#Opinion

Priyanka Chopra Removes ‘Jonas’: How A Woman’s Marital Status Still Makes Headlines

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Actor and entrepreneur Priyanka Chopra removed Jonas, and even Chopra, as her surname from her social media handles earlier this week, leading to global speculation that she and her husband Nick Jonas were heading towards separation. The 39-year-old, after her marriage in 2018, had altered her online presence to accommodate her new identity as Chopra-Jonas. The dropping of her husband’s title stirred the internet’s proclivities for hypothesising on all that goes on in a public personality’s private life.

Such accounts show that we often needlessly hold ‘desi aunties’ accountable for making and spreading malicious gossip about the goings-on in people’s lives. Aren’t we all doing just the same online, by fixating on a woman’s marital status? Why must there be such a hullabaloo around this non-news occurrence? Has social media accelerated our tendencies for voyeurism?

Reacting to rumours of the split, Chopra’s mother Madhu was quoted saying to the media it was all “rubbish.” But the buzz continues.

There is a discernible tone of sadist glee in the memes and reactions to the Chopra-Jonas matter floating around on the internet. The couple’s relationship, given their age and cultural differences, has been under microscopic analysis ever since it became public knowledge in 2018. From gold-digger to babysitter, Chopra is still called endless names that vilify her for what many consider to be a ‘romantic mismatch.’

In the recently released Netflix family roast, Chopra is preparing to give it back to all the trolling that has been coming her way non-stop for the past three years. She takes smart jibes at several aspects of their relationship dynamics, including the declaration that she is by far “the most famous Jonas.”

Chopra ranks high among Indian women celebrities who haven’t shied away from retaining their faith and independence of ideology after marriage. She often sports a sindoor, marks auspicious dates with pujas in the United States and was firm in her decision to add the Jonas suffix of her own volition.

“I think I never changed my name. Yeah, I added his into mine. You know, and I wanted to sort of honour traditions, but at the same time, I didn’t want to let go of my identity… I was never forced into it, it’s just something I wanted to do because that’s how I grew up,” she said in a podcast earlier this year in February.

Now, was someone who was so self-standing in her decision to keep a surname be scrutinised if she chooses to reject it for whatever reason? If from the mix of achievements she boasts of, redundant theories around her name are what occupies our attention, then it says much about us and little of her.

Views expressed are the author’s own.


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