.