This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Tarushi Varma. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

From Being A Feminist To Playing One, Kangana Ranaut Is The ‘Badass’ Queen of Bollywood

More from Tarushi Varma

By Tarushi Varma:

Ever felt a refreshing blast of cold breeze hit you? Well, that feeling describes perfectly the effect our new hero has on us. Kangana Ranaut, who so far had the quintessential small town girl reputation, has proved herself to be a complete badass. Expressing her bold and stimulating opinion in various interviews, she is as feminist as they get.

KangnaRanaut

Kangana was brought up in a conservative joint family where traditions such as the family males eating first prevailed; she sought it on herself to disobey every one of them. She has always believed in mutual respect and equality and hence to accept such an apparent disparity in people on basis of gender is hard for her. She told The Times of India in an interview, “My father slapped me for the first time at 15 and I told him, ‘If you slap me I will slap you back’. I felt raising your hand on anybody is inappropriate and I always had a high regard for myself”

Even as an adult, she was considered to be a misfit by her contemporaries and employers alike in the initial years of her career. Even though she had to struggle to make a place for herself in this awfully competitive industry, which is otherwise also known for its male privilege, she never gave up her values. And today, she has accomplished a relative high in her successful career with sensational roles in Fashion, Rajjo and Revolver Rani, where she plays the courageous womyn who stand up for themselves and make a difference in the heavily male dominated world. Then came Queen, her most recent release, which was made through a feminist spectacle portraying her as a simple Indian womyn who self-discovers her true liberating self.

Not just her roles, even her unconventional opinions which she expresses fearlessly, challenge the traditional perspective. Don’t believe me? Wait till you hear her take on the whole institution of marriage, “Why do people get married? I don’t understand the whole setup and the reason behind it. Especially for girls, I see it as a very big problem. Because they are never encouraged to be something. The main instruction was, ‘how are you going to behave in your in-laws house’, even when I was tiny. We shouldn’t have a ready setup to be given to a man, like a fully trained dog to take care of the house.”

Kangana openly talks about herself and her freedom is the dearest thing to her, which she would never compromise. She displays tremendous self conviction and self reliance, and encourages her audience to the same. Above all, she teaches us to bravely be ourselves and love ourselves for who we really are.

Finally, it is safe to say that she a brilliant womyn, incredibly talented, even giving some of the big hot-shots of Bollywood a run for their money. All this while, she achieved her entire success single handedly, without even the support of her family. She is a worthy role model for all the Queens and Rajjos out there who struggle everyday to make a difference to their lives.

It’s like she says, “We need to raise our girls like superheroes, like we do our men.”

You must be to comment.
  1. Kshitij Dhyani

    Dear Author, you don’t have the slightest clue what feminism is. I mean let’s be fair, do you?

    1. puru tyagi

      Please enlighten us…what is feminism?

    2. Rohan

      Nor the ability to proofread.

    3. ila

      Do you know what it is?

    4. TS2014

      Thank you for pointing this out. I am tired of Bollywood’s misconceived ramblings about “feminist” and “woman-centric” movies. Just having a female hero taking down brawny dudes doesn’t make a “feminist” movie. Nor does a lead female role. Feminism is NOT just about women. It is an analytical framework to understand (in)equality of genders and their representations in the society. Living in the same society, men and women often face very different social worlds because of unequal gender roles, expectations and socialization processes. Feminists (which includes both men and women) address these social and economic inequalities that have no scientific rationality. Feminism, like any other field of knowledge, have undergone several changes over the years primarily responding to the questions and challenges of a specific era (e.g. issues of voting, property rights, reproductive choices, sexual objectification, LGBT rights, etc.). Hence it is multidimensional, political, powerful and dynamic. And of course there are criticisms, but that only makes the field and the agendas more powerful and critical. Anyhow, I have always recommended a sociology 101 course for our Bollywood denizens, but who is listening? 🙂 It amuses me how some of our dear actors emphatically put forth their (uneducated and misinformed) spheel on “feminism”. Ha!

  2. Kritika Sobti

    Interesting write up. 🙂 I never saw Kangana that way. Looking out for more of such articles.

  3. Cinephile Ignoramus

    Kangana is definitely a wonderfully confident and self assured young woman (or womyn as the author would prefer), and I hope we get to see many more like her in the public space. Her films however, or rather her roles, don’t really qualify as “feminist” with the exception of Queen. Fashion was anything but feminist, in which her character is shown as one that can’t handle the pressures that are a part and parcel of a career in the world of glamour. And quite heartbreaking was Revolver Rani, in which her character longs for (surprise! surprise!) filling tiffin boxes for her husband, and motherhood is depicted as the most important thing in her life… that when she is a kickass gun toting politician, who inspite of having been an MLA is a clueless puppet in the hands of her male relative. I’d just say that Kangana is a bold and honest one, but Indian cinema doesn’t really seem to be able to catch up with her.

  4. Deeksha Yadav

    Commend u for the fact that you chose womyn instead of woman.

  5. Rahul

    Very well articulated!

  6. Monistaf

    I applaud this article about gender equality and am a firm believer that everyone is just as capable in what ever they set their minds to do regardless of whether they are men or women. That is exactly why I would like to call out the “hypocrisy” of feminism. Since we are all equal, we should be treated as such without any privileges or special considerations anywhere, no reservations, no quotas, no discrimination what so ever based on gender. That, however, is not the case in real life and we all know that from even a bill being considered that 30% of the seats in the parliament have to be reserved for women. I am glad that the bill has not passed, but the right thing is to let the best people win. If everyone is equal, they all have an equal chance of making it. Why do you want to consider reservation? The very idea of fighting for reservation is an admission of not being able to openly and fairly compete. The same is true for all other forms of reservations from seats on trains and buses to seats in academic institutions.

    Some women are at least honest about this hypocrisy. Look at some youtube videos
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O60atA59xgE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymkwdf7XPKc

  7. Neha Jha

    Thank you for writing such an amazing article on probably the strongest woman we have today in our film industry. I’d like to add that Kangana doesn’t simply talk, she actually practices what she speaks. She accepted recently the role of 15 year old’s mother in a movie. That role was turned down by ‘Bollywood Queens’ like Madhuri, Karisma and Juhi. Even though Kangana is not even 30, she accepted the role.
    Apart from society-dictated customs, I find, women themselves accept their inferior position and conform to the norms. Many actresses these days don’t hesitate to act opposite actors 18-20 years older than them and say “Its our profession”. Well, I wonder what happens to them when they are offered roles of mothers? Where does their professionalism go? Its just about business! They will claim that they can’t help it. True! But, then, it will take ages for Bollywood to change when even Hollywood has male bias.

  8. Babar

    She told The Times of India in an interview, “My father slapped me for the first time at 15 and I told him, ‘If you slap me I will slap you back’. I felt raising your hand on anybody is inappropriate and I always had a high regard for myself”

    Are you praising and supporting a woman who has no respect for her father, and is actually willing to slap him – Is this what you stand for?

More from Tarushi Varma

Similar Posts

By Karthika S Nair

By Samrat Vidrohi

By Mohan Singh

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below