When We Depart

Within the space between me and you,

Only our words survive 

So I can tell my friends what you did wrong

And you can tell yours.

We can spill the secrets like dirt

Place bets to split the blame 

Because what proof is there of 

Love dissolving into thin air? 

What proof is there of two people 

Looking ahead,

Instead of looking at each other? 

When we divide,

We will create a mess.

So that after we’ve already decided which friends

You get to keep and which ones 

I get to keep,

You will find a single strand of hair 

In the pocket of some old jacket.

You might wonder if we split like amoeba, 

Retaining each other within ourselves 

Losing bits and pieces 

Here and there.

That maybe the resentment you will then have for me, 

Was my own creation.

I simply forgot to take it back from you. 

Advertisements

Dangal (2016)

Most Aamir Khan movies have one thing in common; his own character is a somewhat stoic, heroic and most importantly, a benevolent man who more or less does the morally right thing most of the time and this becomes the godliness in his being. This syndrome of certain male actors as being cast the supreme ‘hero’ of the film is not limited to Aamir Khan alone but seeps in in movies by Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, and Akshay Kumar. Movies that come to mind where there are elements of such a phenomenon taking place is Airlift, Taare Zameen Par, Chak De India, 3 idiots, Dabangg, Fan, PK, and Talaash. Dangal was also a movie like that.

dangal_poster

The authenticity of the movie has to be appreciated at the onset itself. The village in Haryana, the language, the life of the Phogats, and the reactions of the villagers when Daya fails to give birth to a son, all set up the film quite well. I especially loved the performance by the two child actors who played Gita and Babita (Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar respectively) which made the movie a very enjoyable experience. The music was easy on the ears, complementing the movie quite well.

After Chak De India, this seemed like the next easily digestible movie about gender (after the failure that had been Mary Kom), and it made me excited to be standing in solidarity with women who make it through the patriarchal world of sports. All through the movie, I was thinking about how much courage, perseverance and hard work would it have taken both Gita and Babita Phogat to make it into wrestling, a sport that has more connotations about gender than most other games. Unlike the movie MS Dhoni, this movie was even about the sport; with many wrestling matches being shown almost in its entirety. The moves, the techniques, and the way to play the sport was explicitly explained, which made a person averse to sports (like me) enjoy it quite a bit.

As a feminist, the first half of the film kept my adrenaline high. It was wonderful to see a woman wrestle her way to the top steadily, and I kept rooting for her during her matches against the men of the dangal. However, the fact was that the main character of the movie was definitely Mahavir Phogat, and not Gita or Babita Phogat. They were important characters, definitely, but they were secondary. We see the world through Mahavir’s eyes; we start with his story, his dreams, his aspirations, and his insistence on having his daughters achieve his dream of getting a medal for the country. When Gita is supposed to enter the dangal as a participant, the confrontation about her gender is performed by Mahavir himself. The most that the women are shown to face in terms of what they are choosing to do, is the rampant bullying at school, which they are not able to overcome anyway. It is Mahavir who takes the charge on defying gender roles; by FORCING his daughters to wrestle when they clearly have no interest in it, and maybe not just because they are women. We feel the sadness in the music and the overall mood of the film when Gita leaves the training of his father, and goes to the NSA. It is not an upbeat, cheery moment; but the withdrawal of a father’s influence from his daughter’s life.  It is Mahavir, a looming patriarch, leading the charge on changing how women are perceived in the society. There is nothing inherently wrong with this either; in a patriarchal society, it is important for the dominant gender to take charge to make life better for the rest of the society, and that is exactly what happens in the film. The bigger dream, however, was to win a gold medal for India, and that sense of nationalism is heavier during the latter part of the film (especially with the National Anthem in the middle of the film).

Although, in a way, the film takes a moral high-ground when Gita’s friend tells her that at least their father was treating them as his children, and not marrying them off as soon as they turned 14. It is not like there are only two options a father has when it comes to daughters; either marry them off at 14, or force them to undergo extremely rigorous training to become national wrestlers.

I would also like to draw attention to the double-standards of society in making fun of boys being beat up. When Gita and Babita beat up the two boys for calling them names, it is a comedic moment. When their mother chides them because they got beat up by two girls, most people in the audience laughed. There are several jokes about men not being ‘manly’ enough, which evoked several cringes from me during the movie. The upliftment of women does not necessarily have to bring insults and accusations of ‘femininity’ towards men; that way, there is no battle being won.

Personally, however, I would have loved to see a more focussed picture of what it was like to be Gita Phogat. What was she feeling when she had to step into a dangal for the first time, wrestle with men, being gawked at by men? Was she as confident as she looked in those scenes? This is a dangal where no woman has ever set foot in before. The first woman at a place like that must have something unique to share, an experience that I would have loved to see on screen. If nothing else, it has evoked in me a sense of curiosity about Phogat herself, and her struggles to become a female wrestler, coming from a small village in Haryana. Phogat herself admitted that 99% of the film is truly inspired from her own life and very accurate. However, glimpses into the minds of the women was more expressively done in Chak De India where you see a player’s tiff with her partner, with her parents, her in-laws and society. Maybe it just wasn’t possible with a film like Dangal, but at the end of the film, I was left asking for more.

The pressure that the girls faced in terms of how forceful their father was in training them was only natural. Any sport would require a lot of practice, even when the player themselves was not prepared for it. That is why sportspersons have coaches, to push them harder and to bring them to their full potential. I suppose that would have been the case regardless of the gender of the children of Mahavir Phogat. He is just as tough with Gita and Babita’s cousin, the narrator of the story, if not less, and in that way, Mahavir truly brings his own daughters at an equal standing.

Overall, Dangal is definitely a film that was worth the wait. It is a heart-warming story of how a man and his daughters, defy all expectations of society and set out to do what no one has hoped for (which the commentator during the matches mentions several times, quite rudely, if you ask me). Is it a better movie than Chak De India, a movie that set the standard quite high for all sports and gender related movies? Definitely not.

Thievery

I start by saying that when I was in 2nd grade, I stole an eraser from my best friend because its dust was bizarre and nothing like what I had seen before. It was a deliberate attempt and owning something that I knew I would never own had I not taken that chance. I was not guilty, and I feel no sudden pang of regret at doing it, even though I knew that in principle, I had performed an act that I should have been ashamed of. I stole stationery lots of times, funnily shaped erasers and monster pencils. None have been regretted. The pleasure I would derive from that particular product, just to look at it and understand that I had something that was unique, overshot the realization of it being a wrong act.

Today, I had to pay all that stationery back.

Long story short, I was stolen from. And no, I do not mean it in the philosophical or emotional sense; I mean that someone went into my bag, gently slid out my wallet, opened it, and managed to take the money that I had very recently acquired from my parents. It was a job neatly done in the RC property counter, a place where a lot of people carelessly leave their wallets and other belongings even though there is a warning that screams out not to. In a scenario that something of this sort does happen, the authorities are helpless because well, the students have to be careful. I should have been careful.

This is not the first time something of this kind has happened to me. I have been stolen of items worth more than the money this has costed me, and that was quite hurtful, because a phone has a more intimate a value than money (and it was obviously more in amount). But this was different. This was in a place I have mistakenly called home many times, much to my mother’s dismay.

After a year of sloppiness, I was finally punished for being too trusting of the same people that I shared classrooms, professors, notes, films and books with. After crying enough to dampen my guilt, I called my parents, who only cared about their daughter not crying. They even insisted I eat out to cheer myself up. My father told me he did not want me crying because I lost something that had monetary value, because it was not worth that to him, and I did believe him. Living in guilt for too long is tiring and honestly not conducive to actually moving on, and so I hooded my feelings under actually trying to convince myself that it was just bad luck.

But the truth is, that if it was bad luck for me, it was a fortune for someone who currently has my money. When I went to the café teary-eyed and willing to not spend another penny on anything I didn’t need, I looked around and realized that it could be any of the hundred odd people cheerfully chatting away in front of me. It could be a friend, it could be a stranger, and it could be someone I meet in one of the clubs that I am a part of. It could be a senior who probably thought of me as no one but a light brown wallet, or it could be a junior who didn’t know me at all. It could be someone I had seen around campus, a friend of a distant friend, someone who had heard my name in a fleeting gesture of admiration or disrespect. Had they known it was me they had stolen from?

The person had been kind to me. They had taken my money, spared me some change for dinner, left the bills that I had sensibly saved in case I ever had to get the things that I had bought returned, and also spared my college ID card and my driver’s license. I know how inconvenient it would have been if even that had been taken away from me. I like to think that the person who fiddled through my wallet thought that maybe it was only good manners to leave me something that I could feel relief over. Just enough to make me realize that it was a human who did it, not a machine who only knew how to possess, but not to acknowledge. It was more kindness that what I had provided my best friend with.

It was about the money, yes, and I believe that had it not been as large an amount as it was, I would have been less hurt and upset about the state of shock that it had brought to my doorstep. But more than that it was about realizing that there was someone who thought it easy to actually take from someone what they probably did not deserve, and worse, that they actually performed the act and proved it. A student, just like me, who has probably has similar experiences to mine, has had a similar preaching of honesty as me, and who knew that it was wrong to steal.

I am sure whoever it was will probably not read this, or they might, but there is one thing I desperately wish. I wish that they took the money because they needed it. Because they had some very important purpose for it. I hope that they derive more happiness out of it than what they took from me. I wish there was a way to know whether that person took the crisp currency in their hands and looked at it with the same wonder that I looked at a monster pencil with. I hope they know how much pain it caused me, and how averse they have made me of actually being in the RC. I hope they understand that I am slightly less trusting of everyone I meet from today onwards.

I hope they know they made me confess.

Access to lingerie

While I was at home, I came across a very good site that sells lingerie. It has almost all sizes possible, has sales almost all the time, and is overall just a very good place to shop. I bought things for myself, and celebrated the fact that I finally had a place where I did not have to wonder if it had the sizes and types I wanted or not. (For the women, here is a subreddit that will tell you how it is highly probable that the bra that you are wearing currently is the wrong size and how important it is to wear the right one.) My happiness of thoroughly subdued when I attempted to open that site again when I was back in college. This was what greeted me:

zivame trouble

 

Now, I know that our college (and a lot of other places) does not allow for a lot of sites to be accessed. These websites are generally of pornographic nature, contains violent content and/or has some gaming related importance. Apparently, swimwear and lingerie is also one of the categories that disallows me to view this particular commercial website. I am obviously not for too much censorship, but I have never really given the blocked websites a lot of thought. After all, it is not that easy to get around it anyway. I have, in fact, visited content that my college doesn’t want me to visit. That said, this was something that does not fare very well with me.

Lingerie is an inherently sexualized topic, in spite of the fact that almost all women do wear innerwear. Cyberoam is automated, so of course this site wasn’t blocked specifically. The official website for Jockey India, though, is not blocked. Was the keyword for the blocking, then, ‘lingerie’? The lingerie and nightwear section on Flipkart, though, can be accessed. What is specific to Zivame.com that renders me unable to access it? I have yet to figure this out. Regardless, it cannot be denied that the lingerie has had such a negative and pornographic connotation, in spite of the fact that it should really be normalised to a certain extent. Other than the pornographic sites, lingerie sites will most likely be shopping sites. The top searches for lingerie are actually all official websites for lingerie companies. These are products that are specific (almost) to women and are not accessible to women because some people have decided that it is not appropriate.

But how can a hypocrite complain about this? I asked around if there was a way I could point this out to the college authorities, and tell them that maybe this site should be unblocked. I found out that I need to contact a student member who is responsible for technical happenings of the college. I froze. How was I going to convince a stranger that a lingerie site (that I want to shop off of) is something that I want? There are numerous connotations to this act. I did not want a stranger to know what I shopping for online; I was too ashamed, and this was in spite of the fact that this is no secret that only I know. All women use lingerie, all men know that we use it, then what is the problem? Although, I am now unable to come up with a solution for this, I suppose I will have to talk to the student member to try and get this particular site unblocked. I will discuss further about how ‘secrets’ that are exclusive to one gender are talked about in such hushed tones because of taboo, and how hypocritical it is, but for now, I have to get some courage and do this. God bless my soul.

What men like

I absolutely love coming back to college, and it has been a while since I felt sad while leaving home. I do, however, feel extremely dreadful thinking about the bus journey to college. The constant sleepiness and headache for 4 long hours evoke a sense of dread in me that I cannot seem to get rid of. But the worst part out of all of this is the movie that they play in the tiny television. I generally seat myself in the front seats, because it gets tumble-ful (if that is a word) in the back seats, and have to handle the immense noise that the television makes. I try to drown it out by playing loud music in my earphones, but today, due to bad battery life of my phone and earphones that only play in one ear, I got to see the most amazing movie that Bollywood has released in 2014 – Yaariyan.

I was hoping the bus driver’s friend would play Highway, it was a movie I wanted to see when it was released, but couldn’t. Now, some movies are so bad they are good (like Aap ka Suroor starring Himesh Reshamiya), but this movie was so bad it was quite simply bad. Here is what happens in the movie in a gist. I will not even begin to say how sexist it was, because it will a complete waste of breath.

Lakshya (Himansh Kohli) comes to this magical college, the location of which is completely unknown, where a lot of strange, non-collegy things happen. This may include a girl called Jiya constantly licking lollipops in the most pornographic way possible (I have to say here, the use of double entendre by the director is flawless), nerds identified by full-rim glasses and pigtails, and Australians (all of whom are exceptionally evil and believe in cheating by the mere fact of them being white; this film takes the freedom fight to a completely new level). This movie contains everything, and I am not kidding here. Does it contain a convenient friend that suddenly enters out of nowhere dying while protect the honour of the college, you ask? Check. Does it contain this very college losing because they cannot concentrate on a bike race because of said death, you ask? Check. Does it contain a son not loving his poor, helpless, widow mother enough? Check. Does it contain a guy falling into a high-ass waterfall, jumping out of it, and finishing a race by climbing onto the roof of a college? Check. What does this movie not have?

Also, two minutes of silence for the Australians who have been shown in such poor light, that they might as well forget their chances of redemption in India. They are the most vile, cheating, and ruthless people on the face of the earth. All they want to do is steal horrible songs by some Indian band which got formed out of nowhere and began writing music, because yes, writing music is that easy and doesn’t require any real skill at all. I apologise to Australia, the entire goddamn country, because that is what the film made me want to do.

This movie gives us a very clear idea of what men like once they are in college. This is what the story writer thinks, not me. So this fresh-faced young boy comes to college and finds himself among women of two kinds. One who dresses skimpily, gets drunk, kisses boys and licks lollipops (and conveniently begins to play the electric guitar eventually), and two, the nerdy girl with glasses who wears shabby clothes, does not drink (because sanskar) and does not want to kiss a boy or lick lollipops. That is the full extent of the variety of girls in the film. The boy is torn between choosing what he wants. There is that girl who is so morally loose that all he wants to do is pretend to be drinking out of her cups due to exceedingly tasteless camera angles, and there is the girl who is the perfect girl because she does not drink alcohol, but who is ugly as fuck (by ugly, I mean, glasses and curly hair, nothing else). This Sophie’s choice only has one solution. Makeovers. Make the ugly girl look sexy, and the problem is solved! But the director must have told the wardrobe-handler (or whoever does this kind of a job) to make sure to make her look sexy only in a wet salwaar kameez (because, well, sanskar). But do not, and I repeat, do not make her want to kiss him yet. Make her want to kiss only when he forcefully grabs her in front of the entire college, and then kiss her. Perfect love story!

Let me also please spend a few words to tell you exactly how bad an actor Himansh Kohli is. Very. Extremely. Excessively. Frightfully.

I advise you to go watch The Xpose. At least it will make you laugh. This movie couldn’t even do that well.

About Khatron ke Khiladi

I am not going to even try and defend myself about watching this show. What can I say? I love drama, and I am an above-average fan of Bigg Boss and shows like that. Which is why I watched one (or two) episodes of this show, Khatron ke Khiladi. The extremely tasteless humour (read Rohit Shetty) did not really appeal to me much, which is why I was about to watch something entirely different, but I watched the part of the show that I began to object to. This is why I also watched another episode of this show, that I really do not know how many people watch.

(Please ignore all the extremely annoying parts)

Because of slow internet, I cannot point out exactly (on the video) where my problem begins, but it is this episode that caught my attention. In the episode, for entertainment, a crocodile is ‘caged’ in a completely opaque enclosing, which is exactly the size of the crocodile itself. It tries to attack the participant, who very carefully enters from behind the crocodile, and cannot even turn its head around. Crocodiles are not animals that a lot of people empathize with, yes they are predators. They are extremely scary, and as a child, I refused to bathe in a bathing tub after watching Lake Placid for the first time. That is how scared I am of these beasts. But this kind of treatment got to me. It is not correct.

If this does not convince you, I have more. I could not find the YouTube video for particular episode, but this time it is the lion. The participants are supposedly to play Tug-o’-War with the lion. I only saw the promo, but the lion is fighting against a human. The end of the lion is tied up with some sort of meat, I think. I do not see how else the makers of that show have given a lion an incentive to pull at a rope. Lions are not inherently violent animals; they attack for food, and that is all that they care about. That and protecting their young ones and their pride, but you know where I am getting at. I wonder if the animals have been kept hungry so that they might behave this aggressively; it is certainly not their natural behavior to pull at a rope for fun.

Not just this, this particular show (and I suppose many others) have made use of snakes quite a bit, enclosing them in small containers for the purpose of entertainment. I understand that a snake is another reptile that never garners any empathy, but it does not take a lot of it to understand that maybe the snakes do not like it. I could not find much information regarding studies about how these ‘performing’ animals are kept and treated, and would love to find out. But until then, these show makers do not get a benefit of doubt because at face value, they are treating the animals far worse than any human would be treated.

I also found this. This lists the Act that responsible to overlook these animal related laws. I did not understand a lot of the procedures of these laws, and I certainly do not know if they have been followed by the show-makers of “Khatron ke khiladi” while making their show. If you read this now, and have any information or solutions, please contact me. It is absolutely essential that empathy begins with those upon which we humans have decided to exert control over.

The Default

I have been asked why I take so much offence at everything more times than I can count on my fingers. Close friends have asked me this, and it is a question that has, in its own nature, made me feel quite uncomfortable, and I have had to ask myself whether I have had the justification to raise questions regarding thoughts that deeply unsettle me. One instance of this question came up when I was slightly critical of a play that I saw being performed in college, and my friend asked me why I couldn’t just leave the sexism aside and just enjoy the comedy. I will come to this later.

I also recently came across this video. Although this video has very low production value and is quite poorly made, what came across to me was the exceptional presence of women on the screen. I am hoping people reading (and watching) this will feel similarly. This parody trailer made me realize that the overbearing presence of women on screen like this is not what audiences may be used to, even if the audience is a feminist who tries as hard as she can to not attribute characteristics to either gender. Every time we see more than a few women on screen talking, it is different and gives it a feel of a romantic-comedy (‘chick-flicks’), while this is seldom noted when the same thing happens with men. It is normal to watch men interacting on screen, but not women. No wonder so many movies fail the Bechdel test.

This is not to say that the Bechdel test is a test to disregard a film, but it is evidence to a much more compelling problem in media today. This is true especially for Indian cinema, where there is glaring difference between how actors of gender are treated. The female characters are commonly bland, uni-dimensional and mere plot devices, if not dancers in an ‘item-song’. Most movies have a male lead who is the driver of the story, and the female character is a device used to pleasure the audience gaze. The dancers (mostly major actresses of these times) use sexual suggestions to grab the attention of the audiences, and one may argue that this is just a healthy sexual expression, something that women have lacked in India for a long time now. But there are two responses to this:

  1. This healthy sexual expression is only done by these ‘item-song’ dancers; the leading women characters are still virtuous, virginal and coy. This tells us that even if there are women expressing their sexual interest, it is still not a desirable quality in a woman that you are supposed to admire. These women are nice and wise, albeit with some quirks. This is much unlike the leading men who have had areas of grey, and not just black and white. There is a dearth of what I call ‘imperfect women’ in the cinema today. For example, it is common to see a male pursue a female romantically in movies, but that kind of forthcoming nature is rarely seen from women.
  2. When an actress that I suppose is a decent actress does a role that has no value as such, it makes me want to take her less seriously, something that I don’t like doing, but is a personal preference. Amazing actresses have had still to do songs that appeal to nothing but the audience gaze. The song “Ram chahe Leela”, “Chikni Chameli”, “Shelia ki jawani” and many others solve no purpose other than for the movie and the song to sell. These are definitely things that the audiences prefer to watch, but this in itself should be a concern since there are talented actors (both male and female) who have to resort to bland musical performances to earn popularity. I would repeat again that this would not be a problem had there also been other kind of movies running mainstream. My only concern is, after all, a lack of variety.

Exceptions do exist. I suppose Queen handled the idea of a female lead extremely well. But, Indian cinema is based on the idea of escapism. India is dirty; show the audiences beautiful beaches which are spotless. Sex is a taboo to be talked of; show scantily clad women and resort to voyeurism. That said, the movies which do have female leads, them being female is a major selling point of the film, as if being female is a shift from the normal. Why is this so troublesome to me? I also watched this video a while back, too. The video is not flawless, the study more so, but it does reveal to us a worrying thought. That people will start to believe what media will tell them. It made me extremely sad to watch the video where kids as young as in the video, were falling trap to standards of “goodness” and “badness” in particular races. This is true for gender as well. For example, if a child sees that being virtuous and rejecting every notion of sexual interest by the innate nature of it is what a woman is supposed to do, that is what he/she is going to learn. Young girls will learn to inculcate these qualities, and boys will look for them in girls. Another example would be the lack of variety in superheroes. Most superheroes are male, and the female ones are generally an extension of the already existing. The female heroes that come to me from the top of my head are Catwoman and Wonderwoman. These women share the characteristics of being wise, intelligent and composed, while the male superheroes have a variety of characteristics, even being goofy. These are then the characteristics I assign myself, even though it is actually perfectly acceptable to be goofy and silly. This lack of variety is extremely evident in Indian cinema as I already mentioned.

You can look at the clothing sections for children, and the girls’ clothing is predominantly pink, red and purple, and the boys’ clothing is blue, green and yellow. There is a major difference not just in terms of clothing, but also in terms of toys. Building sets, car sets, train sets, even Legos are still marketed as boys’ toys, and dolls, baking ovens are still girls’ toys. And then we wonder why there are still less women interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

Gender behavior will guide us about what traits are admirable and what aren’t. I have anecdotal evidence too. A girl, someone who is intelligent and academically potent, told me that she did not believe that “girls were dumb” until she was narrated an incident by a male friend about a girl who did not know simple mobile phone operations. Or that when a male friend ordered green apple vodka, everyone else said it was a “girl’s drink”. Which brings me to my most important evidence; the play that I watched in college.

The play was a musical one, riddled with the idea of a guy in college trying to find a girlfriend for himself. It included the supposition that the Teaching Assistants pay more attention to the female students during lab hours, and not enough to the male students. A line that also stayed with me was when a male TA asked a female student why she had put curly braces (in a piece of code), she replies with a cloying, “But curly braces are so cute!” The stereotype blew me away; and to people in denial, I’d ask if there was any chance a line like that would have been given to a male student. Eventually, the said TA did find a girl to go out with (one of the students he was partial with), and when he asks her to be his girlfriend explicitly, she rejects him (which has since been perceived to be such a bad thing). This does also fit in well with the entire idea of males being “friend-zoned” by girls, as if sex and a romantic relationship was an entitlement.

I will not go into the details but the end of the play saw the line (in Hindi), “Girls are like jeans, and friends are like underwear. Even if the jeans come off, the underwear will save you from embarrassment.” The play made me angry; mostly because it made me feel alienated. There were several girls in the audience, and there was nothing in the play that I could relate to. They even claimed by the line subtly that girls and friends have to be mutually exclusive groups; a notion that made me feel even worse because I would like to think I have the ability to be a decent friend.

I have been told I was reading too much into the play when I confronted a few people with my thoughts, and I cannot deny this. I am truly reading into the play, but I do not regret it. I would have not have a gender related problem with it had it only been about relationships and sex, even so from the male’s perspective, since then the issue would not be about gender stereotypes. But that is not currently the case. The main issue here is that there is a severe lack of voice from the side of the women, and I wish I had the creative excellence to do something about it. But I know that even if I could, it would barely be popular simply because it is not something the audience is used to seeing. If there would be a female student pining for a male in just the same way as the play showed, there would be no question of how accepted that kind of behavior will be. The solution can only come from people making these plays, to try and bring a uni-sexual voice into the entire conception.

Wo-man has always been an extension of man. To be a man is the default, to be a woman is a defect. Hence when a woman is asking for equal representation in arts and media, it is asking for something that doesn’t exist by default, something that needs to consciously be provided. To finally clarify my position further, I would quote Simone de Beauvoir in her book The Second Sex:

“In the midst of an abstract discussion, it is vexing to hear a man say: ‘You think thus and so because you are a woman’; but I know my only defense is to reply: ‘I think thus and so because it is true’ thereby removing my subjective self from the discussion. It would be out of question to reply: ‘And you think the contrary since you are man,’ for it is understood as a fact that being a man is no peculiarity. “

The only way to battle this is to create a medium where it is not necessary to ‘leave your brains aside’ to enjoy a show, and to be critical is not undesirable, but a habitual reaction.