“It was just a slap, but he cannot hit”
For a long time, I was looking for topics to write about. And then I went to watch this movie, Thappad (slap). It’s about a fiercely ambitious man who hits his wife in a fit of rage one day, one time, out of the blue, and how that one slap changes the woman. How it hits her confidence and makes her question all the sacrifices she’d made down the line, though by choice, but for him and his career development overlooking her own dreams. How everyone who witnessed the slap instead of calling the man out on his behavior expects her to understand his point of view, his stress and just move on. And how she is looked down on when she refuses to overlook it and move on like most wives do. It was just a slap, it happened once, he was stressed over something, we women need to be tolerant, we women need to sacrifice to make our homes and our children’s lives and all the things you and I have heard growing up. In fact, seen our mothers and all other women do. Its what we all have grown up with and its normalized to an extent that we forget to ask ourselves why is it not the man’s responsibility too?
There were times during the movie when the things happening on the screen were not funny, but the audience was laughing because we with our mindsets couldn’t understand the nuance of it. Like how the maid out of all the frustration from being continuously beaten, finally retaliates and hits her husband back or when the man’s friend says that when someone is really in love, a little bit of physical violence is an expression of love. Or the frowns in our faces to find that her lawyer, a woman, was having an extra marital affair. I am not trying to say that it is right. But think of this, when a woman has an extra marital affair, whatever the reason, she is at fault and morally she should be. But when a man does the same, we again go around and blame the “other woman”. Cause men are built that way, men are bound to make mistakes, it’s the woman who should be thoughtful enough to not ruin someone else’s home. And again, it is the woman who should forgive him and work the marriage out because what will society think and how will the kids grow up and all other implications separation comes with. Do you see the problem here?
This movie intrigues the part of you that you’d not have thought about because of how most of us South Asians are brought up. The things that are deemed normal in our highly patriarchal society and how they are actually unfair. And though the story centralizes on a divorce, and I heard from a number of people that it’s promoting divorce culture, it is not. The very fact that we thought the movie is promoting divorce culture shows how doomed we are in terms of moral awakening. When all the movie does is question if our women don’t deserve to be treated well and even when we think we are treating them well, are we actually? Is providing money and a safe home the only responsibility we need to teach our men? Should we not also teach them that any woman, be his mother, his sister or his girlfriend or wife is another person with her own dreams and opinions and would like to be heard, to be asked what she thinks or wants in life, to be respected for the sacrifices she never talks about but keeps making out of love? Should we not teach our men that all those sacrifices aren’t their right or privilege that they are born with? Should we not teach our men that it needs to be reciprocated or at the least respected?
I don’t know how this piece of writing is going to be perceived. For the most I know not many people will see my POV. But one thing that I know for myself is that if I ever have a son, I will do my best to make him into a man who knows how to respect when someone, anyone is making his life any easier by doing whatever they can. And I hope to god more people do, so that someone else doesn’t call my son a sissy for being respectful towards a woman, for putting his foot down or for showing his love and support to the woman in his life.
Yalla. I’m out.