What does ‘being girly’ mean to you? The colour pink might pop up. You also think candy and candy floss? Or perhaps prancing sensuously in satin clothes with matching ribbons in the hair? Pillow fights, sure. Voices in shrill pitches with generous amounts of giggling? Lots of mascara-lined eye batting too, maybe. At least this is what men believe ‘girly’ to mean. What does the term actually mean though? It is holding your keys like you would a weapon. It is sharing your live location when you come home late. It is having your bag in front of you, so you don’t get groped. It is taking a longer route because it is safer. It is mapping exit routes, as soon as you enter a place.
The male gaze has been criticised in several films, but it’s perhaps never been as weaponised as in Promising Young Woman that got released recently in India. Cassie (a terrific Carrey Mulligan) is a med-school dropout who works at a coffee shop. Once a week, she dresses up and pretends to be too drunk to stand at a bar, waiting for a ‘nice man’ to help her. This ‘help’ usually means that he is going to exploit her state. Unless…
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