A Critical Examination of Cultural Influences in the Film Bend It Like Beckham

The movie ‘Bend it like Beckham’ resonates with me strongly, because the battle between Western and Indian culture is all too familiar. The main character ‘Jess Bhamra’ personifies this conflict in the most perfect and relatable way. Being a primary era Australian-born woman with Indian heritage, I can personally attest to having to simultaneously maintain two very totally different cultures that so often clash. ‘Bend it like Beckham’, is a movie telling the story of an Indian woman whose solely real aim in life, a lot to her parents’ dismay, is to play professional soccer.

As Jess embarks on her trying journey of self-development in a cross-cultural house, she befriends fellow soccer fanatic and player Jules who convinces Jess to hitch the native women’s soccer team. This friendship provides an fascinating perspective on the Western culture, by offering the responder an insight into the struggles of Jules’ life, a few of which are very same struggles current for Jess. The diasporic identities which are Jess’ parents are not ill intentioned, however slightly overbearing of their persistence of Jess’ obligations to her historically Sikh family.

Thematic aspects of etic-emic distinction are raised on this movie and include the position of ladies, homosexuality, stereotypes, cross-generational behaviours and integration by relational concept. All such themes are highlighted by the culture clash at play, as Jess attempts to know some sense of identity in an over-protected Indian house. Women’s roles in both Western and Indian cultures are thoroughly scrutinized within the film. Jess expresses some discomfort in assuming the normal role of a Sikh lady as stipulated by her dad and mom.

This is the primary supply of discontent throughout the movie, as her ethnocentric parents actually, and considerably naively, maintain the assumption that becoming a lawyer and marrying a man within their group is the key to happiness. As was noted in Article one of Part A, the Asian culture holds loyalty to family-kin relationships and obedience to elders in very excessive esteem. In this regard, Jess’ Western values of freedom of selection and private fulfilment take a backseat. This is highlighted in a conversation that happens together with her Western teammates, the place hey ask her how she is able to ‘stand’ getting an ‘arranged marriage’ to which she replies, “It’s simply culture” with a certain nonchalance. In doing so Jess is demonstrating that she is culture-bound, conditioned to the Indian cultural practiced of ‘arranged marriages’. The final attribution error committed by Jess’ parents isn’t a results of ill-intentions, rather a safety mechanism against unknown western influences. The role of ladies within the Western culture just isn’t spared of social commentary in this film.

It is attention-grabbing that Chadha, the Indian-born author, director and producer of the movie, chooses to look at the social constructs surrounding the implications of a women’s soccer group in England. As there is not a skilled English women’s soccer league, one can safely assume that football isn’t an appropriate past time for women. This concept is reaffirmed by Jules’ mom who, all through the film, holds a very traditional English view on the function of ladies in society.

She usually expresses her disapproval with sentiments similar to, “Nobody’s going to exit with a lady who’s bigger muscle tissue than him! ” Jess’ mother subscribes to the Indian tradition of a girl as a homemaker by saying, “What kind of household would want a daughter-in-law who could play football however not cook? ” expressing a lot the identical outlook as Jules’ mother, various solely by the respective women’s contexts. Such generalisations about women’s social placement can be seen in Article four of Part A.

Adams et al. (2010) acknowledges the place of girls in Spanish society as home-maker figures by hypothesising girls to be more ready in polychronic environments. It can additionally be seen that the Western culture as an entire participates in the alienation of the staff as a end result of unfeminine associations. This is seen when Jess makes the purpose that ‘Indian’ girls don’t play soccer. Jules pointedly remarks, “It’s not just an ‘Indian’ thing. How many individuals come out to support us? The girls clearly seek an equality matching relationship with the men’s group. The idea of homosexuality is broached on this movie. While the notion remains to be taboo in Indian tradition, Chadha makes a statement by depicting the West to be extra informed but equally disapproving.

This is illustrated by the undue paranoia felt by Jules’ mom when she mistakes the friendship between Jules and Jess as one thing extra. When confronted, Jules exclaims, “Mum, just because I wear trackies and play sport doesn’t make me a lesbian! The matter-of-fact feel of this conversation and level of homosexual awareness within the Western tradition is contrasted by Jess’ grandmother’s comment, “Why did she name Jess a lesbian? I thought she was a Pisces” Her apparent lack of know-how in complicated homosexuality and astrological star signs point out her tradition blind nature. As if to reiterate the secretive taboo that’s homosexuality in the Indian tradition, Chadha scripts Tony, Jess’ childhood male good friend, as a gay. Jess’ reaction to the information is indicative of a typical first-generation non-resident-Indian, a result of cultural conditioning.

Her shock is portrayed via her exclamation, “But you’re Indian! ” as if to say homosexuality is solely non-existent within the Indian tradition. Jess soon recovers and shows an acceptance far higher than that of her own grandmother or Jules’ mother and tells Tony that she is “okay” with him “liking David Beckham”. While Chadha goals to resist and counter some stereotyping, the stereotyping of Indian communities as ‘backward’ and ‘conservative’ remains to be very prevalent throughout the film.

Jules’ mom innocently typifies the Indian culture in her first encounter with Jess by making statements such as, “I wager your mother and father are fixing you up with a handsome younger doctor soon” and “Jess, I hope you’ll be able to educate my daughter a bit about your culture, including respect for elders and the like. ” She quickly learns of Jess’ involvement in Jules’ soccer membership and meekly states, “I’ve never seen an Indian girl play soccer before”. Jules’ mom reveals culture-blind behaviour and has very fastened notions about Indian tradition; she exudes disbelief as Jess dispels these essentialising notions.

Chadha additional breaks free from the stereotyping of organized marriages by scripting Jess’ sister, Pinky, as having a ‘love’ marriage. When Jess tells her teammates that her sisters’ marriage was a ‘love match’, the show of acculturation permits for her teammates to be taught that the Indian culture isn’t as backward and conservative as is perceived. It appears that for an Indian household living abroad, the generational gap between parent and baby is magnified by the overlay of cross-cultural aspects. Jess and her father share the same penchant for sport and both qualified to participate in quasi-professional groups in England.

When each characters are on the receiving end of racial slurs on the sector, they both react true to their cultural upbringing. Jess’ father demonstrates an ‘Eastern’ submission and interdependent self-concept by strolling away from the sport and quashing any hopes of returning to the sphere. Jess, nonetheless, displayed a extra ‘Western’ dominance and independent self-concept by physically retaliating, costing her a ‘red card’ and a brief suspension from enjoying. The Eastern mentality of obedience is also famous by Chang et al (2007) in stating “anti-hierarchical behaviour just isn’t allowed in Taiwanese workplaces”.

The movie culminates in Pinky’s extravagant marriage ceremony, very true to Indian tradition. As an unfortunate coincidence, the football Grand Finals are held on the same day, rendering Jess unable to attend her football match and compelling her to her sister-of-the-bride duties. Throughout the film, Chadha depicts Jess’ dad and mom in a harsh, dictatorial mild nevertheless, her fathers’ wish for her happiness compassionately exceeds his personal expectations, “If it’s the only thing that may put a smile in your face one the day of your sister’s wedding, go and play. Jess reluctance to go away suggests that she strongly identifies with household ties and cultural commitments. Urged by Tony, she ultimately leaves the marriage to play the last half of the football match, winning the sport and landing a possibility to play professional soccer in America. Through Relational Theory her mother and father understand that to have a significant social relationship with their daughter they want to actively search to know her cultural viewpoint and schema.

This feel-good film is a perfect illustration of Contact Hypothesis whereby Chadha has delivered to life some contentious problems with Eastern and Western culture and allowed for a gradual process of cultural integration all through the movie. Concepts such as the gender roles, homosexuality, stereotyping and generation gaps are highlighted in order to demonstrate that multicultural societies should not invoke everlasting variations, rather form fluid identities which allow individuals to accept and internalize all elements of tradition useful to their lives.

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