Changing the narrative- Apt representations of gender in media

Media has been one of the greatest influencers of gendered patterns and identities, often in a negative way. Now, as we have begun to become more aware and earnestly want to change the narrative, what better to do it than through media? I’d anytime recommend these movies and a series that I watched in the past year and absolutely loved for the beautiful portrayal of the spectrum of gender.

Vita & Virginia

Vita & Virginia

The English poet, novelist, and landscape designer Vita Sackville-West was intensely infatuated with Virginia Woolf ever since they met each other at a costume party. Vita made Virginia felt adored and appreciated and Virginia deeply loved Vita’s respect for women. While they were open about their relationship, the British society at that time was very conservative. Yet, their love remained ever alive through the letters they penned. “I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia…It is incredible how essential to me you have become,” wrote Vita Sackville-West to Virginia. The love they had ultimately inspired Virginia to write her revolutionary novel, Orlando.

Vita & Virginia is a romantic drama that tells the story of their love that never went beyond the poetic words that came of their creative genius. The movie is a modern take on their story, a bold and entertaining one. The monologues highlight the exquisite writings of these bisexual literary heroes which make it worth the watch.

Maurice

Maurice

Struggling with your sexual orientation under the oppression of an Edwardian society is hard. Maurice is a 1987 English romantic drama based on the 1971 novel by E. M. Forster who was a closeted gay man himself. In terms of the theme, Maurice is way ahead of its time.  It is a story of homosexual love in the early 20th century before World War 1 in England where homosexuality was a punishable offence. The movie captures the period so meticulously.

Clive, an aristocrat declares his love to Maurice but has an idealistic and platonic view of it. Soon Maurice, the pursued becomes the pursuer. Homosexuality was seen as evil hallucinations that need to be overcome which puts Clive in a difficult position- to choose between his life of status, family responsibilities or one of freedom and expression in the dangerous atmosphere of homophobia.

Moonlight

Moonlight

A movie set in the more modern times, Moonlight is a coming of age story of an African man, detailing three stages of his life. Dealing with universal themes of sexuality, family, identity and masculinity, the movie still stays grounded. The conflict a boy faces within as he struggles to identify with himself, first as a child, then as a teenager and eventually an adult rises and falls like an ebbing tide.

All through the story we see that all it takes is kindness and pure human connection to nurture us and help us grow. Moonlight is the right title to describe this heartbreaking and eloquent movie. It is also the first LGBTQ-related film with an all-black cast, to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

Mrs. America

Mrs. America

When we think of the Equal Rights Amendment, Gloria Steinem and Phylis Shlafley come to mind, two powerful women- one a feminist and the other a conservative activist who stood against her. Mrs. America, is art in every aspect- capturing the modern viewer with brilliant performances that sweep you off your feet and bring you to an era that is loyal to the 70s.

Gloria’s optimistic movement leaves you brimming with positivity and at the same time we are reminded that Phylis stopped it from becoming a reality. The duality runs through the mini series like a tug of war between the feminists and anti-feminists that is played so well, it doesn’t turn into hate.

Okay, folks! These were my top picks to understand the history of gender and shape its future better. Tell me yours.

This post is part of My Friend Alexa and CauseAChatter by Blogchatter. You can find more such gender related recommendations here.

images source: IMDb

65 Comments Add yours

  1. Correct gender representation in media is so crucial and something far behind. Good to know of these titles, adding them to my TBW list.

    Like

  2. Siddhant Agarwal says:

    The post is quite detailed and informative!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Adi Sathe says:

    Thanks for recommending these wonderful titles to watch!!! But personally, when I think about all these issues, I feel, instead of being truly passionate or believer of some thing/value we are becoming “torchbearers” of labels. we are ready to burn the opponents if they don’t agree with our views. We have not even spared things created/written/filmed in past. Literature and art is a mirror of society in given time and space. In today’s cancel culture, these films are great!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      That’s a very deep and accurate observation.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Liked the list and your precise and wonderful way to summarise it all. I haven’t watched any of these and will definitely be watching some if not all, this weekend.
    Deepika

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Yay, am happy you will!

      Like

  5. Deepa says:

    Interesting. These are some good recommendations from you. I will definitely check them out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Glad that you will, Deepa!

      Like

  6. Amrita says:

    Gender identity is often misrepresented in media and typically stereotyped.I will definitely be going through your recommendations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thank you Amrita

      Like

  7. Neha Sharma says:

    Thanks for these recommendations, Leha. I will surely check these out. Also, I loved the way you have summarized these movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Am glad you liked it, Neha

      Like

  8. Madhu Bindra says:

    Thank you for sharing these recommendations. We need better gender representations in Indian media too. What we have now is disgusting.

    Like

    1. Leha says:

      That’s so true, thank you so much for reading.

      Like

  9. yogitaamitjoshi says:

    Havent watched any of these but loved the way you summerized it. Definitely adding them to my TBW list.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. poojamahimkar says:

    I am glad that at least there is some acceptance and efforts made to represent gender right in the media. While we are still a long way to go, it is nice to see the bare minimum being done at the least.

    #PoojaMahimkarReads

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      That’s right Pooja.

      Like

  11. Harshita says:

    Haven’t watched any of the movies, though have heard of Mrs.America. Will surely catch them, thank you Leha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Oh yes, Mrs. America was quite popular, even for the fashion sense in it.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for sharing these wonderful movies. I think this is one of the way of creating awareness specially around a topic related to gender which is still a big taboo in Indian society. I haven’t watched any of these but now all of them are part on my watch list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Yay, am glad !

      Like

  13. Ninu Nair says:

    Maurice by E.M.Forster has been on my list for a long time, though didn’t know of the movie. Also taking note of Vita and Virginia from here. Thanks for this wonderful list,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thanks Ninu, I haven’t read the book Maurice yet, only watched the movie. Might add to my TBR too.

      Like

  14. Woah, interesting ones. I haven’t read any of these but I am certainly going to pick up the first one I find.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. sayalibedekarpatil says:

    I’m picking up the first one I find. Your recommendations have got me interested.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Anasua Basu says:

    too good

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Aesha says:

    I had no clue about any of these movies. Thanks for sharing, Leha.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Bhawna Shah says:

    Thank you for sharing these recommendations with us. The short brief is quite interesting, and I will add them in my list.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Matheikal says:

    Gender issues do require a lot of debate these days for the sake of increasing awareness… This is a great approach to the topic.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. MeenalSonal says:

    The list of movies and their story lines are moving, with such films people can be aware of the feelings of the person. Shall try to watch atleast one movie from the list to know more about this subject.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thanks so much, hope you enjoy the movie you pick.

      Like

  21. Suchita says:

    It’s almost like I have been on a mission to read more content that showcases gender in all its nuanced glory. Especially since we started discussing it via CauseAChatter. Thank you for the recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      I enjoy reading your posts on gender and mental health, Suchita. Keep them all coming 🙂

      Like

  22. Can I agree more Leha and thanks a lot for these recommendations, I am sure watching them at the earliest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thank you, Roma.

      Like

  23. Ritu says:

    That is an excellent list of recommendations Leha. I am definitely checking them out. Our media should take note and stop the disgusting portrayal of the LGBTQ+ community.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Thanks for sharing recomendations.I haven’t watched any of these and will definitely be watching them.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Satabdi says:

    I have not watched any of these movies but I think I will start with Maurice. I need to understand the intricacies of gender better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Good choice 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Geethica says:

    Aptly said that why not use media to bring that change. I would like to start with Maurice for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thanks, Geethica 🙂

      Like

  27. Haven’t watched any of these movies.
    Definitely will watch each one of them. Very well written post about gender representation in media.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. mahekg says:

    Media is a very powerful tool and using it in the right way can be very beneficial.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Media will be the first place we look out for apt representations when it comes to anything. Honestly I haven’t heard about any of the titles mentioned but I’d love to watch them for the storyline that you shared which makes me feel intrigued. #tmmreads

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      So true, we go to media to look for representations and understanding of new topics, which makes it even more important that it is represented correctly.

      Like

  30. Ruchie says:

    These are seriously some cool recommendations and thanks leha for sharing them!!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I completely dislike how gender is represented in Indian media sometimes. It’s a given thing that a person with certain characteristics will behave like this bordering on sheer callousness. Thank you for recommending these movies. I’ll be watching them soon! #MyepicaReads

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thanks for your insightful comment, Pratibha. Completely agree.

      Like

  32. Swati Khatri says:

    Thank you for sharing these titles.
    Changing how genders are represented in media is the need of the hour.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. TheMomSagas says:

    Agree with you Leha. Media representation has the power to change opinions and perspectives of the masses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thanks Charu!

      Like

  34. Ginia says:

    Its high time the narrative is changed in Indian cinema too. You have given some great recommendations which I will try out soon. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Yes very good post. Media indeed plays a major role in changes and they should do it for the better future.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Gurjeet says:

    I haven’t seen these movies. Love to watch them , seems like great story,characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Yes, they were quite detailed characters.

      Like

  37. Varsh says:

    Right gender representation in media can influence a change. I haven’t watched any of these and am quickly adding them to my watchlist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leha says:

      Thanks Varsha!

      Like

  38. Totally agree…an amazing post and thanks a lot for the recommendations.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Thanks for these recommendations 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  40. I love watching good tv shows and movies. Thanks for these wonderful recos and I’m definitely going to watch them.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Amritha Srinath says:

    I completely agree that media plays an important role in educationg the masses towards identifying and accepting all the genders in a right sense. Haven’t watched any of these, so will definitely add them to my TBW list

    Like

  42. richamina says:

    it’s good that the media has taken initiative on making people aware of the topic of Gender and reducing bias which is inbred in many people. I’ve watched a few movies although not the ones you’ve shared so I’m going to watch them when possible. Thanks for sharing the list.

    Like

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