2 Years Of ‘Thappad’: Taapsee Pannu Film Remains An Important Lesson In How Parents Should Raise Sons And Daughters
There are these certain sexist and patriarchal sterotypes that we have all heard. For instance, most parents raise their sons and daughters differently. They teach their sons to earn money, they are told to be the breadwinner, etc. But tell their daughters that they are paraya dhaan that has to leave the family and go one day, parents teach their daughters to cook food and do the household chores, they are taught to take care of their husbands, they are taught to view their paatis as parmeshar (God), etc. This kind of toxic teaching is what has grave repercussions when the same daughters grow up. In fact, a movie that very evidently portrayed this was Thappad starring Taapsee Pannu, Ratna Pathak Shah, Kumud Mishra, Tanvi Azmi, Pavali Gulati, and others.
In Thappad, the writers and director highlight how deeply ingrained patriarchy is in our society. It shows that it is mothers who teach their daughters to quietly suffer and ask them to keep quiet for the sake of the family. Take the instance of the scene when after Taapsee Pannu was slapped by her husband, both – her own mother (Ratna Pathak Shah) and her mother-in-law (Tanvi Azmi) – agree that it was not okay to slap her but also go on to say that this is how men are and that a woman has to bear a bit and compromise for the sake of the family. In fact, not just the two mothers, but even her own brother says that though it was not okay, she should forgive him and give her husband another chance. The toxicity of patriarchy at its best.
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But when no one stands in support of Taapsee Pannu and her decision to divorce her husband, it is the father and brother’s girlfriend that see the intensity of the slap. They are the ones that call out the bullshit of others who tell her to silently suffer and forgive her husband. In fact, in Thappad, when Taapsee’s brother manhandles his girlfriend, the father of Taapsee Pannu gets furious with his son and asks him to apologise to her and leave the house. What makes that scene even more powerful is the fact that Taapsee and her mother are both standing there but none of them stop him from treating his own girlfriend in a derogatory manner.
This scene from Thappad to me shows just how many mistakes of sons are overlooked and ignored. Shows how much freedom they (sons) get from their parents who on the other hand are overly strict with their daughters. It shows how parents give excuses for their son’s rude, unjustified, and sexist behaviour. And how the same parents have a long list of dos and don’ts for their daughters.
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Thappad, the Taapsee Pannu starrer, clearly teaches us how daughters and sons should and should not be raised. Raise your daughters to be a bit selfish. Raise them to choose their self-respect over their husbands, his family, or anyone else. Raise your daughters with the idea of not being sacrificial all the time and giving their needs equal importance. Raise them with the understanding that in marriage, both partners are equal and should be respected equally. Stop telling them that their husbands are parmeshwar (equal to God) and so they can’t treat them however they want. Assure your daughters that her family is going to stand by her through thick and thin and not blame her if her marriage fails. And as for sons, stop telling him that he is superior to his wife or any other woman for that matter. Stop teaching him that he can do anything and can get away with it just because he is a man. Teach your sons how to respect women. Teach them what a partnership, a marriage means and how it is the duty of both of them to ensure the relationship goes smoothly. Teach them how to cook. Teach them how to share the load – whether it is household work or emotional. And more importantly stop them when they’re wrong instead of making excuses for it.
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It is only when we make our daughters strong enough to fight for themselves, will we have a society filled with women who aren’t afraid to voice out the injustices they face. It is only then that the women of the next generation will see hope and have a better future where they are not dependent on anyone else – especially their husbands. And it is then that the husbands, boyfriends, sons, etc. will learn the meaning of respect and know how to treat a woman right.