Cinema has made me re-examine many of the cultural norms that I had previously accepted as just being “natural order of things”. It has influenced my life dramatically as it made me grow into a man I am today. The art of creating movies and taking the time to think of something that no one has ever thought about inspires me.
On that typical Friday night I randomly decided to watch a 1980’s movie “The Women’s Room”. The movie was based on the best selling novel by Marilyn French. The movie depicts the lives of many ordinary women who either go to college or they get married without bothering about the pretense of college—after all, they know that college is a way of finding a well settled promising husband.
Mira, the main character, whose life is traced throughout the movie from her teenage years into adulthood, during which time she undergoes several transformations. She vaguely wonders why she is not content cooking pot roast, scraping shit from the baby’s diaper, and picking up her husbands’ dry cleaning. Her only solace is the neighborhood of women who share concerns over coffee in the afternoons. As for the rest of the women, including Mira, their lives, fears, disappointments and yearnings, were much more subtle, yet equally suicidal in their quiet desperations.
Years later, Mira’s life changes. Husband divorces her, kids have grown and life is easy economically. Mira has a nervous breakdown. Her friend helps her recover and she became a graduate student at Harvard University. Though painful and difficult, it is here that she comes to terms with herself, realizes her potential, and learns to live with herself –not necessarily happily—but at least honestly.
After finishing that life altering movie I was extremely depressed to see that even after three decades I find Mira’s world so much related to the society I live inn. That Friday night I woke up in the middle of the night sobbing uncontrollably from a terrible nightmare. Though I couldn’t remember the dream, I came to a profound realization. Mira’s life was my mothers.
My father has always been the leader of our home. I have personally admired him for being intelligent and worldly, and revered him for having power and control. My mother has always seemed indecisive, easily suppressed, and overly dependent because she had chosen the life of housewife, mother. I defied this tradition, and feared wearing those chains someday. During that night I understood my mother for the first time—I respected her inner strength, compassion, gentleness. Ever since then, my relationship with my mother has evolved, and we are very close. I will probably never adopt the role in life that she chose to take, but I now respect her for her life, and understand the reasons why she made those choices.
The next morning I woke up like a man on a mission. I was determined to raise my voice for Women’s Right Issue. I began with local actions in my town. I overheard that an impecunious family was trying to get rid of their young daughter through a forced marriage. I endeavored to save her life and eventually led my way into counseling her family. I offered them financial support which they accepted, and encouraged them to let their daughter continue her college.
I ascertained through this movie that we are failed to give women the sense of contentment. It made me realize how much courage it takes for a woman to live within a stiffed role, and find pleasure of life by living through other people. Watching Mira’s evolution as a female changed the way I feel towards myself, my feelings and compassion for my mother, and provided me with a much more sensitive view towards the lives of many women in our society today.