The global percentage of women in the human population, and in India, is close to 50 percent. However, if you look at our cinema, often thought to be a reflection of our society, you rarely get this impression. The Token Female TM, also referred to as The Smurfette Principle, is one of entertainment’s most common tropes. It is when a lone woman is included in an otherwise entirely male ensemble. It’s a trope quite common in Hollywood. If you exclude love interests and women villains, this Token Female is ubiquitous in action films, from The Avengers to Inception. This slowly gave way to the ‘Two Girls in the Team’ trope in which creators seem more ‘equal’. There’s representation, but the content is carefully tailored so as not to look like it’s just for women (An all-male cast though is considered perfectly unisex).
Ms. Representation: Our mothers need to be saved
“You know, had that been my bandaid, you would have asked me to shut up and fix it myself,” says Mare to her mother Helen, in the HBO series, Mare of Easttown (streaming on Disney Hotstar). “Oh, is that something you talk about in therapy?” Helen asks, with a small smile, before acknowledging that she had indeed used her daughter as a vent for her anger. “Your father wasn’t the man I thought he was, I couldn’t fix him. I was so angry, and I took that on you.” When Mare forgives her, Helen says, “Good, because I forgave myself long ago”, before breaking down into tears. And then comes the clincher. “You need to forgive yourself too, Mare… for Kevin. It is not your fault,” she says. (For context, Kevin is Mare’s drug-addict son, who dies of suicide.)
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