Bend it like Beckham is an English comedy film which directed by Gurinder Chadha in 2002. The heroin of the film, Jessmider Bhamra is an 18 years old girl who come from a traditional Indian family and live in London with her family. As an Indian-born girl who living in London, Jess has a great football talent. She loves football and her hero is Beckham. Her room is full of photos of Beckham. Her dream is to be an outstanding player like Beckham. However, this is not allowed in her Indian families. Her strict Indian parents wants Jess to be a normal Indian girl who focus on her studies, learn to prepare an Indian meal, and married to a nice Indian boy. By chance, Jess meets the Hounslow Harriers team member, Juliette “Jules” Paxton, who invites her to join her football team. Jess accepted the invitation and join the team and start to play football, she against with her families’ expectation. In this movie, audiences can see that how Jess strive to pursue her dream regardless of her family opposition. Jess’s families think that girl must stay at home and learn to prepared Indian meal and marry to a nice Indian guy in their whole life, but Jess break through this traditional mind-set, she wear shorts and football shoes, and plays football with guys in the field, she also concealed her parents that she has joined the female football team. Feminism is strongly portrayed in this film, Jess proved that women do not have to be at home to take care their home or relying on men to live, women can also do a lots of things that men do, such as plays football, this movie shown that woman can have equal opportunity and achieve same as men.
Feminist theory is a series of ideologies and movements, it defines establish, defensive, political, personal, economic, and social rights for women (Salik, 2017). This includes to create equal opportunities for women in employment and education (Salik, 2017). Feminist theory believes that women should enjoy the equal rights with men (Great Baddow High School Media,2013). Therefore, the feminist strives for equal rights and opportunities for women (Great Baddow High School Media,2013). This theory believes in economic, political and social equality between the two sexes. The feminist theory is to empowers women worldwide (Myeni, 2015). Feminism can be defined as the criticism and recognition of male supremacism and the efforts to change it (Myeni, 2015). Feminism is to show the importance of women and to reveal that women are subordinate to men in the history, and also emphasize on gender equality (Myeni, 2015). Feminists strives for equality for women and believe that women should share social opportunities and intimidate resources equally (Myeni, 2015).
Scene and Theory Application
As a descendant of a traditional Indian immigrant family, religion, family and gender seem to be destined for her future, but Jess is not willing to become a normal Indian housewife who only knows how to cook curry. She loves football and hopes to play like her idol David Beckham. The behaviour of Jess playing football naturally caused a conflict at home. This film shown Jess’s passion and enthusiasm for football. Jess is really love football and passionate about it. From one of the scene in the movie, audiences can clearly see Jesse’s enthusiasm for football, when she was helping her mother in the kitchen, she use the food ingredients to practice football such as kicking potato, tomato and cabbage. In Jess’s room, audience can see that she is really a crazy fan of David Beckham, her room was full of the photos of David Beckham, from this scene, and therefore audiences can see the passion of Jess toward football. Normally, the traditional Indian girl will not interested in the male dominated game like football, but Jess break this obsolete and conservative mind-set, she bravely pursues her own ideals regardless of her family opposition.
This movie has portrayed the values of different culture. Jess and her Indian family are living in London, England, which means they are living in different culture, this clearly show the differences culture and custom between India and England. The lifestyle of Jess family is still an eastern culture lifestyle, they oppose with the Western lifestyle. For example, Jess’s mum prepared Indian meal every day, the decoration of their house is a typical Indian house with a photo of Babaji. Jess’s father ask Jess to swear on Babaji’s name that she is not kissing with an English boy at the bus stop. Jess has break the traditional mind-set of Indian, which is girl must be a good housewife, good cooker with good behaviour and not allowed to show bare feet, and play football like men. The director has revealed the different culture of Indian and England to the audience. There is also a scene that show the different culture of Indian and England, when Jess changes her sari to a football shorts, this scene had change a traditional Indian house women to an athlete girl. There is also a difference during their football training, where Jess wearing Jersey and Jules wearing with a sport bra. This scene shown that different culture of feminist perspective, Eastern girl are more conservative while Western girl are more open in wearing.
This film has strongly portrayed the important issues from the feminist perspective, such as religion, race and gender. The two female protagonists of this film, Jess and Jules have proved that women can also do the things that men do, they joined the female football team “Hounslow Harriers”, and they call out for gender discrimination in sports, they participate in the activities that were not considered stereotypically feminine. In addition, one of the main purposes of the film is to bring together the two girls from two different culture background and show their differences. From this film, audiences can have a deep understanding of Jess’s Indian background and her traditional family values, as well as the attitude of Jules’ low-key racist parents. Jess, the young girl from a traditional Indian family oppose to her family expectation on her in order to achieve her dream which is become a great football player. Her family think that she should learn to cook Indian meal, find a good Indian guy to marry, and also focus on her academic but not playing football on the field like a boy. On the other side, the other protagonist of the film, Jules also has the difficulties that she needs to face. Jules is a tomboyish girl in the female football team. Her mother worried about her interest which is playing football, because her mother thinks that football game is a male dominated game, and this interest will make Jules become more masculine, she worried that her football fanatic daughters will not be able to find a boyfriend or even become a lesbian because she is too addicted to football. From the feminist perspective, this film has shown that how the two girls against her family because of their passionate to their interest, they both struggle in between the perception and culture of their family and their interest. This two young girls who passionate toward football had misunderstood by both of their parents. Jess love football, but her culture is not allowed her to play football, her traditional parents prohibit her to play football and stop her interest because of their traditional mind-set, and they think that Indian girl should be a good housewife who take care of home. Jess’s parents make her struggle to make a choice in between her interest and family. On the other hand, Jules feel pressure because of her mother, her mother think that she is too masculine and athletic, she hopes that she can more feminine, she also misunderstanding her daughter and thinks that she is a lesbian.
Jess’s father and her friend who saw her talents on football and hope her to succeed, they are willing to sacrifices for her in order to help her break the religious and cultural barriers. For instance, Jess’s father help Jess to escape from her sister’s wedding ceremony in order to let her participate in the football finale, her Indian friend Tony also help her to escape in this scene. The story of this film is full of family conflicts and cultural conflicts. The girls are training like a male football player, running on the field with their great football skill. This film has shown that girls from different races and culture also can show themselves in sports. Moreover, this male dominated sports can change the girls’ lives and change the stereotype perceptive of people towards female.
After completing the analysis, it gives the audiences a realistic view of women’s prejudice, pressures and difficulties in sports. However, this film has shown a positive aspects successfully by portraying Jesse and Jules as the role models for young women to express the dynamics of what women should not do and more about what they can do, it successfully demonstrates the positive aspects of women. The director successfully exposed the power of women, although Jess is a young Indian girl who living in London and born in a traditional typical Punjabi family, facing the patriarchal and matriarchal problems of Mrs. Bhamra’s traditionalism, she oppose Jess to show her bare legs in the public and join a male dominated sport like football, but Jess still do not give up on her own interest. Jess’s family is a typical traditional Indian, they do not like their daughter to be exposed. They believe that sports is an improper amusement for Jess, all she needs to do is pay attention on her studies and marriage. Jess is struggling between family and interest in football, and facing those critics from family culture who always think that that football is a man’s game. She has opposed that “football is not a female profession” by prove that she would be better than others and Jess continued her football interest by getting sponsor from the overseas California. In addition, the film also proves that the status between men and women is equal, women can participate in and even join the male’s sports. From this movie, audiences can learn that the power of women is strong. Although Jess and Jules are facing a lot of troubles to pursue their interest, they never give up and fight for their dream, and lastly success and achieve their goal. The director has use the element of culture, gender and races from the perspective of feminist to portray that women can do anything they want regardless the barrier of their culture, races and gender, women can did well in the things that men did well too. In a nutshell, this film reflect the realistic of the pressures, prejudices and difficulties that women face because their gender, religious traditions, cultural barriers, lack of opportunities and the expectation and perspective of their family. Bend It Like Beckham is not only showing the victory of two young and innovative women that pursue their dreams and convince their family and friends to support their interest, but it has showed others how they do it.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Media, G. B. (2013, January 8). Feminism Theory. Retrieved from SlideShare: https://www.slideshare.net/Katrinabrookes/feminism-theory
Myeni, S. (2015, October 28). Feminist theory. Retrieved from SlideShare: https://www.slideshare.net/snlmyeni/feminist-theory-54482790
Salik, M. (2017, August 23). Feminist Theory. Retrieved from SlideShare: https://www.slideshare.net/ModSalik/feminist-theory-79079921