This section will address the concepts of sex, gender, gender roles, heterosexuality and glass ceiling effect as applied to our movie. The plot of the film “Provoked: A True Story” provides a number of examples of gender and sexuality.
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The case of Kiranjit Ahluwalia who murdered her husband setting fire to his feet while he was sleeping is used to illustrate the widely spread social problem of domestic violence and redefine the concept of provocation of battered women. Although the action is set after the murder has already been committed and the husband and the wife are not depicted as sexual beings, the horrifying details of their family life and habits are disclosed during the investigation.
As I understand from the class reading and discussion, the concept of sex is defined as an inborn genetic program with a set of sexual hormones and physiological characteristics complimented by the social influences and stereotypes as to the traditional gender roles and behavioral characteristics.
The relationships between the two sexes are depicted in the context of the investigation and the struggle of the social organization Southhall Black Sisters for the release of Kiranjit. I used the mechanism of visual coding for identifying the differences between the sexes.
Most women are depicted as thin and helpless creatures in a protecting position during the largest part of the film with fear and tears in their eyes. It is possible to say that they are women not only by their appearance but also by their oppressed position and corresponding behavior. It is evident that sexuality of the main character became the precondition for some of their family conflicts, such as her husband abusing her because of his jealousy.
One can tell that Kiranjit is a woman by her petite female figure, long hair and facial characteristics as well as by her reproductive capabilities because she has two children and was shown as pregnant in some episodes from her memories. Her injuries and tears became visual signs of her weakness and helplessness.
The men in the film are depicted as much stronger and more aggressive members of the society with their body muscles, evident physical strength and the facial hair. As opposed to women who try to protect themselves, men are depicted as aggressive and attacking with their lower and harsher voices and attempts to use physical strength for manipulating females or because of their inability to control their emotions. The sex of Kiranjit’s husband is obviously male with his body shape and behavioral characteristics.
The definition of the term gender is not limited to the physiological characteristics and their visual realizations and implies the terms of gender identity and gender roles in the context of a particular culture and community. Along with showing particular attributes of belonging to a male and a female gender, the individual’s identification with a particular sex which can be defined as gender identity is meaningful.
The concept of gender role can be defined as a behavioral pattern in the paradigm of the community’s expectations. The men’s role is that of protectors and leaders, while the most women are passive and dependant on them. Kiranjit did not know her husband before they married but when she tried to object, she was told that she did not actually need to. The girl mentioned her unfinished education as one of the arguments but it did not prove to be weighty enough.
Her husband’s role is not limited to protecting and supplying the family with all the essentials but predetermines also the regulatory function which was often contiguous with manipulations and overcontrol. It is her husband who decides whether Kiranjit should change her clothes or dance with another man, it is he who decides what is good and what is bad. The man considers his wife to be his property and is dissatisfied if someone else approaches the object of his ownership.
Kiranjit wears long skirts, flowered dresses and jewelry in contrast with the other women who wear trousers in the majority of episodes. It is possible that it was author’s intentional choice aimed at emphasizing the woman’s feminine features along with her inability to protect herself. When she cuts her hair under the guidance of her prison friend, it becomes the indicator of her growing inner strength and the beginning of her struggle for her rights. Thus, the short hair as the masculine feature becomes the symbol of strength.
The concept of heterosexuality is defined as the attraction between the opposite sexes. The plot of the film “Provoked: A True Story” is based on the examples of heterosexuality. The movie represents the relationship in a heterosexual family.
The couple has got two children and it is the evidence of their reproductive capabilities while a man prefers a woman and a woman prefers a man. The concept of homosexuality can be defined as individuals’ sexual attraction to the representatives of the same sex. The instances of homosexual attraction of some girls are shown in prison as one of the misbalances in the society.
The main idea of the film “Provoked: A True Story” is preconditioned with the problem of heterosexual relationship when one spouse is noticeably stronger and another one is weaker and because of physiological characteristics and gender role dependent upon the partner. All the conflicts and instances of domestic abuse in the family are preconditioned with the heterosexuality.
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Kiranjit’s husband not only paid attention to her appearance but also tried to predict the reaction of other males to her looks, inducing her to change her clothes before going out and suffering from jealousy when he saw another man’s interest in her. When Kirnajit was dancing with another man, her spouse noticed some signs of heterosexual physical attraction in the behavior of the man, interpreting his eyes expressions and movements as an invasion on his territory whereas he regards his wife as his property.
Another sociological concept which was used by the author of the film “Provoked: A True Story” is the Glass Ceiling Effect. The concept of glass ceiling can be defined as the social barrier which prevents women from career promotion and rising to the top management positions (Brym and Lie 326). Primarily, Kiranjit’s lack of education and her commitment to family responsibilities minimize her chances for the development in the professional sphere in general, not to mention career growth.
She spoke about her unfinished education before her marriage it means that she had certain ambitions as to her professional development but the realities of her family life and her husband’s behavior became hurdles for realization of Kiranjit’s dreams. Obviously, the struggle for her release strengthened her, as she learned not only English but what is even more significant she learned to protect her rights and after she reunited with her children, there appeared hope for woman’s better tomorrow.
The sociological concepts of sex, gender, gender roles, heterosexuality and glass ceiling effect as applied to the movie “Provoked: A True Story” were used by the author for covering the issues of sex and sexuality in a motion picture.
Brym, Robert and John Lie. Sociology: Your Compass for a New Life. 3-rd ed. Belmont: Thomson Learning. 2007. Print.