The Pride , Prejudice & Feminism

Passion is a remarkable thing. It pushes us to pursue what we believe in. Blindly. Logic often is set aside as we wade through the world armed with nothing but an idea or even a whim.

No wonder , if you google the term , the first result you’ll see would be Passion being described as a barely controllable emotion.

But unfortunately , the fight for Feminism isn’t an emotional one. So while there are a lot of us who call themselves ‘Passionate Feminists’ , we are much balanced in our approach to raise the right concern , ask the right question and really focus on exactly why an issue is a Feminism debate and not just another person [male or female] on an ego trip.

For me the process of concluding if something is worth my precious energy is quite simple & it involves answer to the question – Does the issue imply / treat or reduce women as lesser than men by solely the virtue of their gender?

In the recent times there have been multiple instances that got ‘impassioned armchair activists’ into a frenzy.  Here’s my take on some of them.

When Karan Johar’s much hyped and debated autobiography hit the bookstalls and the public fancy at the same time , a lot of online publications I follow gave the ‘Kareena and Karan Johar fall out’ a Feminist flavour. Women writers cried hoarse of injustice – bringing workplace discrimination & wage gap into picture . They were wrong .

As per the book when Kareena demanded the same amount of money as the lead actor , as a director he was hurt and went on to make the movie with someone else. Of course what everyone’s conveniently ignoring is when this movie was offered to her – She was a nobody. She had walked out of projects , wasn’t really a commercial success and the only reason why she existed in the film industry was by the virtue of a famous last name. She wasn’t a struggler & I can swear on my love for movies if she’d even given an audition for the role. I am not inventing  any of this – you can read all about her stellar career on her Wikipedia page here. The male actor in question , on the other hand had slowly worked his way up and was an established superstar . He was an outsider with no filmy background whatsoever –  Shah Rukh Khan at the peak of his success . So if Karan Johar [ who has a history of writing roles keeping certain people in mind] ends up a little hurt for being disregarded for the opportunity he’s handing out on a platter , it doesn’t sound egoistic to me at all.

My reading of the situation is quite the opposite . Being a Bollywood royalty gives her a sense of entitlement that makes it easy for her to overlook the very tiny insignificant detail that to expect an equal pay , you have to either have an equal experience or an equal stature , not an influential last name.

On the contrary , we continue to judge people like Karan Johar who have the courage to open up about life experiences by micro analyzing their inclinations based on their own statements which may or may not present the complete picture.  Call me naïve to not notice how he wrote a lot of what he wrote to sell his book , but pulling down a man because he had a bout of feelings is reverse sexism.

When men and women have a different opinion it’s called exactly that ‘difference of opinion’ & not a Feminist debatewhich is why the recent spat between KJO and Kangana is just PR agencies going on overdrive.

A game of he said , she said that’s gone completely out of hand. He called her on his show , she acted super weird – throwing all the big words at him to get back for all the ridicule she’s gone through . Kudos to her for being an outsider , for showing she didn’t care two hoots about Khans or the fraternity groups but here’s my take and let me assure you it’s not a brand new opinion – it was my very first reaction , much before the whole thing exploded.

Kangana made it on her own in an industry that’s not very open to outsiders . So ? That’s how the profession is. And if one’s choosing to be a part of it , one needs to find a way around some pre-established ways of the business . I am not saying accept them , but I am also not saying rant about it ALL the time. It’s a business of who gives better returns as an investment , which face draws the crowd to the ticket window , which actor really gets the box office ringing . Like for every profession , the talent to opportunity ratio is heavily skewed here too. There are employers and there are employees . If someone doesn’t want to employ you because they don’t think you fit in their formula of RoI , how does that make you a victim? And the victim card does gets played all the time when Ms Ranaut is concerned. My two bits is either you accept the show and go with the flow or if there’s a clash of opinion , agree to disagree . Making everything a women vs men debate and a reason to draw out daggers in public through statements and speeches and what-nots is a publicity gimmick that most of us can see through. Both her contemporaries , Deepika and Katrina have faced their share of challenges , also were outsiders – but we don’t see them getting into an attention seeking tantrum everyday .

If she’s so bothered about the treatment of women , why  isn’t she using the experience she has gathered by helping  women who’ve come from small towns ?  I’d love to hear how her life’s struggles are shaping up their life and not how she’s giving up on big monies by not taking up fairness cream offers [ but the non-fairness creams like Boro Plus don’t count. Hah!] . Idealistic much?

Talking of fairness , Karan and Kangana are here to make money (& news) and if people don’t get along , they don’t get along . Make a spectacle all you want but let’s not drag Feminism into it.

Which brings me to the latest episode when Ms Mira Kapur spoke about her experience as a mother at Women’s Day related Forum. She wears her label with pride , just like Kangana uses her stack of cards well.

So if a privileged girl from an above middle class family marries into Stardom and chooses to stay at ‘sea facing property in the poshest parts of Mumbai’ err home. Well kudos to you girl , everything worked out for you at 22.

At the other end of the spectrum are women who have worked very very hard to get where they are [ the one typing this post is sitting miles away in an airport lounge , because she’s travelling for business and not tucking her 4 year old in bed ] Am I treating my kid as a pet? Hmm. Am I being treated exactly the same as a male employee ? Yes .

When it comes to Feminism being about equal rights and equal responsibilities – Working women practice what they preach.

The reason why women choose to work after being mothers , doesn’t need anyone’s stamp of approval.  Having a career ambition doesn’t make us bad mothers neither does the act of staying at home make you a better one . Children and pets both deserve much love , nurturing and care . I am happy to know you wear your label well but one girl’s pride is another woman’s prejudice so watch it there!

When you , Ms Rajput ridicule someone’s choice of leaving her kid home for whatever reason, you conveniently forget how the father of the baby is spending much lesser time than desired too . So please don’t make the entire debate a Women vs Women one. We don’t need stay at home moms to judge working ones and other way around , that’s exactly the kind of thought process we want to move away from & stand on the same side – feminism or no feminism.

Let’s just look at the people involved in all these cases as people . Equally biased , equally flawed , equally different in their views and approach. They have exactly the same impact on my idea of feminism as Ms Kriti Sanon recently had. She trashed people who ‘wish Happy Women’s Day ‘ when there’s so much wrong with the world & went ahead to use the occasion to launch her fashion line . Am I impressed ? Nope. Was there an Impact on the collective cause of feminism? Nope.

Feminism is serious business folks , lets not get emotional and make it a matter of pride or prejudice .

11 thoughts on “The Pride , Prejudice & Feminism

  1. I love it. Every single issue you’ve pointed out – agree with each and every one of them Karan and Kareena, Kangana and then Meera. It’s exactly as I would have said it only you bring so much more clarity to my thoughts. It irks me no end how feminism is dragged in every time a woman is involved. That takes away completely from the real, more important feminist issues.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…In outer space with ColgateMy Profile

    1. Tulika.. where do I begin? Your facebook share made my day! It was the first time someone liked what I wrote so much to share on FB and recommend to so many people.. just unreal!
      also when you pointed out I realized .. and checked my spam folder for comments . Discovered this one and also Richa’s!!
      I think I might have lost some older comments of yours .. but this chanced occurrence , helped me gain a connection. I am so happy you made so much effort . means the world to me 🙂

  2. What a fabulous post. I couldn’t agree more. I’m someone who stand up for equality and I’m a feminist. With equal respect for men and women. Yes, if you ask for equal pay, come with equal set of accomplishments. It’s about the fact the women or men should not be looked down basis their gender. You are absolutely right!
    Parul recently posted…Thursday Tree Love #3My Profile

  3. Lovely read. I admire the clarity with which you write about feminism (and generally). Women’s rights and the fight for it is sure to make you emotional but being rational and talking without loosing your cool is something I’ve seen you do and admire that about you. ??

    1. Maggie .. I read your post & am happy that we can look at the same incident with two different view points and appreciate each other’s views 🙂 Thank you so much!

  4. Toward the end I had gooseflesh. I didn’t know what had hit me. Yes your clarity had hit me. Feminism is suffering because for most either its a ticket to fame or a ticket to create pseudo hype (shucks I said this word pseudo!)

    Chandni we need more from you. As always the fine balance of how to run things about a subject as sensitive as this has been achieved.

    1. RICHA!!!! I saved this comment & a couple of others from spam folder.. I am hoping I haven’t lost your comments in the past 🙁
      Keep pushing me .. I need it ..and thanks for everything!

  5. These days any issue, regardless of what it’s about, if there is a woman involved, they put a feminist spin on it. To add on to your list, even the Kangana-Hrithik spat last year suddenly got a feminist angle for no good reason. There was nothing feminist about a fallout like that, FFS!
    What this is really doing is hurting actual feminist issues. The issues that really exist, in our workplaces, in our homes. When the TVF issue cropped up, I saw a lot of rude comments saying “This is a PR stunt to promote their new feminist show.” Now that was a real issue of workplace sexism and harassment, but people were trying to brush it aside cos of the previous instances like the ones you’ve described.
    A blogger whose work I admire recently wrote about patriarchy in India and she made a remark, “Please don’t dismiss me as a feminist.” That statement hurt me, cos while the post was definitely feminist, she didn’t wanna be associated with the word, cos according to her, our statements are “dismissed”. Why does that happen? Cos we take any random issue and turn it into a feminist one.
    Sreesha recently posted…Waking Up To BrownMy Profile

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