Author : Ahana Sur
The Shri Ram School Aravali, Gurugram, India
Films are one of the most widely-consumed forms of media worldwide; thus, they exert a great influence on mindsets. One of these areas is the representation of gender relations. Typically, Hollywood and Bollywood films promote unequal and patriarchal gender representations of men and women, thus reinforcing mainstream practices that place women in an inferior position to men, in terms of their impact on viewers. The aim of the present research study is to analyse two films with atypical representations of the two female protagonists and consider their impact on viewers in the U.S. and India. An in-depth thematic analysis of the Bollywood film Mom (2017) and the Hollywood film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) was carried out. It was found that these films challenged the conventional conceptions of male heroes, defied stereotypical representations of women, and redefined gender roles for society through their defiance for stereotypically gendered behaviour and usage of cinematic techniques to show the women to be on par with the men. Additionally, through the protagonist’s refusal to conform to conventional gender-based behaviours presented by society, they are able to liberate female viewers by empowering them to think and act beyond the given social restraints. In the future, analyses of film with regards to representations of other genders on the spectrum can be conducted, as well as an assessment on the use of cinematic techniques in their portrayals of other genders in one film to see if any such biases occur.