Kareena Kapoor Khan has become the latest Bollywood star who fails to understand that feminism means equality. At an event to promote her latest Veere Di Wedding, Khan was asked about her idea of feminism. To which she responded, “I believe in equality. I wouldn’t say I am a feminist, I would say I am a woman and above all, I am a human being. I am also as proud to be known as Saif Ali Khan’s wife, as I am to be Kareena Kapoor. So that is just the way I am.”
If you endorse equality, then you are a feminist. It is not possible to attain equality without feminism.
Our actors need to refresh their definition of feminism. They seem to live in a world where women’s rights and equality can exist without each other. Feminism is like a taboo word. Khan isn’t the first actor to have refused to endorse feminism. However, it is amusing that most of these women proudly advocate gender equality. Well my dear ladies, if you believe in gender equality, then I have some bad news for you. You are a feminist, whether you like it or not.
No one ever said that feminist cannot be proud of being someone’s wife. No one said that you had to be a male bashing activist who scoffs over women who choose to change their name or add their husband’s name to theirs. We are all women, and we are all humans, and that is what precisely feminism is about. Acceptance that men and women are at the end of the day humans, and hence equals. Thus we deserve equal rights, equal pay and equal position in the society.
By saying that they are not feminists, stars like Khan end up refusing to lend support to end sexual harassment, misogyny, gender pay gap, patriarchy and sexism.
They do not realise that unless these things cease to exist, we can never have equality.
Bollywood actors, both male and female, need to look at feminism with a fresh perspective. Their fears of being branded anti-male seem to be rooted to a time when people could not differentiate between feminism and its militant doppelganger. Both the ideologies may have originated from a need for women’s welfare. But they have taken two distinct and opposite paths. While the former believes that feminism is the socio-economic upliftment of women to men’s level, the latter believe in dragging men down and stepping on their heads to attain liberation. And that certainly is not gender equality.
But we live in an age where such information is just a tap away. Why not read a little before publicly shunning feminism as if it were a debilitating disease? I can only hope that Khan will take out time to understand what feminism actually is, and proudly endorse it in future, just as she endorses equality.
Picture Credit: Indian Express
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own