Posted by Tanvi Sharma
While the online entertainment industry is slowly tackling gender prejudices and portraying more female-centred movies and series, what we still fail to address are monologues that are merely examples of years of internalised misogyny and ignorance.
Four More Shots Please was branded as a feminist show celebrating women and their lives. Though it touched upon and talked about society’s usually hushed up topics like female masturbation, the sexuality spectrum, and workplace harassment, it still feeds on the roots of internalised prejudice. While the show addressed a lot of important issues, they were still backed by stigmas and stereotypes, making it a bit hypocritical.
Here are four specific reasons why Four More Shots Please went amiss.
1. You Like Cocktails? Don’t Be A Sissy.
Toxic gender norms are extremely deep rooted in our lives, from the choice of toys in kids to alcohol choices in adults.
One of the female lead characters, Siddhi asks for a cocktail and the male bartender blatantly refuses to make one, because it’s a ‘sissy drink’ and he only serves hard drinks. The characters swoosh by this sexist remark that flows in within the first 10 minutes of this seemingly feminist show, completely ignoring how much of a problematic word ‘sissy’ is.
And when Mohit hits on a straight man, the latter states his interests as “watching sports and playing video games”, immediately establishing the fact that he’s straight.
Sissy is often used to describe men that have feminine interests and are hence deemed weak. It’s a pejorative word that feeds off patriarchal teachings of strong masculinity and weak femininity.
2. Sexuality And Stereotypes
As embracing as this show was of bisexuality, it is completely ignorant of gay stereotypes portrayed during several dialogues of the show.
Siddhi goes on a date with a guy, Mohit, who upon meeting her tells her that the empire line doesn’t suit her. A straight guy who knows about fashion? It is not possible and doesn’t exist. And this is how the show introduces its gay character. And when Mohit hits on a straight man, the latter states his interests as “watching sports and playing video games”, immediately establishing the fact that he’s straight.
This is such a clear example of heteronormativity that patriarchy has taught us over the years, and is still not talked about enough.
Representation of the LGBTQIA+
3. All Bodies Are Acceptable, As Long As Men Approve
This show has an ignorant take on body positivity and doesn’t get the concept quite right. With dialogues like, “Men like curves, dogs like bones” and body-shaming thinner women to make curves feel more desirable, is everything that is wrong with the representation of such a sensitive issue.
Siddhi is shown to have a lot of body-image issues, thanks to her mother’s constant criticism. Her ‘best friends’ never seem to offer any validation or words of support to her, because as long as fat is not on your body, it’s not your problem.
Bollywood and web entertainment need to make their feminist portrayal more intersectional.
There were several instances of her feeling validated only if it appeals to the male gaze. Body-positivity community fights each day to help women realise the repercussions of diet culture and how brands feed off their insecurities. It is important to address the issue correctly: as self-accepting, not society-approving.
4. OCD Being Stigmatised And Misunderstood
One of the great things about the show was certainly the acknowledgement of mental illness and the portrayal of lives of the people living with it. However, the hit-and-miss was addressing certain stereotypes that come with it.
Siddhi causally jokes that one of her friends is also diagnosed with OCD and maintains a poop diary and the girls laugh and brush it off. People diagnosed with OCD struggle with habits stemmed from compulsive behaviour and this disorder has been romanticised in entertainment for years. Jokes surrounding behavioural patterns of people struggling with mental disorders are insensitive and only helps in increasing the stigma more.
Four More Shots Please has a lot of positives and it is great that creators are addressing issues centring women that have been ignored for years. The portrayal of women pleasuring themselves, not needing male validation, exploring their sexualities and just being themselves is so important and much-needed. Though, what we still see in shows like these are instances of internalised misogyny and prejudiced norms of various marginalised groups of society.
They circle around the concept of feminism, cutting the branches of the patriarchal tree, but still keep watering the roots while following stereotypical gender norms.
Four More Shots Please revolves around the lives of four privileged women living in South Bombay. Bollywood and the web entertainment need to make their feminist portrayal more intersectional. It would reach out to a much larger audience and help us identify and stem out years of patriarchal conditioning.
A student of chemical engineering, Tanvi seeks to find her voice as an artist to address and fight issues surrounding mental health, body positivity, sexuality and feminism. You can follow her on Instagram.
Featured Image Source: Telegraph India