Women treated as second class in Nepali films: Study


June 5, 2021


Women treated as second class in Nepali films: Study

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KATHMANDU: A research carried out recently on as many as 47 Nepali films has revealed that women are still treated as second class citizens in the Nepal’s cinema.

Kathmandu Research on ‘Representation of Women and Girls in Nepal’s Cinema’ has revealed that Nepali films still perpetuate harmful stereotypes that prevent girls and young women from fulfilling their potential.

The research also showed that Women and girls are rarely presented as leaders, and even when they are in leadership positions they are far more likely than men to be sexually objectified.

The research was undertaken as part of Plan International Nepal’s social campaign ‘Girls Get Equal’.

The research conducted by Docskool has analyzed 47 films, television, online materials and visual advertisements emphasizing on film’s content, filmmakers, and Nepali cinema’s audiences.

Besides contents, key informant interviews with film professionals, and film representatives, alongside focus group discussions with girls and young women from Province 1 (Sunsari), Bagmati Province (Sindhuli, Kathmandu), Lumbini Province (Banke) and Karnali province (Jumla) were conducted.

“Films have a huge impact on all of us, especially young minds, in explicit as well as understated ways. They influence our biases, our assumptions and contribute to either reinforcing or breaking popular stereotypes.

Therefore, we are glad that the research initiated by young professionals is an important step to influence and challenge gender-based social norms by breaking the stereotypes that directly impact lives of girls and women in our society.” said Prasen Khati, Influencing, Communications and Campaign Director for Plan International Nepal.

Abhimanyu Dixit, co-writer of the research paper says, “Women are always treated as a second class in Nepal’s cinema.

They are either shown working at home, or as a sexual companion. There may have been discussions about representations like these, but very little change is seen”.
The research also found that the majority of women were projected as girlfriend/wives, mothers or concubines who relied on men to make their decisions.

Their decisions were either questioned, and their legitimacy was undermined through a prominent male presence in the films. Out of 102 women characters analyses, only five women characters were shown to have a mission beyond romance.

Out of 345 characters only eight represented LGBTIQ+, most were there for comic purpose. The report was launched during a 4-day virtual edutainment program ‘LET’S SHE-NEMA’ that was organized by Gauthali Entertainment.

During the launching event, Manoj Pandit, filmmaker, critic said, “Nepali Cinema’s very foundation is based on the belief that tears sell. We write sob stories because we know that brings money”.

He emphasized the need for us to emphasize a larger social change that’s not limited to cinema. Chiranjibi Guragain, Film Archive & International Relations Officer at Film Development Board, said that the FDB will support filmmakers who are selected at international competition and film festivals.

He also added that the development board is aware that there is much to be done in the area of women in film. The four-day event is designed as an edutainment program, where young members of Plan International Nepal’s ‘Girls Get Equal’ program and youths in general will get hands-on experience of looking at cinema through a feminist lens.

The event also features panel discussions, a game show with attractive prizes, video essays, alongside the research paper launch.