Sexism in Bollywood: Movie, Magic… Misogyny?


Sexism in Bollywood exists, there you go, I said it!

From ‘Basanti’ to ‘Sheila’ and right down to the time ‘Munni’ got badnaam, Bollywood has been less than kind to its women. From dehumanizing them, to objectifying them and to portraying them as nothing more than a pretty face, the female actors of Bollywood have always been placed on a mantle much lower than their male counterparts.

Over the years we have been witness to the increasing sexist culture in Bollywood, be it the scarcity of female centric films, substantial roles, the remuneration against their work or even just vanity vans, the men are always a notch higher and it certainly leaves us squirming.


While most women in the industry keep mum about these issues, some fearless ones have had enough of it and are now coming forward and speaking out their minds, without mincing their words. Kangana Ranaut, Anushka Sharma, Deepika Padukone, Sonakshi Sinha and Priyanka Chopra are amongst the few.

Firstly, the payment disparity between male and female actors is something that has drawn a lot of criticism and castigation in the recent past. Yesteryear actresses have agreed that there indeed was a huge difference in what they were paid as opposed to what their male counterparts were paid. This holds true even today, as not much has changed. The male lead and female lead are paid different amounts even though they both work equally hard.

According to Bollywood actor, Anushka Sharma, even female newcomers and male newcomers are paid differently!


Secondly, the standardized depiction of women in Bollywood movies is just gross to begin with. Unrealistic body image expectations that force them to go on unhealthy crash diets and inhumane work out regimes, only so that their bodies are used as USP’s for the film. They’re shamed for being too fat, too thin, too tall or too dark, basically, you just can win!

Sonakshi Sinha has been targeted about her weight since the time she first stepped into Bollywod, however, she isn’t one to take it lying down. “I am here to act and not be size zero,” Sinha had said in a recent interview. You go girl!

Thirdly, the objectification of women in the industry is absolutely appalling. It’s almost inevitable to find a skimpily clad woman gyrating suggestively to lewd and double meaning lyrics all in the name of ‘entertainment’. Misogyny is so deeply ingrained that people hardly find anything wrong in it and happily sing along to these songs like it doesn’t matter!

Media and paparazzi are also equally to blame in fostering these sexist views and practices. Headlines like “OMG!, Deepika Padukone’s cleavage show!” are a classic example of cheap, plagued and yellow journalism.

Fortunately, Deepika Padukone hit back fiercely with her tweet that said- “Yes, I’m a woman, I have breasts AND a cleavage, you gotta a problem?”

Whether it is making jokes at Alia Bhatt’s alleged dumbness (we don’t think so at all), or asking Kajol if she feels her ‘shelf life’ is over and telling Vidya Balan that she acted like a ‘hero’ instead of a heroine in the film Kahani, because apparently such powerful roles can only be played by men!

Bollywood really needs to get a hold of this and start treating it’s women right.

We love the movies, we love the songs, we love the actors, irrespective of their gender, but we absolutely hate this mindless sexism!

Shireen Azizi

Image Sources:

The Viewspaper