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 of the Film
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.
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.
Jess and Jules, our two female protagonists, are quick to recognize and call out sexism in sports, and misogyny in general in regards to taking part in activities not deemed stereotypically feminine. Also, part of the movie’s main purpose was bringing together two girls of different cultural backgrounds and embracing their diversity. THIS IT ACCOMPLISHES. We get amazing insight into Jess’ Indian background and her lower class traditionalist family, as well as Jules’ more financially well-off situation, complete with low-key racist parents.
The creative storyline included a role reversal of sorts, as two young women who loved (and exceeded at) the sport of football were both misunderstood by their parents. Jess, the Indian daughter of a Sikh father, who himself had been kicked off an athletic team as a young man for wearing a turban, found himself both sympathetic and empathetic of his daughter’s desire to play a sport in which she was being forbidden to play for reasons outside of her control. The other young woman, Jules, was constantly pressured (and questioned) by her mother for being too athletic and masculine, not feminine enough…and possibly lesbian.1
The same goes to Jules, a tomboyish girl who is in a football team. She objects her mother’s disagreement toward her interest yet continues joining the male dominated game. This movie is about how the both girls struggle in between interest and family’s culture and perception.
From a feminist perspective, this film powerfully, yet subtly presented important themes, dealing with issues of gender, race, and religion. First, both Jess’s friend and father—two Indian men who respected her talents and wanted her to succeed—were willing to make sacrifices for her to step out from under the cultural barriers of her religion. Second, Jules’ family conceded that their daughter was “born to be an athlete” and this was not something unusual for a female, but a wonderfully positive characteristic of their child. Third, a script that shows how people of different races and religions can respect and even enjoy each other’s differences is a brilliant way to change the culture.
Finally, on a personal note, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and related to many aspects of it. But the movie primarily created awareness and interest for me in (1) the British Indian Sikh religion and traditions, as well as (2) the history of Women’s football.
Just minimal research of the Sikh religion, revealed that a father’s concession to a daughter to professionally play a sport or leave in the middle of a traditional wedding of a family member would have been highly unusual—and very progressive. But because the storyline included a time in the father’s life when he was held back from his own athletic pursuits as a young man, it made the plot seem as if it could have been a real life dilemma or situation.2
Overall, I felt this film gave a very realistic view of the difficulties, pressures and prejudices women in sport face—and will continue to face—because of family expectations, lack of opportunity, gender and cultural barriers, as well as religious traditions. More importantly, Bend It Like Beckham not only presented a victory for two trailblazing young women who followed their dreams and rallied their family and friends to support them, but it showed others how to do it!
Upon the completion of analyzing, it had given audience a realistic view on prejudice, difficulties and pressures of women in sport. However it success in presenting a positive side of women by portraying Jess and Jules as the role model of young womanhood where they indicates the dynamics of control and regulation about what woman ought not to do, and more about what they can do. The director succeed in revealing the women’s power because although Jess as a young feisty Indian-Anglo London girl who born from a traditional and typical Punjabi Family, facing the oppression of matriarchal and patriarchal issue due to the traditionalistic of Mrs Bhamra, she disagree with her showing bare legs to the public and joining the unladylike sports like soccer yet she still do not give up. Jess’ family is typical Indian, dislike daughter to be exposed. They are categorized as the hidebound traditionalist nevertheless they hold a perception of sports is improper pastime Jess where she needs to focus on her university and marriage. She had been struggling in between her family and interest in soccer meanwhile facing critics from her family culture where they keep in mind that soccer is a men’s game. Though she against the norm where “soccer is not a women’s occupation” by proofing herself can be better than others and finally Jess get sponsor from oversea-California to continue her soccer interest. Moreover, this film also proved there’s an equivalent status in between male and female where female can actually get involve or even join men’s game. Lesson can be studied and gained from this film is that Women’s power is strong, Jess and Jules fight for their dream and do not give up easily although facing many obstacle yet in the end they succeed in showing “The wonderfulness of Women’s soccer” as the title of this film were hinting that bending the rules in order achieve one’s goal.
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