Shhh… It’s About A Woman’s Freedom

“What are you so afraid of?” (w.r.t. women’s freedom), asks a woman from the film, ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’. A friend stated that she disliked the movie as it dealt with women wanting nothing more than to satisfy their sexual needs. Although the plot generously made use of sex as a recurrent theme, in my opinion, it worked as a symbolic expression of freedom and emancipation of women from societal and patriarchal oppression. Sexual freedom is examined alongside with other freedoms for women such as freedom to be unapologetic, freedom to pursue a career, and freedom to dress how one wishes to.

The four women protagonists in the film do not get redemption and it ends abruptly with them bonding as friends. The issues they face is like a downward spiral. The mindsets of the people they have to deal with are not going to change overnight. A woman’s issue is no longer a personal issue. The plot clearly demonstrates that her personal life decisions affect others around her too. In addition, the issues concerning only a woman are not in her hands either, like it should be, but rests largely on men and other women.

I will not be surprised if a majority of men and women treat the film as porn, conveniently brushing aside any sort of discussion on women’s rights. In fact, if you type the name of the movie, YouTube search results first display “Lipstick Under my Burkha Hot”. Here is a screen grab to prove it.

A screen grab of YouTube search results for the movie

Uttering the word ‘sex’ itself is a taboo in many parts of the country, just like mentioning a woman’s period. A woman’s dressing or the clothes she wears have to go through a series of questioning. What is appropriate and what is not? She has to make a mental calculation of the kind of place she is going to, the kind of people she is going to run into and/or pass by and so on. Dressing up is the most natural phenomenon for a human being, but for a woman, it’s a chaotic mind game.

I would like to, one day, live in a reality where a woman in the house does not run for her dupatta/veil before opening the door to someone.