Kathmandu: Research on ‘Representation of Women and Girls in Nepal’s Cinema’ has revealed that Nepali films perpetuate harmful stereotypes that prevent girls and young women from fulfilling their potential.
The research also showed that Women and girls are rarely presented as leaders, and even when they are in leadership positions they are far more likely than men to be sexually objectified.
The research was undertaken as part of Plan International Nepal’s social campaign ‘Girls Get Equal’. The research conducted by Docskool has analysed 47 films, television, online materials and visual advertisements emphasizing on film’s content, filmmakers, and Nepali cinema’s audiences.
Besides content study, key informant interviews with film professionals, and film representatives, alongside focus group discussions with girls and young women from Province 1 (Sunsari), Bagmati Province (Sindhuli and Kathmandu), Lumbini Province (Banke) and Karnali province (Jumla) were conducted.
“Women are always treated as a second class in Nepal’s cinema. They are either shown working at home, or as a sexual companion. There may have been discussions about representations like these, but very little change is seen”.
Abhimanyu Dixit, co-writer of the research paper said, “Women are always treated as a second class in Nepal’s cinema. They are either shown working at home, or as a sexual companion. There may have been discussions about representations like these, but very little change is seen”.
The research also found that the majority of women were projected as girlfriend/wives, mothers or concubines who relied on men to make their decisions.
Their decisions were either questioned, and their legitimacy was undermined through a prominent male presence in the films, according to the report.
The report states that out of 102 women characters analyzed, only five women characters were shown to have a mission beyond romance. Most of the films intent to normalize violence against women and out of 345 characters only eight represented LGBTIQ+, most were there for comic purpose, according to the report.
Prasen Khati, Influencing, Communications and Campaign Director for Plan International Nepal said that the research initiated by young professionals is an important step to influence and challenge gender based social norms by breaking the stereotypes that directly impact lives of girls and women in our society.
The report was launched during a 4-day virtual edutainment program ‘LET’S SHE-NEMA’ that was organized by Gauthali Entertainment.
During the launching event, Manoj Pandit, filmmaker, critic said, “Nepali Cinema’s very foundation is based on the belief that tears sell. We write sob stories because we know that brings money”.
He emphasized the need for us to emphasize a larger social change that’s not limited to cinema.
Chiranjibi Guragain, Film Archive & International Relations Officer at Film Development Board, said that the FDB will support filmmakers who are selected at international competitions and film festivals. He also added that the development board is aware that there is much to be done in the area of women in film.