Ranbir Kapoor has been in the news for his distasteful body-shaming joke about his wife Alia Bhatt, following which his old problematic interviews with other female costars have resurfaced. Many women have cancelled the actor for being a repeat offender, especially when it comes to speaking over women. But what do women gain from cancelling Ranbir Kapoor on the internet for a few days?
Bollywood stars have often made sexist comments and jokes and got away with it because of their power and stardom. While the practice of cancel culture sometimes holds these stars accountable for their actions, it mostly dies down soon enough, as social media’s attention moves to a new topic the next day. On one hand, it is good to see people calling problematic statements by public figures, on the other hand, it comes across as a frivolous action that doesn’t constructively fix the issue being talked about.
Ranbir Kapoor cancelled due to repeat offenses
Earlier this week, a Twitter user shared a clip saying “this clip pisses me off sm” as she further added a thread of more such incidents where Ranbir Kapoor was caught being disrespectful towards his female costars. The Twitter user also mentioned another part in the interview, saying, “and then later in the same interview when she asked him if he realises that she’s right there and she can talk about her own role in the film he responded and said “i am the producer of the film, i can talk about it.”
The backlash against the actor started after he fatshamed his wife Alia Bhatt, saying that she had “phaeloed” while pointing at her baby bump. In the clip from the interaction that has now gone viral, he covers up his remark by saying that it was just a joke. However, the remark didn’t sit quite right with the audience as they called out Kapoor for being disrespectful. Ranbir Kapoor was cancelled all over the internet and it was followed by the old interviews people shared of him acting irresponsibly.
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Do we even benefit from cancel culture?
People are right in calling out Ranbir Kapoor for his misbehaviour and his followers need to understand that there is a way to talk to costars. His lineage, entitlement or talent don’t mean that he can feel superior over his peers. The call out might even open the eyes of some of his followers who emulate the actor’s behaviour and thus feel it is okay to speak over women.
But how does calling out a public figure help women in general to seek better treatment?
The problem with cancelling public figures like Ranbir Kapoor is that people take no time to forget such incidents, especially the question the unequal treatment meted out to women. For instance, Kapoor has now apologised for his fat-shaming remark, but has he done so because he is willing to change his behaviour, or because he wants to safeguard his public image?
Will anyone check if these public figures actually changed post cancelling? Or will men ever be restricted from enjoying the privileges given to them by patriarchy? Cancel Culture is just another attempt of keyboard warriors to solve world problem from across the screens but seldom do such actions help out people in genuine crisis.
So while cancelling Ranbir Kapoor might be a win for internet warriors, it achieves little for women in our country. True change will only come when we have a two-way conversation that helps men understand the butterfly effect of sexism.
Views expressed are authors own.