The trailer for Animal reminded me how women never have it easy – how male rage comes down to demeaning women. The fact that Bollywood still thinks that men who show aggression are “attractive” is borderline scary. Of course, there’s a choice to not watch such content, but when it’s marketed as the ‘big blockbuster’, it’s bound to impact society or how men behave. You cannot tell me that that wouldn’t negatively impact more women – the mere idea that it’s fine to glorify violence, even in a relationship.
If anything, THIS is when we need more male characters who identify as feminists, or at least try to work towards it. Like these:
1. Jake Peralta – Brooklyn Nine Nine
Jake is the kind of man who grows on you. He wasn’t perfect, no one is – but he learns. He was a green flag in general and a true feminist who does things to make a difference. For instance, he becomes a stay-at-home dad to make it easier for his wife who was truly good at her job, and wanted to keep it. With each episode, he raised our standards for men, and it’s impossible to match those.
2. Sunny – Dil Dhadakne Do
Sunny was a slap in the face of every man who says that he “allows his wife to work.” It was almost a delight to see a man who gets what equality actually means. Not to mention, it’s almost rare to witness a man taking stand for a woman, more specifically, her rights. It isn’t something that needs glorification, but even bare minimum is seemingly rare.
3. Jonah – Superstore
Jonah was textbook perfect, or just another character who raised our expectations to a level that’s unachievable in the real world. He understood what it meant for women to work and exist in the man’s world – not only that, he constantly made the extra effort to make it better for the women around him. If that’s not sweet…
4. Jug – Dear Zindagi
We may or may not know if Jug was a true feminist, but he tried and did some work. For instance, there’s a scene where Kaira talks about the society slut shaming women for dating more than one person. Jug, on the other hand mentioned that he thought of her as an independent and smart women for dating different men, because she knew what she wanted. This was special.
5. Otis – Sex Education
Otis had his flaws, especially when it came to being a partner. However, he tried to make the women around him comfortable in his own ways. In doing so, he’d also see to it that he’d respect them. The mere intent and the acknowledgment of the fact that women are just as human as men, makes more difference than one might think.
6. Sachin Sandhu – Thappad
Sachin, portrayed by Kumud Mishra, was Amrita’s father. When she came home after the incident with her husband, her father not only supported it, but also agreed that it was the right thing to do. In another scene, when Sachin’s son yelled at his partner, Sachin asked him to apologize and leave the house. It’s not a lot to just treat women better, and NOT support abuse, but again, it’s rare.
7. Phil Dunphy – Modern Family
Phil is a goofy and lovable character, and the show often portrays him as an understanding and supportive husband and father. While not explicitly a feminist, he challenges traditional gender roles. There may not have been moments where he talked about gender equality, but he managed to show it in his actions – which made him a sweet male character.
8. Deepak Sehgal – Pink
Again, the character did not directly identify as a feminist but his role was pivotal in advocating for the rights and dignity of the female protagonists. Something as simple as the part where he reiterates that “a no means no,” was refreshing for Indian cinema. Most times, victim blaming takes the center stage even in fictitious pieces – so it was good to finally see a male character to otherwise.
Men do not have to reek of misogyny to look ‘manly’.