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A Letter Of Thanks To Kangana Ranaut: ‘You Have Given Strength To Many Women Like Us’

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By Atiya Anis:

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Source: Flickr (modified).

To

Kangana Ranaut, (the Head ‘Witch’, ‘whore’ and ‘dysfunctional woman’),

Calling women names has been used throughout history as a way of maintaining power and status quo. Not only in India but, for centuries, Europe saw witch persecutions and ruthless witch hunters. Charges of witchcraft have been time and again levelled against women who were thought to be subverting patriarchy.

Kangana, you are not alone in this culture of shaming and name calling. We have willfully carried on this tradition for generations, though you may be the first celebrity to be charged with this. Trust me, there are millions of women out there, all over the world being branded with obnoxious titles because of their choices.

Instead, you should express solidarity with the actor who accused you of mixing menstrual blood in his food. Your success and confidence has brought his imagination to zero and demonstrates very well the reason for his professional failure. Whether you slapped him or not is another question, but I am amazed at the fact that a 28-year-old grown-up actor remained silent for years, even after being abused, slapped and shaved. Or maybe he was too innocent to mistake your abuse as love.

The theory of coins and strange things in drawer and prayers after 12 at midnight are indeed amusing. It can be the plot for your next movie. But Kangana, I would also suggest that you change your black magic consultant or else deduct his/her salary. I am doubtful if he/she is doing a great job, else you would have won a National Award even for ‘Kites’ and ‘Vaada Raha’. You need to take a thorough look at the CV of the black magician. How much time and energy you have invested on junior Suman, while you could have targeted Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise with the witchcraft skills. I think you should be focused and aim high. It’s important to invest in the right things at the right time, not like your ex-boyfriend who woke up after so long.

Men, I must say I sympathise with you. I agree, it must be utterly disturbing for you to face competition and treat women as equals, who you thought were made to be objectified, smashed, ridiculed and ruled over. It would definitely hurt to unlearn the power perceptions you have grown up with.

To share my story, I have always been a socially abnormal child and now a ‘socially dysfunctional woman’. I never adhered to the lady-like norms of the middle-class families of small towns or the quaintness of a village bound daughter-in-law. But I was always a confident child who knew she was better than many others at many things. A misfit in my society, I am on my journey, learning the skills of life, maturing with time, and in the process collecting my share of ‘titles’, as I call them.

I yearned for a higher education and earn my living while my family wanted me to get married, and I was called ‘stubborn’ and ‘selfish’. I refused to settle down for an arranged marriage and wanted to marry out of my choice, so I became ‘morally corrupt’. I was outspoken and feisty and was labelled a ‘brat’. I love to dress up, hang out with friends and live my life, so I am called ‘irreligious’ and a ‘sinner’. I defy misogynistic attitudes and then became a ‘slut’. Most amusing is being branded ‘unfeminine’ because I do not feel the urge to have children. These titles have been earned with much hard work because being oneself is the toughest job to do. I do not dispute them.

Kangana, the name calling you were subjected to has given strength to many middle-class women like us, making us proud of our ‘titles’. I am trying hard not to denounce what I have earned. It makes me different from other people and keeps me going. I am a fan of you, more than of your movies. I love the way you kill with your confidence. We, the budding community of ‘witches’ and ‘whores’ have been looking for a mentor and a boost to our confidence, both of which you have provided. Let’s keep this going. Cheers to the more innovative ‘titles’ to come.

From
A middle-class ‘unfeminine’, ‘corrupt’, ‘slut’, ‘whore’.

You must be to comment.
  1. JL

    I couldn’t agree more on this. Glad you took your time to spell your hearts out – Kangana represents so many women in this world who are made to feel guilty of their life’s choices and looked down upon in our society and cut their wings before they even start to bud. You said the exact things I’ve been feeling lately. I wanna thank Kangana for being such a bold inspiration for so many lost women out there. She gives me courage to be who I am and not be ashamed of making choices and stand up for myself when the world goes against you. I want to live this life in my own terms and my life shouldn’t be anyone else’s business. It is not just gender specific what Kangana’s statement portrays but in reality she talks about a mean conservative society and stereotypes that haunt our mentality since birth. The world should not only advance in technology but it should allow all humans to evolve spiritually and the way we think. It is so hard to explain this to people whose minds are constrained within a narrow unforgiving egoistic set of beliefs. But things are changing and Kangana speaks the voices of millions of women and men that dream to live freely. We all should be free to live the way we want and the only thing we shouldn’t be allowed to do is to humiliate, badmouth and do name-calling others. Thanks again Atiya for writing this article.

  2. Devarkshyanjali Srivastava

    its a great thanksgiving letter. hanks atiya for writing this. she is really a mentor for women like us on our journey of collecting names. more power to her.

  3. Aparna Iyer

    OMG, where have you been? This was excellent; I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and that part about the “CV of the black magician” was hilarious! 🙂
    You know, I’ve read such horrible articles and opinion-pieces, in relation to the current Kangana-versus-her-opponents battle, that I found your writing to be very refreshing. Thank you for writing this.

    Since this was essentially an open letter to Kangana…If you get a chance, you should read the open letter to Hrithik. It’s on the OpnLttr website, and it’s called, “Not Buying What You’re Selling: An Open Letter to Hrithik Roshan.” (Just go there and type “Hrithik” in the search box, and you’ll see where the letter is). Maybe you’ll even be inspired to write another opinion-piece/open letter, after reading it. If so, I know I would be interested in reading what you write.

  4. Aparna Iyer

    OMG – where have you been? I thoroughly enjoyed reading your open letter to Kangana, and the part about the “CV of the black magician” was hilarious!

    When you get a chance, you might want to read the open letter to Hrithik. It’s on the OpnLttr website, and it’s called, “Not Buying What You’re Selling: An Open Letter to Hrithik Roshan.” (Just go there and type “Hrithik” in the search box, and you’ll see where the letter is). Maybe after reading it, you’ll be inspired to write another opinion-piece here? If so, I know I would be interested to read it.

  5. Truth

    100% black magic practitioners are women.

  6. Shahnawaz Haidar

    hahahahahahahahaha……who has written this????

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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