Hegemonic Masculinity as portrayed in Thappad

The movie Thappad proved to be one of the most sensational and thought provoking movies released in 2020. The movie revolves around one incident of domestic abuse where the husband slaps the wife at a party amongst numerous guests. It then follows the journey of the wife realising what the slap meant and hence challenging societal norms by taking an action against it. While the movie portrays the entire journey of the couple following the slap, it also highlights some of the most important concepts regarding masculinity through various male characters. The masculinity depicted by the male characters in the movie can be classified into two different types of masculinity: hegemonic masculinity and non hegemonic masculinity.

Hegemonic Masculinity: "the configuration of gender practice which embodies the currently accepted answer to the problem of the legitimacy of patriarchy, which guarantees(or is taken for granted) the dominant position of men and the subordination of women." -Connell.

This sort of masculinity is evident through various dialogues spoken by male characters in the movie such as: “Ye aurtein gaarian le ke nikalti kiun hain?” and “Mein bhi gaari chalana seekh loon? (wife) Tum pehle parathay banana seekh lo, phir baaki bhi.(husband)”. This shows how the typical male mindset relates domestic chores with females thus reinstating gender roles. Moreover, certain scenes in the movie show how men are engaged in political conversations while the role of the wives is limited to serving food. Similarly, the movie shows how women are dependent on their male counterparts for stability. This is evident from a scene between the maid and her husband where she bears his beating because she has nowhere else to take refuge in. Furthermore, the depiction of violence in Thappad is a representation of men relying on violence to express their emotions such as anger and frustration. However, the reaction of Amrita (Vikrum’s wife) towards the slap is an important turning point since it encourages the audience (females) to stand against domestic violence.

I would definitely recommend everyone to watch this movie!

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