Mayakkam Enna – the spin story

Mayakkam Enna is the story of a young man trying to make it big in a profession he claims to love. It is the story of an ordinary man, facing ordinary problems, living an ordinary life in the end to achieve extra ordinary things. In one line, it is good.

The story begins with Karthik (played truthfully by Dhanush) and his sister living with a few other friends in a nicely decorated house. These friends are said to have brought up Karthik and his sister after their parents passed away. Sunder (one of those friends) brings Yamini into the scene as his date (not girlfriend, mind you). She encounters the most asocial of men and supportive of women in the group. Karthik calls her names and ‘sparks’ fly.

As an amateur photographer (wanting to be a wildlife photographer) Karthik goes around taking pictures in weddings and death ceremonies. Discouraged many times, Karthik persists. In the mean time, Yamini develops interest in Karthik while she is still ‘dating’ Sunder. When Karthik realises he is reciprocating the feeling, he runs away. He returns, get caught in Yamini’s arms and then ends up marrying her.

Until here, the film is supposedly about friendship, love and the dilemma in between. The rest of the film is about how Karthik goes ballistic and then finally wins an award for wildlife photography.

Misogyny and some more of that

The film begins and ends with utter disregard for womankind. Every scene, every line uttered is bordering cheapness. All the glorification of womanhood in the second half is merely euphemised perpetuation of commonly accepted stereotypes. Let me explain.

Let’s begin with this song. It is self-explanatory. So, I am saving some words here. If you do not understand why “adida avala, udhada avala, vidra avala, thevaye illa” is misogyny, please use the comments section and I am very willing to explain.

There is a good serving of calling woman “di” in the film, a healthy measure of abusive language and a lot of slapping scenes. If that is not enough, the second half is filled with pseudo glorification of womanhood.

When Karthik falls off a balcony and his nuts grow loose (sorry about the insensitivity for the beautiful mind), Yamini is still married to him and how! Karthik struggles with dealing with his failures (or the world conspiring against his success as you may call it) and takes his frustration out on his wife. She endures domestic violence practically every day, yet sending out his pictures to the Kumudhams of the world. She cooks, cleans and works for him while he beats her black and blue. She satisfies his s3xual desires and he falls asleep on top of her. He screams in the night and wakes the neighbours, but she protects him from their complaints. The marriage is merely her enduring abuse.

If that is typical of woman in Tamil films, Mayakkam Enna goes one step further. Yamini has a miscarriage when Karthik pushes her on the floor and that is when Yamini realises she has had enough. If enduring a psycho at home wasn’t bad enough, she wanted a child to endure a psycho father. Personally, I would say it was good that the baby did not get to see the light of day. I wouldn’t want a child to see its father beat up its mother every night!

Well, Tamil culture, as we know it perhaps does not agree. Yamini returns from the hospital only to stop talking to Karthik for ‘killing’ their child. She does not leave him for almost killing her but merely stops talking to him. Then the man drops his violence and behaves himself.

So, a ‘strong’ Tamil woman accepts and physical and s3xual abuse as if it is in her job description. She still bears his child and wishes well for him. Roger that.

Mental (health)

Throughout the second half of the film, we see that there is something wrong with Karthik. Call it lack of control, lack of social skills, anger management issues or whatever, but nobody seems to believe there can be some kind of medical help given to that. Especially Yamini seems to be in some sort of denial about Karthik’s mental health. Well, that perhaps is also a part of being an ideal Tamil woman. Roger that too.

Real friends and their friendships

Apart from the one woman in the film, nobody else is God, which is as much irritating as endearing. Karthik ends up marrying Sunder’s date. Shankar wants to ‘keep’ Karthik’s wife. Sunder marries Karthik’s sister who is insecure of her own brother’s success. All their lives are intertwined in a complex way, which seems more real than anything else. Ordinary characters with simple problems: It has to be handed to Selvaraghavan for writing these characters.

In all, Mayakkam Enna is a man’s idea of how he should be nurtured while chasing his dreams. It is a man’s justification of his irrational behaviour in the name of social frustration. It is the story of a man whose wife does not have dreams of her own.

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Mayakkam Enna – the spin story

60 thoughts on “Mayakkam Enna – the spin story

  1. Mohan says:

    Loved your review. :) Finally, somebody tells it as it is.

    People who, after seeing this film, claim they want a wife like Yamini are perverts who desire a female slave, not a wife in the generally understood meaning of that term.

    Unfortunately, there seem to be a lot of these closet perverts around.

  2. IMO, if you dig a lot more, you ll be happy :-) ..
    the belittled finishes in screenplay, dialogues and characterization will answer most of your open arguments/conclusions. if you are able to find that in the movie, good then!

  3. Ganesh says:

    Good review. The movie had impressed me a lot. 1000 times better than other recent release. The movie has taken Tamil films to next level. Audience had welcomed this movie very well.

  4. Mani says:

    Hello,

    Quite a different view about this movie. Yes. I do agree that the song(adida avala) was misplaced, rather I dont totally understand what was the mood of the hero during the song.Bit confused.Not sure what was the need for the song.

    But..but..Dont you think this was selva’s tribute to one woman in his life and the other woman out there who believe on their husband’s success.
    I do agree that not all woman can endure that/but if someone can manage such a husband dont you see the love that this woman has.Personally I believe a woman who trusts one’s husband should rather wait if she knows her peer. Bcoz a day will come after which everything will change and life thereafter would be blissful. A lot of woman do wait..I’m not just talking about a husband who tortures a wife. There are a lot of other things involved and women in this society dont have the privelege to make instant decisions.

    Dont you agree?

    1. Riddle TM says:

      Well I don’t agree what u say that love is the reason. Practically speaking, no women will agree if anyone accuses her husband as mental. But she will not tolerate everything like this what is being shown in the film. Any women will try to cure her husband if he behaves like this.

      Girl dating a guy whom she don’t like at all. Girl bathing without locking the bathroom when another guys around. The worst is wiping the blood scene!!!

      People come to movie to relax and enjoy. Not to have a bad mind after watching movie.

    2. heidi says:

      what if a woman did all that danush did in this movie and wud you guys accept it…indian man are such hypocrites..bull shit with your ideal indian women concepts..wish women were more courageous to boycott such ideas and men and of course Selvaraghavan movies…

  5. Kumar says:

    Anybody who prioritizes the interests of a particular section of the society instead of the society as a whole becomes incapable of making unbiased observations and recommendations. You have openly announced your bias by declaring that you are a feminist.

    However, this review is spot on. Physical and emotional abuse for extended periods cannot be justified by heaping praise on the same person at a later stage. A subdued man turning abusive and irrational at a later stage in his life is a definite possibility in real life and there was a golden opportunity to display how a wife who still wishes to remain married to the same man can handle such a husband without abandoning him and without putting herself in a position of danger at the same time. It is sad to see that this opportunity was totally missed. I only hope that any young women watching this movie do not get inspired to be do what Yamini does in the movie when faced with an abusive partner in their owns lives, that would be unfortunate.

    My general view about the director is posted here -http://www.silentcritics.com/mayakkam-enna-movie-review/#comment-4231

    It is good to see that there are a few sensible bloggers giving sane reviews instead of blindly praising sub-standard works of art. Keep writing :)

    P.S:
    I brought up the topic of Feminism earlier since it is no more different than male chauvinism and there are sparkling evidences to support the same. You writing exhibits the words of an intelligent and rational person and so you might want to reconsider if that title really portrays your personality.

    1. Hi! Thanks for the kind words. Appreciate it.

      As far as feminism goes, I am a feminist and it is only fair to declare that to my readers, so they know that my point of view is influenced by my beliefs. But it is rather upsetting to know that you think feminism and male chauvinism is the same thing. I am at loss for words to argue that.

      Unbiased observation itself is a myth, Kumar. Everybody has biases and these biases comes from how, where and when you are brought up. Your biases define who you are. My bias is against the oppression of womankind. Anything that oppresses the female is what I choose to fight against. If you notice, my blogs will hardly criticise lighting and camera and music. It will criticise character portrayals and characterisation of woman because that is what I am qualified to review.

      Thanks for noticing that I am intelligent and rational. I believe every feminist must be intelligent and rational. I do not hate men nor do I burn the bra! I believe that women should not be oppressed, that is all. And this belief will not change by changing my blog title, will it?!

      1. Kumar says:

        Your honest reply further confirms my assertions that you are indeed intelligent and rational, so I am going to beat on the topic of feminism a little bit more, please tolerate ;)

        You refer to the text-book definition of Feminism, which made sense when the movement was started, as at that time there was genuine discrimination against women in terms of social and political rights.

        Today unless you can point to sections of the constitution or particular laws that exhibit bias against someone based on their gender, the hoo haa about women’s rights is unwarranted. I would even say that in domestic issues the law generally favors the women but lets ignore it for now.

        Unbiased legal structure, equal rights and opportunity for education, employment and political participation – the original goals of the Feminist movement, according to its text-book definition have been achieved. The movement cannot survive without a purpose, so the current agenda that has been picked up is eliminating the oppression of women. Anybody would accept that it is a noble and just agenda, but the sheer impracticality of this agenda has opened up a can of worms. Moreover the oppression agenda does not adhere to the original definition of Feminism and so by that very token you, by definition, are not a Feminist!

        Are women oppressed?, yes. However the questions that never gets asked by current-generation Feminists are, are women the only ones who are oppressed? are women oppressed for the sole that they are women are due to other reasons? are men immune of oppression? is the idea of women oppression men something that even requires any amount of consideration?

        Everyone – irrespective of their gender, age, social status, sexual orientation, marital status, field of work, intelligence, morality – alternatively play the roles of aggressor and victim throughout their lives, intentionally or unintentionally. When you fiddle with this set-up by trying to give immunity to one particular group, it is not just unfair but it also fails to improve the system as a whole. To put is simply, a world where women are less oppressed is not necessarily better than a world where men are less oppressed.

        And the modern wave of Feminism is hell-bent on eliminating the oppression of women and it inadvertently comes at the cost of oppressing men. I am not making this up, this is exactly what is happening in the west right now. Like they say, its only racist when a white person does it and its only sexist when men do it – this is not equality. There is blatant sexism in the west that is tolerated and goes unquestioned, simply because the ones facing the heat are men. If you are interested I will share examples to back my claims.

        I understand that this is not your intention but when you announce that you are a Feminist (which are you are not like I mentioned above), this is what you inadvertently represent and that is why I equaled it to male chauvinism. The writings and reading material from modern Feminists is so biased that people tend to view it with suspicion. You make valid points in your blog but this title could lead them to be perceived as unjust and therefore fail to create the impact in the reader’s mind as it should. As for bias, I believe anybody who recognizes the presence and reasons for bias in their own opinions are fully capable of creating unbiased pieces of work.

        I realize that this reply is excessive long and preachy, no offence meant!

        1. The time and effort you have put into commenting on this blog only humbles me further! I really appreciate it! :)

          I see that you have your history sorted on feminism. All your points are valid from your perspective. But that does not mean that representation of women as sex objects in art and the glass ceiling in businesses do not exist. Indira Gandhi being a women PM did not eliminate dowry deaths in the country. We have the right to vote does not mean we are seen as equals.

          Your very argument about the reasons for which the feminism movement started has been achieved makes me wonder if your arguments are inherently male. Women may not be the only ones oppressed. There is as much casteism, religious fundamentalism, discrimination against creed, colour, place of birth, looks etc as there is sexism in this world. I have chosen to fight sexism and that makes me a feminist, doesn’t it?

      2. anita nandini says:

        I like this review and this thread of conversation.while I appreciate the line of thought that Kumar has shared with us here, Im also wondering, if its a bit too much like an ideal world. Has India really achieved political participation, education opportunity and equal rights ? I think not. In concept maybe , in urban India maybe. But for the majority of Indian women that exist the answer is a no. I am not a feminist but just talking from my experience as a woman who lives in this country. I will agree with him that by oppressing mens rights or any categorys rights we cannot achieve freedom or growth for women. Having said that , its a two way street. Its about time this county realises that the Human resource potential in a country is being severly stiffled on account of the fact that the girl child is not educated. Watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e8xgF0JtVg&feature=relmfu

      3. Kumar says:

        @anita
        I agree with you, though there is legal equality like I mentioned in my earlier comment, there certainly is cultural bias against women when comes to education and freedom in the rural and less educated sections of urban population. Before we can fight the bias we must try to understand the reason why it exists and the video you linked does explain this to some extent. Women have two fundamental disadvantages when compared with men, pregnancy and a relatively weaker physique. The cultural restrictions on women is due to pregnancy, the fact that when men and women are involved in the same act the women gets affected so much more. An unplanned pregnancy can turn an young women’s life upside down and that is the base of all restrictions. This made sense up until the advent of modern contraception. Modern birth control has for the first time in human history given women control over their body and has largely taken away this disadvantage. This is yet to percolate to all sections of the society and when it does you will notice the traditional restrictions going away as they have already started to happen among educated urban women.
        Up until the last century the manual labor was the engine that drove the world. Manual labor came bundled with tough working conditions and men with their superior physical strength and ruggedness fared well in the job market. This is why men took more prominence over women in society because they were the primary providers. Industrial revolution and the subsequent electronic revolution had shifted the talent focus from manual skills to intellectual skills. And white collar jobs brought with them better and safer working environment and have negated the physical strength disadvantage that women had. In fact other than a few departments like engineering, strategy etc, women are better candidates than men owing to their superior communication and social abilities. And as more women join the workforce this advantage only increases and eventually women would outnumber men in education and workforce. This has already started happening in the US and will happen in India as well, with time. In my own college when we passed out, the percentage of women who had got campus placements was significantly higher then men. As the rural population learns that their girl child probably has an equal or better shot at supporting their family then they would educate the girl child as well.
        The cultural bias came from these two causes, now the causes have become obsolete but the effect still lingers in many sections and that must be dispelled by discussing these topics. Like the author does in this blog. I am very supportive of her intentions and I agree with many things she says. The problem is with the Feminist stance, modern feminism has basically come down to name calling and witch hunting. There is no rational analysis of history and social dynamics, everything is lazily blamed on men. Anyone who does not agree with their loony-toon reasoning is immediately termed a misogynistic. Modern feminists are nitpicking to find topics to get offended by and then throw tantrums. I am not against her message itself but I don’t want the valid messages to get drowned out by the noise. I believe that by dropping the tag she can reach a wider audience and get her ideas across more effectively. Something I have not been successfully in convincing her with :)

        1. The pain you take in trying to convince every time is overwhelming. I must probably drop the tag (overtly stating it) for a while and see if it changes things. :) I’m only considering it. Don’t push me now! :)

      4. Kumar says:

        @Ranjani
        Wow, did I read that right?? :D
        But seriously if you ever do that then please let it be because you agree with the reasoning I gave and not just to shut up folks like me for a while :)

        But Feminist tag or not, please continue writing about these topics. There are lot of guys I know who are in a hurry to lose their virginity but would want untouched brides. Guys who will talk about how discrimination based on skin color is a disgusting act (in reference to the racism they believe Indians face in the west) but when asked about their preference in women they would claim fair skin in pretty and dark skin ugly. This from very normal and decent people I know, I find it unbelievable that their brain has not detected such an obvious hypocrisy, they remain oblivious to it.
        So, yes I will not be bringing up the feminist topic again since I have pretty much said all I had to say on it.

        P.S: sorry about this delayed reply, a transition in personal and professional life had kept me busy.

      5. Kumar says:

        Yea, sailing through some slightly rough weather these days but posts like the Thuppaki review make the trip to this blog worth the time. Lots of lol moments when reading through it, nice review :) Even more hilarious are some of the comments challenging the review, you should make a collection of the most weirdest comments from the blog, would make a nice post.

  6. Hi

    I also didn’t like the movie as I felt the plot & charterers so unreal.

    But I just wonder where we should draw lines between “individualism” and “marriage”……

    I am not saying a woman should be oppressed or should suffer physical and sexual attacks but the idea of a leaving a mentally challenged husband is making me confused about the idea of social life.

    and Kumar sir, it was a great comment. I thought west is a ‘perfect’ world of equal rights ! Can you please post some links or refer some books about this?

    1. Kumar says:

      Thanks Satheesh! The west is an equal world for the most part but Feminist’s don’t seem to agree with that. Their primary goal is to destroy something they call as the ‘Patriarchy’ by creating a world where women enjoy more privileges, face less penalties and still call it equality.

      I will give you a few examples for this.

      1) Here is a list of Feminist quotes, read it and make up your own mind about the credibility of the people making these quotes –
      http://www.fatherhoodcoalition.org/cpf/newreadings/2001/feminist_hate_speech.htm . These are prominent figures inside the Feminist movement and in the society.

      2) You would already be aware of the divorce settlement and the child custody bias. Its common knowledge than women get custody of the kids almost all the time and men are asked to pay for the child support. There are many instances where men have been asked to pay for child support even when they are found not be the biological fathers.

      3) Western universities have a course called as Women’s studies – the breeding ground for feminists, that’s where women are brain-washed in to believing that they are victims and men are oppressing them. These courses contain inaccurate recollection of history to portray men in bad light and promote misandry. To give you a simple
      example of how wrong this course is, consider this – the students of this program are taught that ‘logic’ is a male weapon used to suppress women so women must not use logic and reject logically reasoning and must instead rely on intuition. If you took this course then by the time you graduate not only will you have a twisted view of the world but you will be hating men, from deep inside. This is university funded and there are even scholarships available!!. Women who get such degrees go on to create stunning pieces of research on the discrimination of women in the society. My favorite piece of work is where these ‘researchers’ claimed that when men exhibit chivalry, that is if you open the door for the women or offer to carry their bags when its heavy – they are not being nice to the opposite sex but are instead displaying their superiority over women. They have declared chivalry to be sexist.

      4) In 1993 a women named Lorena Bobbitt cut off her husband’s penis, she claimed that she was abused by her husband and so was released by the court without any jail time. Mutilating her husband turned her in to a media celebrity, she was on talk shows, there were women on the streets celebrating her act of crime, many of them called her a hero and considered themselves to be her fans. Earlier this year a women named Catherine Kieu did the same to her husband, she even went one step ahead by shredding the severed penis in a garbage disposal. Apart from the fact that this was reported casually with humorous headlines, a television show called ‘The Talk’ neatly summed up how many women felt by this incident. You can view that video by searching for ‘Catherine Kieu’ in youtube. Now, these crimes themselves are not important, there are violent crimes happening in large numbers everyday but what is remarkable is the reactions to these crimes.

      5) Unless you have been living under a rock I am sure you would have heard about breast cancer. However it is entirely likely that you might not have heard about prostate cancer, a form of cancer that affects men. Though the number of people affected by both forms of cancer are the same, the amount of research funding allotted for breast cancer is more than twice the amount allotted for prostate cancer.

      You can check out avoiceformen.com to see the men’s side of the story. This might be a good read as well – http://www.amazon.com/Legalizing-Misandry-Systemic-Discrimination-Against/dp/0773528628

      1. heidi says:

        its a cycle..what goes up must come down and vice versa….so must domination of men and women….but what ever i dont think your comparison to west is anywhere close to the real situation in india…we still give dowry to get our girls married and women are still slaves in most indian marraige..just watch satyameva jayathe and you know what the ground reality is….every woman knows whats shown in the show is so true..difference between from the past generation of women and now is women educated and employed but still are no better than slaves..its so easy for men to talk…you will only know when you experience all the bias you have to face everyday when you are a woman..

  7. Kumar says:

    Sorry about the delayed response, had a hectic week. I wil try to address your points as best as I can :)

    First off I want to say that it is very gracious of you to engage in this discussion when you had the option of simply dismissing my comment. I respect that.

    When you say that women are not seen as equals you are making a very serious allegation and I would like to know your reasoning for the same before I comment on that.

    About dowry deaths, it is a crime and so is a law and order problem. Other than Indira Gandhi all the other Prime Ministers have been men and yet men are more often victims of homicide than women. So let us look at things from a more neutral perspective.

    Moving on to the two points you made about women being depicted as sex objects and the glass ceiling in businesses, I am going to challenge them below.

    Women are depicted as ‘objects of sex’ but their portrayal is not one-dimensional. Women are depicted in all possible shades just like men are. Ironically, in main-stream cinema the antognists are usually men where in television serials where the target audience are women, the antagonist are almost always women. You might perhaps find it surprising to know that men in fact are depicted in more uncomplimentary ways overall – http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MenAreTheExpendableGender

    Let me explain why women are depicted that way. The human species has survived through times of unimaginable violence, hardship and uncertainty. Even as recently as the last century saw two world wars, state sponsored extermination, mass murders, famines, nuclear bombings etc. Yet, even at times like these humans reproduce, which is remarkable. This is in part due to one of the strongest forces in nature, the male sex drive. It virtually controls almost every aspect of a man’s life and is the reason why men invest irrational amount of time and energy to gain the recognition and companionship of women. A feeling as strong as this will surely be targetted by businesses marketing their products, be it in movies or in advertisements. So unless all purchasing power is removed from men, this depiction will continue. As more and more young women are getting purchasing power you can see that the portrayal of men has also changed accordingly, a clear indicator of that is the six-packs abs that have become standard for even South Indian heroes, who until recently were quite content with their pot-bellies.

    The male sex drive is only rivaled by this other force of nature that is an equally important reason for human’s successful reproduction during times of crisis and that is the mother’s attachment to her children, even the unborn fetus. Needless to say this is largely targeted in movies and advertisements as well. This point doesn’t add to the argument but I am mentioning this nonetheless to give you a more rounded perspective. We evolved as we did, for practical reasons and we have no choice but to accept that.

    Let’s talk about the glass ceiling for women in buisnesses. I believe you say that since most CXOs across the world are men. To put things in prespective let us understand that 99.99% of men will never reach this status in their lives. The number of CXOs in the world might at best be in thousands or hundreds of thousands while the entire human male population is around 3.5 billion.

    In a free market capatalist economy, businesses are focussed on making profits, that is the sole purpose of their existence. They have no incentive to discriminate based on any criteria other than merit. Moreover the people who take up these positions are usually in their fifties and so must have graduated atleast 25 years ago.

    It is common knowledge that back then fewer women were graduating relative to men. Perhaps 25 years from now, when the current generation reaches its 50s the ration might be more even.

    Let me pose a counter argument. You might be aware of the Android market place, its is an unmoderated system where anyone can submit an app that they have programmed.

    Please go through the number of apps submitted by individuals and see which gender makes up the majority. You can do the same for FireFox plugins as well. The same

    applies to open-source software. Could you explain why there are virtually no women there, even though there is nothing stopping them from making up 50%. All of these

    only requires some programming knowledge which (can be picked up with self-study), some interesting ideas and the willingness to invest time.

    If you donot have a theory then I will explain why that is the case.

      1. Kumar says:

        The human brain has an internal reward mechanism which controls how we live our lives. We do the things that will give us pleasure and avoid the things that give us pain. The brain rewards certain actions by releasing dopamine, creating the sensation of pleasure. Over thousands of years of evolution, the list of actions that increase our chances of survival have been embedded in our genetic memory[btw, the depiction of genetic memory in 7am Arivu is complete BS] as actions that should be rewarded. A simple example for this is that fact that most humans enjoy social interactions, this is because the brain rewards this behavior. The evolutionary reason is that by staying together as a group instead of as lone individuals we increased our chances of survival. Our ancestors that did not find living in a group to be rewarding, stayed alone and died out.

        Men and women have very similar reward systems but there are fine yet important differences since both the genders played very different roles back when we lived in caves as hunters. Men would go out in groups on hunting trips while women focused on gathering food from around the caves, handling ration, protecting and taking care of the weaker members of the pack – this includes children, elders and the injured or sick.

        And our reward mechanism and behavior in general were also tuned for these roles. Men who were adventurous, risk-taking and yearning for a sense of accomplishment succeeded in their roles and those traits started being rewarded more. Women who were good with social interaction, people handling, nurturing etc succeeded in their roles and those traits started being rewarded more. This is very clearly visible in everyday life.

        For example:
        1) Men drive more rashly than women in general as they find the thrill more rewarding
        2) Women switch jobs less frequently than men as they find stability more rewarding

        If you would have noticed, video game players are almost exclusively male, it would not be difficult to find guys who would spend more than 16 hours a day on a game until they complete it. They do it because they find it rewarding, women usually consider this to be silly because they don’t get rewarded for this type of behavior and therefore don’t see the appeal. Women on the other hand take part in a range of activities that they find more rewarding but men consider it to be silly since they don’t see the appeal.

        The explorers who discovered the sea routes and the different continents are male. This is because only men find the idea of sailing out on a ship in to the unknown with a limited supply of ration as a rewarding experience. Women would consider this type of behaviour as suicidal(which is probably right) and that is why they never discovered any continents, not because men held secret meetings where they decided to not lend ships to women.

        The same goes for most of the scientific discoveries, like the video game players it was a bunch of guys working 16-20 hours a day alone in their labs being obbessed over some scientific challenge. But every once in a while there are women like Madam Curie and Lady Ada Lovelace who produce stunning pieces of scientific work. They are like that one odd girl who rides motorcycles instead of scooties, not because she is stronger than the other girls but because she likes doing it.

        This is also the answer to my earlier question, lot of women are computer engineers and they do programming as their day job but when they come home they are intrested in other types of activities. Whereas the male programmers come home and create these apps, plugins and open-source software because they find that more interesting. This would apply in general to most other areas of life as well.

        You might have noticed that the teaching profession, fashion studies and the human resources department in companies are overwhelming female, for the same reasons.

        When someone performs an activity that they don’t find rewarding, but they do it nonetheless for the results of the activity (promotion, pay hike etc), then it becomes a chore and it fails to stimulate the brain. Whereas a person that finds the activity itself rewarding irrespective of the result has a more stimulated brain and is therefore able to perform it better which results in better chances of success. This rule applies equally to men and women.

        I have greatly simplified the topics of evolution and psychology for the sake of clarity while still trying to keep it as accurate as I possibility can. There are entire books dedicated to these subjects but I hope this gives you a general idea.

      2. Kumar says:

        What norms? these are not norms enforced by the society but biological reasoning for observed human behavior.

        The rules of a society are not are written in stone, the rules that don’t make sense should be challenged and replaced. For example if someone built the Khajuraho temples today there would be a huge controversy claiming that ‘Indian culture’ and Hindu sentiments are being destroyed. However since it was built in ‘ancient India’ it is considered as a source of pride. Society and its norms can be and are really dumb a lot of times.

        When you see a norm that does not make sense then please by all means challenge it, write about it. Like I said before, I honestly believe you raise valid points in this post or in other posts on your blog.

        But my concern is about the Feminist stance. You can look at my reply to Satheesh to see what Feminism has become.

        We make observations of the world around us, but to interpret and make sense of those observations we need theories. The ideal way to do these interpretations is to use the theories of Science. But Feminists use a much simpler theory – MEN!

        Observation 1: Women are depicted as sex objects
        Feminist theory: Men are cheap, they don’t respect women, they don’t care how women feel and they are doing it to hurt the female sentiments

        Observation 2: Women don’t become CXOs often
        Feminist Theory: Men are preventing women from getting a fair chance. Men would much rather select a less qualified man than a more qualified woman for this position

        Observation 3: Girls don’t play video games as much as boys
        Feminist Theory: Video games are an exclusive male privilege and fathers discourage their daughters from playing them. Video game companies are sexist and make games that only boys will enjoy.

        Do you see how ludacris the third point sounds, yet Feminists claim that their theory for 1 & 2 are the absolute truth. If they cared about video games then their theory for that would be very close to what I had just said.

        You had mentioned earlier that as a Feminist you chose to fight sexism, that implies that you believe that sexism is present in good measure and that men are sexist towards women to such an extent that it requires to be fought against. Not to mention the fact that ‘sexism’ has been casually reduced to Man->Women sexism as if the opposite does not exist or it exists in lower magnitude or that it is harmless or that it is something that does not bother you as a person fighting sexism – all of these positions are sexist themselves.

        Given these points do you think men should not be offended when you say you are a Feminist?

    1. Kumar, I’ve read a bit of feminist theory and I can counter everything you are saying. But the discussion here is: should I call myself a feminist or not. I make observations about films based on my *feminist* ideologies that I define for myself.

      If you have issues with my obsrvations, let’s argue. If its the nomenclature, can we pls agree to disagree and nd it here?

  8. bladenomics says:

    @ Ranjani… You just said everything, every line of it, I wanted to say but can’t find the words to put it right.

    @Kumar- Film portrayal and picturization can draw some claps. In reality, no man including Dhanush would dare to treat his wife like that and still receive appreciation. Despite those words on stone which you seem to see.

    1. Kumar says:

      I would say the glorification of domestic violence in this movie is not even worthy of claps from the audience, very poorly handled.

  9. Kaveri says:

    Just saw the movie and was horrified by the glorification of domestic violence. The editing was so bad that I actually came online to understand parts I missed. Ranjani very insightful post……I also disliked the glorification of alcohol…but I guess along with violence it is a mainstay of tamil films.

    Kumar – I thought you made many insightful points….as a psychologist who has encountered gender differences in my work – I agree with you that there are gender differences in interests and such. And the evolutionary explanation makes a lot of sense – but you have to buy into its logic I find. I am a woman who has certainly benefited from feminism but at the same time am uncomfortable with the direction that some of these women (and ethnic) studies are taking and the reverse double standards.

    1. Kumar says:

      Thanks Kaveri and very well said. I must say that I am always simultaneously fascinated and intimidated by psychologists because I get a feeling they can figure out what I am thinking ;)

      The evolutionary explanation comes across to me as the most satisfactory for not just this but for every other aspect of human beings like emotions, method of reasoning, desires, belief systems, stereotyping etc. And at this point of time, the theory of evolution is so well substantiated with evidence that it doesn’t really require a whole lot of buy in, I presume.

      I think the whole world has benefited from feminism(equal rights/equal opportunities), we now have twice as many brains trying to solve the problems that our generation has inherited/created. And societies where power is shared with women are found to be statistically more peaceful than male-dominated societies.

      Now it would be only natural that there is some percent of the female population that is as chauvinistic as a similar sized percent in the male population. But what is rather unfortunate is that these chauvinists tend to hijack the title of ‘feminist’ to define themselves in an attempt to seek legitimacy. And increasingly this is getting a political angle as well, very similar to the religion and ethnicity(as you mentioned) based politics.

      But when everything is said and done, the balance of power between men and women is so beautifully rested, because of our mutual need and dependence, that it is almost impossible for one sex to have an upper hand over the other. What really does happen is that weak and gullible men/women are victims at the hands of strong and crafty men/women. Fortunately most smart people realize that.

  10. Kumar says:

    @heidi
    Can you cut down the hyperbole please . There are many women in my family (sister, cousins, aunts, mother etc) and they are doing just as good or bad as the male members of the family. And mine is a pretty ordinary middle class family, not NRIs or anything.
    Maybe your life is hard, maybe the women in your family are having a tough time, if that is the case then I sympathize with you and sincerely hope things get better for you but please remember that it is not the case for everyone. So stop talking like you represent the entire female gender because you don’t and you can’t, no one can for that matter. Every individual, male or female is different and experience life from vastly different perspectives.

    The women you see in Satyamev Jayate are either uneducated or financially dependent on someone else and that is why they don’t have a choice. If a women is financially independent and still chooses to be married to a guy who accepts dowry instead of a man who loves her then it is her fault. Individuals must take responsibility for personal choices, the society cannot hand hold you there. If I marry a girl for dowry instead of my love for her then only I am responsible for the unhappy married life that follows, no one else.

    The only responsibility of the society is to provide educational and employment opportunities without gender discrimination and that is being done already. If an educated and working individual settles for being a slave in a marriage then it is her mistake. There are laws that protect women against domestic violence, they can make use of them. Dowry harassment has the most stringent of laws under IPC. Please read up on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowry_law_in_India#IPC_Section_498A. Just by filing an FIR a women can get her husband and his relatives arrested, it is a non-bailable offence and the party must prove their innocence to be released.

    If you chose to ignore all this and continue to believe that women are in deep misery and that men are ruling the world and laughing all the time with hands on their hips then you are free to continue your delusional thinking. If women suffer so much in marriages then I wonder why they want to get married at all?, maybe you should think about this. Or you could always refer to the feminist doctrine which as always has a very believable answer that is firmly planted in logic, which is that marriage is a patriarchal tool to enslave women and exploit them and that men have, by using trickery and cunning, created an illusion to women that marriage is desirable for them.

    1. Considering this is directly aimed at Heidi, I am not going to respond to this. And also because we’ve had this exact conversation earlier too. :)

      1. Kumar says:

        Not aimed at her really, just here point of view. But thanks, I am not sure if I might survive another round with you in the ring ;)

  11. Jagadeesan.S. says:

    I happen to see this film only today i.e. 06-02-2012. There are a few male/female activists/lawyers who think that the (most cruel) juvenile rapist in the recent Delhi rape case can be reformed. This is real life. But you could not digest a film. Films are basically a reflection of real life incidents, of course exagerated for viewing. Take the message if it suits you or just forget it.
    I think you are young and have a long way to go. Life is nothing but sacrifices.

    1. Kumar says:

      Sacrifices are excellent when it happens from both sides, when it is expected from only one party, women in this case, then the appropriate term for that is subjugation.

      Selvaraghvan movies have always been emotional porn for male losers, there is nothing wrong with that but when the content is clearly offensive it must be called out. In this case the female lead is better educated, better groomed, better employed, better mannered, so in all ways a better member of the society. Why does she have to suffer physical and emotional abuse from a person who has not done anything to deserve that kind of servitude.
      If injury causing the mental problem in the character occurred when he was fighting for some noble cause or when he was trying to protect her then atleast you could find some reason for her actions. But in the absence of any such background the movie endorses the idea that no matter how accomplished the girl is and no matter how much of an under achiever the guy is, after marriage the wife is a legal slave to the husband.

      Since you talk about sacrifice let’s say your wife falsely accuses you of domestic violence, you end up in jail, lose your job and reputation. What happens when you finally come out, you ‘sacrifice’ and go back to living with her like nothing happened? If a movie shows that a good husband must behave that way then does it not encourage wives to lodge false cases and expect to get away with it?

  12. Jagadeesan .S. says:

    Mr. Kumar, I understand that you are qualified and well read.
    Now read th following:

    May be 20years or so back ,I happen to hear a branded paagal/eccentric/mentally unstable person answering so nicely.

    Q:to the paagal: People make fun of you a lot and you never seem to lose your temper.

    A: by the paagal: There are about 90 crore mad people in India besides me. How many can I fight and for how long ?

    Moreover Maitri Upanishad says :
    Donot try to change the world. Many have tried and failed. Your mind is your world and that is the eternal secret.

    In India the population had gone up to 120 crores from 90 crores.

    1. Kumar says:

      It’s tempting to agree with what you say but the reality is that while many have indeed tried and failed, many have also succeeded.

      We all are trying to change the world everyday, some in positive ways, some in negative ways. Even after trying let’s say we haven’t been able to change the world in a positive way and it remains the same then it can’t be called as a failure. Because it proves that our efforts have atleast served to counter-balance the negative change. Had we sat idle then the world would have changed for the worse.

      That is what is happening here, this movie has already made an impact in the minds of many people, this post is trying to balance out some of those changes. By commenting here you are also trying to change the world aren’t you. As long as we are not dead we change this world with every breath we take and every word we speak, whether we like it or not.

  13. Jagadeesan .S. says:

    I am sorry for the delay as I was shuttling between Mumbai and Chennai and was a little preoccuped.
    Few more words. I am not commenting but I give my ANUBHAVAMS and I tell my clients also the same thing. “That I give my observations and anubahvams and you may adapt/adopt it to your situations/circumstances. What is good for me need not necessarily be the same for you.
    If I can change an individual in his perceptions then I think my purpose of this birth is completed. But if I try to change a mob or even a group of people I will be a miserable failure.(You have stated that my logic is tempting to agree at the outset). I think I have triggered something in you. Thanks for an honest admiration and acceptance.
    Why not open up? I shall tell you about me after your reply.
    My Email: astrojagadeesan@yahoo.co.in, @gmail.com, @in.com

    1. Kumar says:

      You can indeed succeed in changing the mindset of entire groups of people, that is what leaders of the past have done and the ones in the present are doing. I said it is tempting to agree with your logic because it suggests giving in to circumstances, which is easy and we always find the easy option to be the most tempting. Standing up for one’s beliefs is the harder route.

      Since you are asking me to open up I will say this, it is pretty evident that you are an astrologer.
      Now there are three kinds of astrologers:
      1) One who knows that Astrology is not real but still practices it for the sole reason that it is a source of income.
      2) One who knows that Astrology is not real but still practices it to use it as a medium to help people with common sense based advice under the pretext of predictions
      3) One who is too naive to realize that Astrology is not real in spite of practicing it for many years.

      Unless you belong to the 2nd category I am very sure we won’t be enjoying each other’s company.

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