If you’re a woman, you know that life comes with an instruction manual. We are ‘told’ how to dress up, eat, behave and well – live. And, these are the basic requirements. Growing up, we are constantly reminded that sex is an act of procreation – which is another responsibility that comes with the role. It is normalized to a point that we start looking at female pleasure as something wrong.
It’s not like women do not like sex. But just like everything else, even pleasure is associated with a man’s ‘needs’. And it’s time that we associate expression of female pleasure without criticism or scandal.
Here are some shows and films that managed to do it:
1. Sex Education
There are more reasons than one to love the show – feeling good about sex and our bodies, is just one. But, the fact that it also prioritized female pleasure, made it a must-watch. In the show, Otis suggests Aimee that she try masturbating to understand what she likes and it’s not like there are no apprehensions about ‘doing that alone’. She takes her time, but then goes on and does exactly that – which we are shown in a montage that screams pleasure.
2. Jane The Virgin
The show explores relationships and intimacy in a newer format that is a treat to watch. However, it’s the growth of the characters that leaves an impact. In the show, Alba re-thinks getting into a relationship, scared of the physical aspect of it. And, we actually witness a solution – a vibrator. Jane suggests Alba that she explore herself, again. This is an important converstaion because pleasure is never associated with ageing – specifically when you’re a woman.
3. Zindagi In Short
Sleeping Partner, the short from the anthology film revolves around a middle-aged married couple, where the husband is abusive. Divya Dutta’s character from the film explores sex as not just something that comes as a ‘duty’ for women. However, the best part remains where she confronts her husband on how women are treated and the fact that she had the ‘best sex ever’ with someone else and not him. Unlike most Bollywood content, the film actually showcases reality.
The show is set in the Regency era, which follows marrying off girls and presenting them in the society. But, it manages to focus on sex, as an act of pleasure, for both men and women. In an episode from the first season, Daphne is shown more than just ‘the most eligible’ woman of the season. She’s given an arc where the show focuses on her sexual awakening, and not just the need to marry a man for the heck of it.
5. Lipstick Under My Burkha
Unlike most Bollywood films, Lipstick Under My Burkha showed women as more than just mothers or daughters who live a one-dimensional life. Ratna Pathak Shah’s character Rosy is a woman with desires. She reads erotica, likes to dress up in colors and also has a thing for a man – all of this, while being ‘a little too old’ for the society. The film actually focuses on how pleasure shouldn’t be a thing for the ‘young’, or more specifically – young men.
6. Lust Stories
The short film directed by Karan Johar in the anthology aimed at exploring female desire after marriage. Kiara Advani’s character Megha, explores pleasure that might exist without a husband. Not only that, but she also schools him and her in-laws on how a woman desires more than just children. And, how sex isn’t just meant for it. The light watch, simplistically talks about the need to not look at women’s desires as secondary to men.
7. The Bold Type
The show is about women and female friendships. So, it’s not a surprise that it went on to talk about loving sex and our bodies. In an episode, Jane tells her friends that she hasn’t orgasmed ever, which also becomes a barrier in her writing. The great part is that her friends help her get in touch with herself, instead of shaming her for telling the truth. The story arc of the episode takes a very realistic approach – which acts like the cherry on top of the cake.
Deepa Mehta’s film not only explored sexuality but also lingered on female desires. The erotic romantic drama film was ahead of its time and it remains a fact that Indian cinema hasn’t been able to create something near to it. Fire managed to portray female sexuality in different settings of different relationships, which made it a beautiful watch.
Note to society – Women like sex. Deal with it.