Space showcasing South Asians and others as well as topics we face today!
25 July 2012
The Dostana Effect
We all have seen the comical movies like Dostana and Bol Bachchan. Movies where straight men act as stereotypical effeminate gay men. Although this may sell all the box office, it only raises more gay stereotypes that have been passed down for years. Stereotypes not only make assumptions about another without meeting them. But it can also fuel hate towards another group. Gay stereotypes in India ties greatly with gender roles; where gender is rigid in the desi community, and those who stray are deemed different and abnormal.
Many have the assumption especially in the south Asian community that "women or girls are suppose to play with dolls, cook or clean and that being gay automatically means relinquishing masculine stereotypes and opting feminine ones. Gays are necessary seen as effeminate, effete, and exotic" quirky Indian. Many still believe or follow the assumptions that all gaysi's want to wear safari's, or wear lots of makeup, or practically be a woman. However, does this make life easier, acting as though one is a hijra, does one get more respect. Even now some gaysi do come out of the closet and and caricature themselves and only fuel the gay stereotypes. Before the ruling of sec 377, many just stayed in the closet or came out and characterized themselves.
Now, lets go back to Bollywood and the Dostana effect. Though dostana and other movies like it have been success. I always wonder why
so many gay groups don't like it. Dostana was groundbreaking for being one of the first mainstream movie to have gay characters. I have to admit I have watched the movie several times and even in slow motion. As John Abraham arises from the water in is tiny swim trunks. Sigh. Actor Gulshan Graver makes a good point about Bollywood movies stating. "In India, we are not used to seeing gay characters in mainstream films, we tend to exaggerate their qualities"
What is the problem with movies like Dostana and Bol Bachchan. Aseem Chhabra of rediff.com points out. "Bol Bachchan maybe drawling large crowds, but vomits one of the biggest Bollywood crime, reinforcing gay stereotypes, that dostana popularized awhile ago." Like gay men are effeminate and sex starved who can not control their libidos. Although movies like dostana give you a giggle and don't portray gays as a whole and can sometime reinforce stereotypes. It also brings the gays to the dinner table. making more people talk about gays as a whole, and makes the coming out experience a little bit easier.
Although stereotypes can be insensitive and so far from the truth; they also can be helpful. Many who believe in such stereotypes have never met anyone that is gay. It can also raise awareness on he gay issue. Movies like Dostana, even though they are far from the truth also exposes people to be more accepting. We should comend artist that help break gay stereotypes even if it is a straight man playing a gay man. I believe that as the years progress and more positive gay men and women arpast; These stereotypes will be something of the past. Director Obit stated "I think with films the thought is what generates money. We don't think good, bad, or ugly. If we do this, then it will work better l, that is the thought process. We are the most racist, but we don't like if we go abroad and are treated badly."
Take a little moment and share what stereotypes either gay or racial that effect you. Lets start a conversation going. And check out this chart with battles gay stereotypes with data. Thanks for reading!