A woman separating from her husband and walking out of an unhappy marriage is never received as a positive sign, and it is either criticised or sensationalised. When we talk about common people, society holds women responsible for not being able to save the marriage. They criticise them and make it difficult for them to live a normal life as a divorcee. But when celebrities talk about separation, it automatically becomes a matter of public gossip, if not a matter that can be tangibly handled. It is sensationalised as a publicity stunt in addition to being criticised.
Women celebrities are held responsible for divorce, but their step is seen as a bad example for society since celebrities are pedestalled as public icons. But is it right to treat the private matters of celebrities as per public jurisdiction? Is it right to pass opinions on their decisions when we have no idea what they have been through? Is it right to criticise anyone for walking out on an unhappy relationship?
When Kritika Khurana, the famous influencer, announced her separation from Aditya Chhabra, she mentioned how she was afraid of log kya kahenge. She said in her social media post that she kept sacrificing her happiness initially in the marriage because she was afraid that if she announced divorce, the world would leave no stone unturned to criticise her.
Even when rumours of Deepika Padukone separating from her beau Ranveer Singh made headlines, people were obsessed with it and passed their own opinions on their decision. It was made a matter of gossip. Though Padukone squashed the rumours, it cannot be ignored that her probable decision about her private life was sensationalised. That her private life was brought into the public eye that felt entitled to criticise her.
It is fine to make celebrities' separation a piece of news but is it essential to make it public gossip and scrutiny? Should people interfere in their private lives and feel entitled to judge them? Should personal life become so public that celebrities are criticised and shamed for their decisions?
Taboo around divorce is applicable to all
While lack of privacy is one challenge every celebrity has to face, the taboo around divorce is another. In our society, divorce is never seen as a logical way to end a relationship gone kaput. The taboo around divorce applies to all, whether common people or celebrities. Our patriarchal society makes it difficult for any person or couple to decide on seeking divorce by making it a matter of morality. It is assumed that marriage is a sacred bond that cannot be broken unless a person wants to defy God's decree and undermine marriage's sanctity. Moreover, seeking divorce is seen as a sign of a person's weakness, especially women, for being unable to sustain the marriage by bearing injustice and sacrificing happiness. It is seen as a step of a coward who couldn't handle 'little' discomforts in&t=6s" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> marriage.
In our society, problems in marriage are seen as minor discomforts which are part and parcel of marriage. Every issue in marriage is dismissed as a part of the wear and tear of marriage. And the decision to divorce the partner becomes a selfish deed because it is assumed that the person did it to prioritise their happiness without caring about the family's happiness.
But, dear society, is seeking one's sanity and happiness selfish? Is being concerned about a better future by walking out of a bad and unhappy marriage a fault in morality? Is it right to assume that if a person marries once, they must sustain the relationship no matter how bad it gets? Isn't marriage a private matter? Why is it treated as a public matter responsible for maintaining social morality?
It is high time that we understand that marriage is a personal decision and so is ending it. We need to normalise that one can make wrong choices initially, and marriages can fail within a few months. It is not right to shame anyone for making bad choices; instead, it makes more sense to appreciate them when they change their choices.
And as far as sensationalising celebrities' divorces are concerned, we need to stop interfering in their private matter. Just because they are public figures, it doesn't mean their personal life and decisions are open to public scrutiny. You can pass judgements on the work they put out for the public. But you have no right to comment when they make decisions about their private life. You have no idea what they have gone through, so stop making sensational decisions about their personal life.
The right to privacy belongs to everyone, be it common people or celebrities. Moreover, stop using the decisions of their private life to judge their work or public appearance. Not every decision in a celebrity's personal life is a publicity stunt. Don't make it tough for public figures, especially women, to make decisions important for their sanity just because of the fear of public scrutiny. The consequences of this can be worse than we can imagine.
The views expressed are the author's own.