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In the film Jess, an Asian girl, has a talent for playing football. Her family, who follow the Sikh faith, do not want Jess to play football, and jess naturally wishes to continue playing her favourite sport. After a shopping trip to get clothes for Jess’s soon-to-be-married sister Pinky, Jess plays football in a park and is spotted by Jules, a British female who plays for the local female footy team. Jules invites Jess to a training session and Jess takes to it like water. The coach Joe, an Irish bloke, asks Jess to come again. She does so, but is reluctant to wear the shorts – because of a burn scar on her knee. Afterwards she goes to the park and is spotted by her mother – which results in a ban from football, as Jess’s father states she should become a “proper woman”.The religious issues in this include the contrast in gender roles as observed by followers of the Sikh religion and by their British countrymen. Jess’s family see the role of the female to be that of a housewife – doing the cooking, cleaning and performing the basic household tasks. The issue of arranged marriages is also discussed; Jess does not want an arranged marriage because this means that she will be unable to play football. Clothes are also mentioned by Jess’s mother: “as a woman should not show her skin to everyone” and Jess argues that: it is hard to play football in restrictive clothing.Love and marriage are main themes in Bend It like Beckham. Jess’s family feel the idea that their children should only marry Asian Sikhs, and reject the thought of multi-racial couples such as Jess’s relationship with a “Gura” (a racist name for a white person) – Joe. Jess’s Asian friends dislike arranged marriages, preferring to choose who they will spend the rest of their life with. They prefer a “love match” to an arranged marriage and this is the situation with Jess’s sister, Pinky, where she and her husband-to-be’ families have agreed to the marriage. Despite this more enlightened attitude, when Pinky’s future in-laws mistake Jess laughing with Jules for Jess kissing a “Gura” they wish to call off the marriage.Homosexuality is not widely accepted by the Asian community in this film – and, Jess’s friend (Tony) does not want anybody other than Jess to know of his affinity to men. Because of the taboos surrounding who she can and cannot marry or love, Jess faces various problems about who she falls in love with – namely Joe. Her family strictly say that Jess should fall in love with only a Sikh Asian male. Joe is an Irish Christian- and so marrying him would be against the family’s wishes. Her friends, however, are much less strict. They have no problems with whoever Jess falls in love with. Except for her friend Jules who is also in love with the coach Joe.Another feature of this film is Pinky’s Sikh wedding. The families of both sides are present, as well as the entire local Sikh. There is much eating of traditional food and dancing to Asian music, in the wedding preparations the day before. The next day the main wedding celebrations begin with the bride and groom going to a Gurdwara (a Sikh holy temple) where there are readings of the Sikh holy book, followed by the marriage ceremony. Afterwards is the reception, where everyone is singing and dancing happily in bright clothes- saris in green, gold, red and yellow. There is a traditional Asian buffet. When the reception ends, the bride becomes sad because she is leaving her family and receives consolation from them. She and the groom leave together to start their new life. For the most part the event is very joyful and happy, with everyone enjoying themselves.Other major themes in the film concern racism and sexism. There is a scene where Tony and his friends are at one of Jess’s football matches and Tony’s friends make chauvinist remarks about the female players and their bodies. Tony reacts by saying “Can’t you just see them for who they are?” As Tony shows, his friends are seeing the women only for their bodies – judging them on appearance – on their “sexiness”- rather than their characters. As well as sexism, there are examples of racism. Jess’s father states that when he went to a cricket club, they “mocked me just because of this [a turban]”. The other cricketers discriminate against Jess’s father because of his religion, his skin colour and his turban- judging him on his appearance rather than who he is. In these two scenes, people are being unfairly judge on their gender or race, and having discriminatory things said about them.In conclusion, a great deal can be learnt from the film about different attitudes ad prejudices. Examples include the events in the Sikh wedding, attitudes towards females and football, and how a woman is expected to behave. It also shows how racism and sexism appear in everyday life – and the effects and how people deal with them.

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