“Bend it Like Beckham” is a movie that revolves around Jess and her dream to be a footballer. She belongs to a Sikh, Indian family that is quite traditional with fixed values living abroad. Her dream to be a great footballer compelled her to go against the norms of her family that are quite strict and cannot imagine a girl to be a part of the foreign team. But she is shown quite consistent, so with the help of Juliet, her British friend and Joe, an Irish coach. In the movie, the family of Jess also plays a significant role; initially, after knowing about her, they disagree with her due to their cultural values but eventually agree with her and support her. The family put all the cultural and traditional conflict aside and accepts Jess with her dream. It is a comedy movie, which focused on the cultural interaction and racism people hold for each other (Bend it Like Beckham, 2002). One can observe cultural relativism in this film, and observe that no culture is superior to others rather traditions are meant to be respected but not to humiliate someone.
Description of Movie Family
Bend it as Beckham focuses on an eighteen years old girl and her dream to be a great football player. The whole movie revolved around the conflicts between different cultures and the girl’s dream and her wishes that make her against her family value and traditions. There are only a few characters in the movie although are all important as all contribute their equal part in the making a whole family. The movie begins with the planning of marriage of Jess’ sister Pinky who is a self-centered girl and is concerned about her lifestyle. She loves to wear all expensive both modern and traditional dresses and wants to look stylish and different from others. Initially, Pinky is shown as a narcissistic girl who is not concerned with anybody else, but as the movie progress, she becomes concerned for her younger sister too. Joe, the Irish coach of Jess football team, is also a significant character in the movie. He also faces the same issue of racism just like Jess as he belongs to a different ethnic group. Mother of Jess is a strong traditional lady who loves her homeland and has shown against Jess obsession over football. She loves her daughters and has brought up her girls with strong traditional values and has trained her with all sort house chores but she dislikes her involvement in football. The movie has shown the severe tension between the Indian and British culture with an ethos of Irish culture.
Assessment of Cultural and Ethnic Traits
This film is famous for showing cultural relativism along with biculturalism that has been shown by the presence of Indian and British values, traditions, norms, and their culture (Friedman, Bowden & Jones, 2003). The film shows not only the cultural values of two countries but also their thinking patterns and their philosophy of life.
After the 2nd World War, the British culture has changed a lot both culturally and socially. There are some factors behind these changes and has resulted in numerous impacts. One of the major effects of these changes is the drastic change in the women role as she was not supposed to work with men. Today’s women of British Empire is an independent woman who can work freely anywhere with anybody. There are major differences in today’s ‘English culture and Indian culture that has diverse backgrounds with strong traditions and values. Indians have strong traditional values and norms, and they have preserved their values over the time. They have a strong love for faa family and respect for their elders. The movie has shown this socio-cultural difference in a unique and convincing manner.
The environment plays a very important role in shaping one’s lifestyle. The environment that has been portrayed in the movie shows a huge difference between two cultures. The environment of British people is such that where people share equal gender roles. Despite this factor, people are being discriminated based on their ethnicity, their race, their color, their religion, and their culture. The movie has shown this discrimination of Sikh family and Irish coach in Britain just because of their ethnicity. On the other hand, the environment of the Indian family is different from those f English people. The movie has shown that although Jess family has been living abroad for a long time. But even then they are having a deep love for their values and traditions. The movie has also shown the Indians also discriminate people based on their ethnicity as Pinky got her engagement broken because she was kissing some white boy and her in-laws saw her doing so.
The movie has shown the communication differences between two cultures. Indian culture focuses on non-verbal communication rather verbal communication. Individuals belonging to Indian cultures prefer to stay silent in the presence of their elders as a symbol of respect. On the other hand, English culture focuses on the individual freedom and autonomy. People of individualistic cultures like English, Irish prefer direct verbal communication. There are specified rules and ways to talk with elders in Indian cultures.
The movie has also shown the changes in the cultures over the time as in movie it has been shown that youngsters prefer to have decision making power rather than giving this authority to family or elder as in case of Jess’ friend Juliet’s sexual orientation, she does not like her mother’s interference. But in Indian culture, it has been shown that the highest authority belongs to family elder male member, and no one is allowed to speak against his decisions.
Roles in family
The role of mother is different in both cultures; as evident by the role of Jess’ and Juliet’s mothers. The Indian mother transmits the knowledge of family traditions to the family whereas the British mother is an independent woman. Both mothers love their daughters although both do not like their daughters’ involvement in football, Juliet’s mother accept it earlier than that of Jess’ (Gee, 2014).
Assessment of Development or Functional Competency
When people share cultures, values, and their identities with each other, they start accepting each other’s uniqueness and individuality as shown in Bend it like Beckham.
The Indian culture in the movie has shown giving importance to traditions, values, norms, family, and elders. On the other hand, British culture has shown giving respect to independence and freedom.
Child rearing and socialization
Childrearing practices shown in the movie are quite different for the two cultures. Juliet does not allow the interference of her mother, whereas the decisions in Jess’ family are made by parents. The movie shows that Juliet’s mother wants to resolve the conflict with her daughter and she has shown to be assertive like Juliet as she possesses all the traits similar to her daughter. On the other hand, Jess’ mother is a relationship-oriented woman who loves to do house chores, and she wants that her daughters also get skilled in these activities so that they can have good marital life in future (Bend it like Beckham, 2002). Indian parents, in the movie, have shown to give a lot of emphasizing on family, marriage, home-making, house chores, and children. The British culture has shown to revolve around giving autonomy to the individual for marriage but arranged marriages are still preferred in Indian families. A strong parental child relationship is preferred in Indian cultures whereas a weak bond has been shown in the movie between English mother and her daughter.
No special health care beliefs and practices have been shown in the movie in both cultures, but one major thing that was focused on both cultures was the hatred for same-sex relationships. As Juliet’s mother is shown worried about the sexual orientation of her daughter and thought that she is having feelings for her friend, Jess.
The movie has shown that even after living in England for a long time, Indians have not accepted the British culture and have not adjusted with their uniqueness; similar has been shown by the people of England, they still discriminate others based upon their ethnicity and race. But the movie has shown another unique thing that although the elder are quite fixated on their tradition yet, youngsters are quite adapted and have accepted each other’s identity and uniqueness. But at the end, the movie has shown the acceptance of the changes and new values by elders (Desai, 2013).
The movie Bend it like Beckham has shown the uniqueness of cultures and identities uniquely. The film is different because it shows the cultural disputes between the two different and major cultures of the time i-e Indian culture and British culture. The movie has shown how the girl peruses her dreams despite much cultural disparity and differences. The movie has shown multiculturalism in a very exclusive manner and depicted the differences. The movie has shown the importance of both cultures that everyone is unique in its way ((Friedman, Bowden & Jones, 2003).
Bend It Like Beckham. (2002). United Kingdom.
Desai, J. (2013). Negotiating national and transnational cultural citizenship. Routledge Handbook of Indian Cinemas, 206.
Friedman, M. M., Bowden, V. R., & Jones, E. (2003). Family nursing: Research, theory & practice. Pearson.
Gee, S. (2014). Bending the codes of masculinity: David Beckham and flexible masculinity in the new millennium. Sport in Society, 17(7), 917-936.