One of the biggest banes of feminism is women telling other women how to be a feminist. It is not enough that you identify with the term on the face of many women shying away from it, it is not enough that you demand equal wages as your male counterparts in your workplace, it is not commendable that you are brazen, opinionated and sharp. It is never enough.

One of the biggest banes of feminism is women telling other women how to be a feminist.

When Kangana started speaking out about her affair with the supposed Greek God Hrithik Roshan (and it’s ramifications – stalking, defamation suits, etc), the obvious insinuation was, why now? Is it because your film is releasing in less than two weeks? I’d be honest, the thought didn’t escape my head too. The invincible, self-made, Kangana Ranaut resorting to publicity gimmicks to promote a film which already looks so promising?

I’d be honest, the thought didn’t escape my head too. The invincible, self-made, Kangana Ranaut resorting to publicity gimmicks to promote a film which already looks so promising?

On Sunday, singer Sona Mahapatra wrote an open letter to Ranaut saying,

“…Washing dirty linen in public & more so as part of a professional PR campaign before your film release is in bad taste. No two ways about it. Also, it does a big disservice to the cause of feminism & fair play. Wish you well & wish you would rise above this muck & make your point through actions & your work. Your success doesn’t need this tabloid trail.”

The fact of the matter is, celebrities are accessible to the media only when they are spreading the word on their new film or an endorsement they are part of. So, journalists deem it to be the perfect occasion to dig up old graves and ask questions which will get their interview more traction. Deepika Padukone didn’t escape these questions when she started promoting back-to-back films after publicly acknowledging her struggle with depression. Anushka Sharma was not spared after she was trolled incessantly for ‘distracting’ her boyfriend, Virat Kohli, on the cricket ground. Katrina Kaif’s relationship with Ranbir Kapoor was infinitesimally more interesting than the movie they were promoting, the one which took three years to get made.

Previously, actresses have used their own discretion and steered clear of controversial and personal questions. But Kangana is turning the norm on its head, because either way, the hate, and disapproval will be relentless.

Public figures are an enigma. We expect them to be mysterious, alluring, out-of-reach. What we don’t expect them to have is an opinion. Previously, actresses have used their own discretion and steered clear of controversial and personal questions. But Kangana is turning the norm on its head, because either way, the hate, and disapproval will be relentless. Whether you like it or not.

This is the first time a woman is speaking out about having affairs with two married men. One that hit her, another that allegedly hacked into her emails. She wasn’t ‘playing a victim’, she was one, in how she was treated. And now she is using the incessant bullying as vital ammunition to further her already stellar career. Remember what Karan Johar had said on the IIFA stage, “It’s better if she didn’t open her mouth at all.”

That’s one woman taking it upon herself to annihilate the patriarchal and nepotistic power structure of Bollywood. And she definitely didn’t need balls to do that.

Dear Sona Mohapatra, I wouldn’t blame Kangana for taking charge and speaking up, in spite her obvious intentions. I don’t think she’s doing a disservice to feminism for standing up against people who are far more influential than she is. Someone had to hold the torch and lead the way, and who better than Kangana to do that? After all, even a ‘circus’, needs a ringmaster!

The views expressed are author’s own.