Female body, femininity and authority in Bollywood: The "new" woman inDangalandQueen

Ahad W., Koc Akgul S.

ASIAN JOURNAL OF WOMENS STUDIES, vol.26, no.1, pp.3-21, 2020 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/12259276.2019.1690777
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Index Islamicus, MLA - Modern Language Association Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.3-21
  • Kocaeli University Affiliated: Yes


Bollywood's departure from its earlier constructions of women as sex objects, victims of male violence, dependent, obedient and peripheral, is partly due to global/transnational cultural and economic flows that have influence in Indian society. What needs to be charted out is how patriarchal anxieties continue to emerge in recent Bollywood movies where women otherwise appear to assume assertive screen presence and play dominant roles. This study seeks to disentangle notions of "national" and "local," in particular, because the former does not explain India's family or local community settings that exercise substantial control over women. Through an analysis of two films,Dangal(2016) andQueen(2014), this study shows how present-day Bollywood appropriates opposing ideals of Hinduism and liberal ideology; therefore, the stories remain rooted in contemporary social discourse. It will be seen that the somewhat masculine woman inDangal,who is divested of erotic and reproductive attributes, bears the double-burden of subordination by a family patriarch and becoming a national symbol. Through its scrutiny ofQueen, the study also demonstrates how a new Indian femininity, "assertive" and "confident," is mediated by the dominant male cultural gaze. The films offer useful models for comparison of varying forms of femininities.