Feminists have come up with the relations of family and the marginalisation of women. And there are many stories in novel and movies that showed the struggles of women as a wife and a mother. Mitr, My Friend is a movie like that, where it highlights the identity crisis of a woman as a wife and as a mother. When I saw the movie I found that even though the women crew highlights the struggles a sense of heteropatriarchy is established in the movie which again makes a women nothing but access to men.
Feminists are also critical of the family.
The feminists’ contribution to the study of families is of considerable importance. They have had a greater influence on the analysis of the family than any other theoretical approach. There are two types of feminists, Marxist relations between men and women within marriage are conditioned by economic forces outside it. A male dominated society is known as a patriarchy. The Marxist feminist sees patriarchy as arising out of capitalism.
Such feminists see the production of labour power as the way in which capitalism exploits women.
According to Margaret Benston “The amount of unpaid labour performed by women is very large and very profitable to those who own the means of production. ” The existence of the family also acts against the development of revolutionary consciousness: “As an economic unit, the nuclear family is a valuable stabilizing force in capitalist society. Since the production which is done in the home is paid for by the husband-father’s earnings, his ability to withhold labour from the market is much reduced. The family produces and maintains the labour force, and at minimal cost to the employer. Wives also supply emotional support to their husbands, helping them to unwind from the frustration created by their exploitation in the work-place.
Kathy McAfee and Myrna Wood argue that “The petty dictatorship which most men exercise over their wives and families enables them to vent their anger and frustration in a way which poses no challenge to the system. ” David Cooper calls the family “an ideological conditioning device in an exploitive society. Children learn inside families to submit to authority, thus making them into obedient and submissive workers as adults. Diane Feeley claims that the family socializes young people into accepting their place within a class-stratified society. Barrett and McIntosh are feminists who attack the idealized image portrayed by functionalists of the family. They claim that the oppression of women is the most fundamental and universal form of domination. Delphy and Leonard represent this view in that they regard men and not capitalism as the primary beneficiary of the exploitation of women’s labour.
The source of the oppression of women is not in the way in which their roles are created by social forces, but the way in which their work within the family is expropriated by men. They base their argument on statistics that show that only one in twenty-five families have a woman as a head of the household where there are other adults included; the male head of house is the one who “decides what needs doing in a given situation”; the family work for this male head unpaid; female relatives have to do unpaid domestic work.
Wives have “sexual and reproductive work” in addition to domestic work; payments within the family are not related to the amount of work done; contracts within the family are based on informal methods of negotiation that disadvantage women; when women are employed outside the house they still have to carry out domestic tasks. According to Delphy and Leonard, “the amount of time women spend on domestic work has not declined this century and they still do twice as much each day as men in all western and eastern bloc countries even when they have paid employment. Husbands do not share housework fairly. Wives also have to listen to their husband’s problems and pander to their egos. Mitr, My Friend is an Indian movie, directed by the Indian actress Revathi. Set partly in India and the US, Mitr, My Friend was Revathi’s debut directorial venture. The film was also noted for having an all women crew. The movie won the Best English Film of theyear award at the 49th National film awards. The film speaks about the plight of a woman who put their families first to the extent of ignoring their lives.
The cultural difference experienced by a village girl on moving to a new environment is vividly portrayed. The film opens with the marriage proceedings of a south Indian marriage between Lakshmi and Prithvi. Lakshmi is typical south Indian girl from Chidamparam; Prithvi is a software engineer working in California. After the wedding, they move to the USA where Lakshmi gradually tries to fit into her new surroundings. The marriage is a happy one with Prithvi working hard at office and Lakshmi manages home. They have a daughter Divya.
The film presents Divya as a typical adolescent who goes to school, plays soccer and occasionally attend parties. As time passes, Lakshmi feels alienated from her Americanised teenage daughter and increasingly unapproachable husband. To combat feelings of abandonment, loneliness and lingering doubts about her own worth, she embarks on a journey of self discovery. She finds a friend in her young American neighbour. She also befriends an anonymous internet Mitr who understands her predicament and knows her language, Tamil, the language she thinks and feels in.
These relationships play a vital role in Lakshmi’s discovery of herself and the restoration of her self esteem. The sensitivity of the movie lies in the destiny of her strange Mitr. The film ends on a positive note when Lakshmi’s Mitr turns out to be none other than her husband. But does this story line up with the stories of the realisation of a woman about her position? The invisible tangles of heteropatriarchy seem to dominate the movie throughout. It aims at heteropatriarchy rather supporting independence of women.
The movie talks about dismal struggle of women. Lakshmi struggles in her own family to establish herself when she had sacrificed a lot for her family. When she becomes smart with the help of her chatting friend, her husband misunderstands her and misreads her actions and even talking to her seemed to be pointless for him. And he walks out. He realises that Lakshmi would have undergone drecheroy of domesticity and justifies himself that he had tried himself to make her feel better.
But was two three dialogues sufficient for juxtaposing the anger and dejection that he had showed to his wife? Anyways the answer for this question gets cleared at the end. Lakshmi when realises about her friend Mitr, was none other than her husband she was ready to accept him and the family is reunited. Wasn’t it a kind of glorifying the terms of family? There were chances for her to live independently and out from complaints and also to establish herself. Whatever she did to overcome the situation were in a way to convince her husband but not for her own happiness.
When she realises real face of her husband of not going to Canada and staying back in hometown, she would have questioned him but she becomes a typical patriarchal point of woman who is not even bothered but to obey him and believe his words and even to sacrifice her identity for her family. The movie tends to show the difficulties of women but it fails to establish their independence. In Divya’s case we see that when she mentions about moving out, Lakshmi gets worried for her daughter. In spite of the oppositions she moves out for which her decline is shown.
Rather than making herself alone, she comes back to home. A sense of independence for women is curtailed. A notion is put forward that women have to be domesticated and also her ‘self’ is nowhere but in house. Heteropatriarchy ensures male right of access to women. Women’s relations – personal, professional, social, economic – are defined by the ideology that woman is for man. Heteropatriarchy is men dominating and de-skilling women in any of a number of forms, from outright attach to paternalistic care, and women devaluing female bonding.
Heteropatriarchy normalizes the dominance of one person and the subordination of another. Carol Pateman argues that social contract establishes men’s political right over women and orderly access by my to women’s bodies. In Mitr, My Friend all the issues were aroused in the family but at last everything is nicely wrapped up inside the family itself. Mitr, My Friend, all the women crew behind brings out the struggles of women but fails to bring out an alternative and strongly and effectively brings back the image of family.
Cite this Feminist Aspects in Mitr My Friend
Feminist Aspects in Mitr My Friend. (2016, Nov 14). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/feminist-aspects-in-mitr-my-friend/