Following the abduction and sexual assault of a popular Malayalam actor in Kerala, there has been lots of discussion in the South Indian film industry about how to tackle sexism and rape culture. It’s easy to see that there’s a marked difference in what men and women have to say about it: while men like Prithviraj Sukumaran have referred to the survivor as “one of the most beautiful girls” he knows, and Dulquer Salmaan felt the need to point out that she is “somebody’s daughter and somebody’s sister”, women like Parvathy, on the other hand, have spoken about sexual assault being rampant in the film industry, and about the nuanced interplay of casteism and sexism.
Soon after the assault, Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) held a meeting to find ways to ensure the safety of women in the film industry. They came up with the brilliant suggestion that female actors should never travel anywhere alone ever, in the day or night. Here is a picture of them:
Yes, this picture of AMMA, ahem, is mostly a bunch of dudes. Surprise!
So we were super excited to read that yesterday, a group of women in the Malayalam film industry decided to come together to do things that would actually help women in the film industry, and not infantilize them, restrict their mobility and generally get in the way. The collective, called Women in Cinema Collective, includes Manju Warrier, Parvathy, Bhavana, Anjali Menon, Geethu Mohan Das, Rima Kallingal and other prominent women working in the industry.
Yesterday, the Collective met Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to request the creation of a committee that will study gender disparity and working conditions for women in the industry.
The memo that they submitted to the CM contains a variety of demands, and when you compare their demands to the clowny suggestions from the dudes at AMMA, you realise just how badly we needed this. They’ve demanded the redressal of unequal pay for women, PFs for women who had to abstain from work due to pregnancy, child-rearing and physical ailments, reservations for women in government-owned studios and subsidies for production crews that have 30 percent women. Here’s a picture of the Women in Cinema Collective with CM Pinarayi Vijayan:
Women just always do it better for themselves. Plus, my colleague would like to know, have you’ve ever seen Pinarayi look unhappier in his life? 😛