Bend it Like Beckham — An Analysis Through Gender-Lens
Women’s role lies at the heart of a number of cultural norms, forming a salient aspect of their survival. The football-themed movie, “Bend It Like Beckham” portrays an Indian girl, Jesminder “Jess” Bhamra struggling over her passion for football with her mom and other family members. She meets Jules (or Juliette Paxton), who invites Jess to become a part of the Hounslow Harriers, Jules’ football team. Jess accepts, joining the team against her mom’s wishes. Jess’s situation at home complicates further on account of the impending nuptials of her sister, an event that places considerable stress on her whole family. In spite of cultural differences, Jules and Jess face a situation at home where their moms cannot simply understand and support their passion for football — a sport for boys (Jamie Rees, 2012).
A young woman’s role in a gender-biased society
Upon learning that Jess wishes to join the Hounslow Harriers, Mrs. Bhamra bluntly tells her she can’t do so, as there are other, significantly Asian endeavors Jess simply must engage in (Gamal Abdel-Shehid & Nathan Kalman-Lamb, 2015):
She asserts her daughter’s played enough and that she dislikes the idea of her daughter “…running around half-naked in front of men.” She further rants about the unlikelihood of her getting wed if she continues running around with a football the entire day and doesn’t learn to “make round chapattis.” She asserts her wish for her daughter to quit football and learn to make a proper Punjabi dinner.
Gender is a significant theme in the movie. Traditionally, sports have, by and large, been viewed as masculine activities, diametrically opposite to feminine qualities. However, “Bend it Like Beckham” does not accept this view. By contrast, it believes females are more than competent when it comes to playing sports, and that the activity is definitely appropriate for females.
Overcoming Traditional Boundaries
One situation that tells the viewer on challenges faced by women in crossing traditional chasms is when Jess faces peer confrontation while playing football. A disturbing scene unfolds early on in the movie: three South Asian males with whom Jess has been playing soccer start poking fun at her and passing racy comments after the girl’s fouled. One asks whether she actually thinks she’s Beckham, another asks her whether she can chest the football like him, and the third actually urges her to do so. While their comments are clear attempts at reducing the girl to nothing but a sexual object, thereby negating her skill, she appears unruffled and actually kicks the ball at one of the boys’ groin, immediately making him an object of ridicule. The next scene shows her back at home, having been forced to leave the game early to help her mom with housework. The scene focuses on gender inequity, with Jess remarking about the unfairness of the situation, and how males never need to help at home (Gamal Abdel-Shehid & Nathan Kalman-Lamb, 2015). This scene is an example for the film showing women attempting to be progressive.
Attempt at underplaying stereotypes
Viewers get their first glimpse of Jess fantasizing about being a member of the Manchester United team. The scene shows her having scored the goal that brought them victory. Immediately, the scene cuts to Jess sporting a Manchester United shirt, in her bedroom, which is very unlike that of the typical girl; the room mostly features icons that are linked traditionally to men — football scarves and posters. Jess appears not to be conscious of her appearance like other young women, and doesn’t display any interest in ‘typical’ adolescent girl activities like shopping, clothes, make-up, boys, pop music, and so forth. When she’s finally forced by her mother to learn to make a traditional Punjabi meal, we can see her play keep-up with vegetables. It is only after Jess gets close to her coach, Joe, that she starts becoming conscious of her femininity, and changes (as depicted in the scene set in Hamburg, where she’s dressed up like a typical girl for a party, with her hair done up by Jules) (KIRKUP, 2003).
Understanding Maturity whilst being Progressive
Towards the movie’s end, both Jules and Jess have successfully bent gender norms for pursuing their dreams to become professional footballers. Their mothers, mostly shown cooking food, or working with it, appear to finally accept this future chosen by their daughters through food. At the onset, Mrs. Bhamra acts as an obstacle to her daughter’s future in football, by expecting her to stick to the kitchen as she does. However, she ultimately, lets Jess go after being certain that her daughter can continue her own heritage (symbolized by Punjabi cuisine). On the other hand, Jules’ mom is a comparatively less formidable obstacle to her daughter. However, clearly, her actions reveal a distancing between mother and daughter, because of the latter’s career choice. At the zenith of this estrangement, she is shown bearing a tray laden with food; subsequently, she uses food when she eventually understands and begins supporting Jules. As the movie comes under the comedy genre, it has a happy ending: both families are content, two girls become and remain the best of friends, and there emerges a novel, multicultural definition of the British teenage girl (Jamie Rees, 2012).
The movie enhances self-esteem, advocates following one’s personal values, and recognizes the acceptance of one’s flaws. Jess has a burn scar on her leg and initially, she feels embarrassed and ashamed. However, the support and positive attitudes she encounters help her get over it. Moreover, the movie furthers interpersonal value, in the form of camaraderie with people from other backgrounds and tolerance of others’ culture. A fine and natural blend of Indian and English culture is seen in the movie, despite only the 2nd generation of Indian immigrants being portrayed, who are still quite close to their native culture. Close familial bonds are apparent among Jess’s family members, particularly between her parents and her sister, Pinky. Also apparent is the strong South Asian value of utmost respect for elders: despite the conflict with regard to football, Jess respects her parents, and dislikes the idea of lying to them (Nunez, M.T. & Garcia, A.J., 2014).
Stereotyping spring from a belief that a particular culture or population is the ‘standard’ and, hence, superior to the other cultures or populations. Specifically, gender stereotypes emerge from the conjecture that females and males are two opposite categories: the males represent the standard and hence, females are the unfortunate exceptions to this standard. This tendency of gender categorization leads to stereotyping of labels employed when referring to females and males, and the establishment of fixed roles for them. Stereotyping’s relationship with gender portrayal in cinema may be explained by the fact that media is typically closely linked to popular ideologies which, successively, are inclined to overwhelmingly endorse binary gender systems (Marcella De Marco, 2006).
Determination and the courage to fight for what one believes in and wants to pursue lies at the core of this movie. Importance has also been given to intercultural friendship, an ever-increasing occurrence in the globalized 21st-century. As the story unfolds, one can see how well the sport has been utilized as a device around which themes like cultural tolerance, gender biases and norms, etc. have been dealt with (Nunez, M.T. & Garcia, A.J., 2014).
A key limitation in this movie’s ‘multiculturalism’ theme is that a rather narrow picture of culture has been portrayed, relying on numerous stereotypes (multiculturalist essentialist). Culture under multiculturalism has typically been reduced to clothing, food, music and dance. More significantly, multicultural versions have been frozen in time. In other words, they fail at testifying to how cultures are continually in flux, as culture is not naturally but historically constituted. Hence, through multiculturalism, the cultural domain is narrowed down, and how individuals from “other” cultures speak has been limited. If they fail to speak in terms of music, costume and food, there are many who quickly disregard them (Gamal Abdel-Shehid & Nathan Kalman-Lamb, 2015).
Progressive multiculturalism doesn’t constitute the movie’s lone social theme; women’s empowerment is equally portrayed here. Just the way assimilationist concepts are integrated into multiculturalism in the movie, some gender norms are reaffirmed, while others are trounced. On the whole, the movie rejects conventional femininity norms (for instance, the need to be heterosexual, domestic, and dress and look physically attractive to males). However, unfortunately, this hasn’t been achieved in a complicated way. Instead, characters who are most closely conformant to “traditional femininity” appear least credible in the movie. For instance, towards the movie’s end (Pinky’s wedding), Jess’s sister, Pinky asks her whether she doesn’t wish for all this, further remarking that this is supposed to be the best day of one’s life. In response, Jess claims she wants more. Whereas Jess plays soccer in her kitchen, Jules prefers sports bras over the push-up ones her mother suggests. The problematic aspect of this way of thinking is, women who choose to be something other than the standard North American woman (characterized by autonomy, a lack of enthusiasm for cooking, loose family ties, etc.), are viewed in a rather narrow fashion. As they have been portrayed in this light, viewers cannot really see the motive behind these women’s choice of life. The general view of them is that they’re foolish and backward (Gamal Abdel-Shehid & Nathan Kalman-Lamb, 2015).
Gamal Abdel-Shehid, & Nathan Kalman-Lamb. (2015). Multiculturalism, Gender and Bend it Like Beckham. Social Inclusion, 142-152.
Jamie Rees. (2012). Bend It Like Beckham and “Bending” the Rules. A Journal of Undergraduate Writing.
KIRKUP, M. (2003). Bend It Like Beckham. Film Education.
Marcella De Marco. (2006). Multiple portrayals of gender in cinematographic and audiovisual translation discourse. Audiovisual Translation Scenarios: Conference Proceedings.
Nunez, M.T., & Garcia, A.J. (2014). Analyzing and Teaching Diversity and Gender with a Case Study. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 70-77.
Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?
- Plagiarism free papers
- Timely delivery
- Any deadline
- Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
- Subject-relevant academic writer
- Adherence to paper instructions
- Ability to tackle bulk assignments
- Reasonable prices
- 24/7 Customer Support
- Get superb grades consistently
Online Academic Help With Different Subjects
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
What discipline/subjects do you deal in?
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
What if I don’t like the paper?
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
- When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
- We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.
In the event that you don’t like your paper:
- The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
- We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
- Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.
Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
What if the paper is plagiarized?
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
When will I get my paper?
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
Will anyone find out that I used your services?
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
How our Assignment Help Service Works
1. Place an order
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
2. Pay for the order
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
3. Track the progress
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
4. Download the paper
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!