Dear Ranveer Singh
I was one of the thousands of fans who appreciated your talent and the hard work you put into creating cinematic masterpieces. I always saw you as someone who wasn’t afraid of breaking societal norms and challenging the status quo by expressing frankly what is right, but the last few days have proven otherwise, and you’ve come across as someone who indulges in casual sexism. A celebrity of your stature appearing on a billboard that objectified women in the workplace in a country that has seen shocking numbers with respect to cases of sexual harassment at the workplace, plainly put, is unacceptable.
For women like me, who lead from the front in our own ways, we have to come face to face with the sexist notion that it’s unacceptable for a woman to hold a higher position in an organisation, something that also goes hand in hand with the whole ‘woman is an object’ thought process. Female bosses are often called ‘bossy’ when all they do is their job. The aforementioned thought process makes it okay for many to use the ‘B’ word to refer to a woman when all she does is take a stand for protecting her interests.
You have also recently used the phrase ‘marriage material’ to describe fellow actor Deepika Padukone, in a conversation on a popular talk show. Such statements are a brutal reminder of the fact that even though women can achieve great heights in their respective fields, they are made to or put into archaic moulds and have to succumb to the fact that the society sees them as beings only fit to be a good wife, daughter-in-law and a mother.
I wouldn’t be wrong, if I blame the very same mentality as the root cause of marital rape where women who are considered ‘marriage material’ are transferred as property from the father to the husband (where the man, in a patriarchal setup, has power over the woman in several respects). Women are forced to give up their dreams and career and settle for less after marriage. ‘Marriage material’ is a term that you can see manifest in the unrealistic expectations from brides and grooms described in disturbing detail in matrimonial ads that are doing the rounds.
I would only like to tell you that you’re coming across as a person with a certain kind of mentality that is reflective of what the society has moulded you into becoming. You are a celebrity, and you inspire thousands of people. There are so many who follow everything you say and do; your statements have far-reaching implications.
Please don’t make such statements as they are in bad taste. A mere apology won’t cure the burning truth of misogyny. If you could please realise that with great power (and fame), comes great responsibility.