Bosses, Booze, Boys and Besties.
I couldn’t recall the last time I watched an Indian show, be it my coconutty choices or the lack of decent options. The moment I saw a trailer for a chicklit based on Indian women, I knew I had to binge on it the second it was released. Unfortunately for me, that was on a weekday so I pulled an all-nighter and got through all 5 hours of what I can confidently call one of the most refreshing shows I have watched.
Indian aunties will probably always be loyal to Indian soaps. But the majority of these series refuse to get progressive and get with the times. For shows aimed at women, the creators really hate women- I have never seen a protagonist being happy for longer than 10 minutes. Everyone is out to get her, but she is too respectful and sanskari to stand up for herself, so she usually remains miserable, hoping for either karma or someone else to solve her problems for her. Because standing up for herself is NOT SANSKAARI, which seems to be the only thing that matters. That’s probably why it is so difficult to get older Indian women to understand a lot of concept surrounding feminism and sexuality.
I will hand it to shows like Patiala Babes (yeah it’s a cringe name but it’s a good show) for attempting to break free from this standard plot. From what I have seen, I know this show depicts some strong and independent female characters.
Is Four More Shots Please (FMSP) groundbreaking in terms of its plot and script? No. So, for people looking to challenge their intellectual abilities on a Friday night, this is not your cup of tea (also, why would you want that on a Friday night?). If you want spend a few hours watching relatable, heartwarming and hilarious characters, this is the show for you. Either way, this isn’t meant to be a review. This post is a young woman’s view on why “raunchy” shows like these are essential.
Masturbation and Sexuality: Ooh this blog post just turned scandalous didn’t it? FMSP normalises masturbation and while it has always been an uncomfortable subject to discuss and portray in Indian society (especially when it comes to women), it is perfectly natural. Women are not slutty for embracing their bodies and talking about them. Most people have sex, I mean, the population of our country proves that, so why have we made discussing it so taboo? Watching a show that has sexual themes or that talks about it does not make the show or viewer “cheap”. Shows like FMSP, Sex Education and Big Mouth, that openly discuss sex have been more educational than biology class ever was. Tbh, I could never even talk to parents about having a crush on someone, let alone sexual issues.
Jealousy: Everybody gets jealous. In most soaps, it’s only ever the villains that get jealous. But jealousy is a normal human emotion and being jealous of someone to a certain extent doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person or turn your skin green. Whether it be your colleague getting promoted before you or your ex finding the love of their life while you’re pointlessly swiping on Bumble, jealousy will undoubtedly creep into your head from time to time. Jealousy can get toxic but controlling our jealousy and not letting it take over our lives is something that we all have to deal with. FMSP potrays just that.
Insecurities: Career. Relationships. Appearance. Insecurity comes in all shapes and sizes, usually not caused by vixens (ahem, Indian TV soaps). Adulthood is messy and while I am not a full-fledged adult yet, from my limited experience and having been exposed to bits and pieces of adult life, I can confidently say that it seems scary already. The constant pressure to perform and look your best certainly takes a toll on your mind. This show acknowledges career obstacles, body positivity and family issues- things that we hesitate to talk about openly. FMSP reminds you that you are not alone and that everyone faces these very realistic struggles.
Female Friendships: Not every woman in the world is out to get you. The first step of feminism is to support other women, regardless of whether you agree with their life choices. Somebody’s sexuality or number of sexual partners does not reflect their character- we as women have to respect each other. All I see in Indian soaps is women plotting against other women- usually for a mediocre man. Men can be great, but they’re NEVER worth a feud. FMSP is feminist, especially in terms of women building each other up but it does so in a fun and fresh way.
To me, potraying women going out, sleeping around and complaining about first world problems does not constitute fake feminism. Being able to relate to women like this is a privilege in itself. While we may be “modern women” and be a lot more empowered than women in villages or even smaller towns, we still have several obstacles to overcome before our patriarchal society realises that drinking and discussing and/or having sex do not say anything about a woman’s character and morals. FMSP is not just about a group of slutty and bratty women who only drink and have sex all day. It’s about a group of women we can all relate to, with some serious outfit envy! Shows like these are essential to normalise the idea of portraying female sexuality and independence. FMSP reminds us that a girl can be ambitious, a prude, a feminist and a slut all in one day (it’s literally the opening line).
While there are certain problematic aspects in the show, that Feminism in India has highlighted here, I still believe that it is a step in the right direction of feminist portrayal in Indian shows.