How #Sonamkishaadi Exposed The Hidden Misogyny And Sexism Of Modern Indian Men

An article should be factual. So, let’s start with the few basic facts. These are –
1) Indians are obsessed with weddings.
2) Indians are obsessed with Bollywood.

Sometimes, once in a blue moon, if the stars align perfectly (both literally and figuratively), we’re blessed with the extravaganza called a “Bollywood Shaadi”. The Mehendi looks are scrutinised, and the wedding invites are looked at with magnifying glasses. Your newsfeed is filled with sangeet videos, and your newspaper only has the news about last night’s events; there’s absolutely no escape. On the outside, you complain, crib and behave indifferently but deep down in your heart, even you want to know about which superstars danced at the wedding reception.

We assume that we’ve set a precedent to the real issue pretty well up till now and no, there are no prizes for guessing that this is yet another article about #sonamkishaadi. Let’s admit another fact about ourselves – we all have a judgemental ‘dulhe ki bua’ inside all of us. From dulha’s age to dulhan’s dress, everything needs to be judged by us, and God forbid if we approve. However, these scenarios are pretty basic and expected. What happened during last week’s most hyped event (read #sonamkishaadi) was not just unexpected but baffling to another level altogether.

Let’s solve this case study together – a Bollywood Starlet, who also happens to be the eldest daughter of a living legend and co-owner of a fashion brand and her own production house, meets an industrialist through her elite fashion designer friend and hits it off with him. The guy is pretty loaded too but is not known anywhere except for his limited social circle in Delhi as he studied abroad all his life. Soon, they fall in love as it naturally happens to people who share similar interests, outlook, and backgrounds.

The guy also starts getting recognition as he starts appearing alongside the Bollywood star in public and appears regularly on her social media profiles where she has more cult followers than most of her contemporaries. By now, everyone knows who he is and that he’s the owner of a boutique sneaker shop (affiliate marketing does work) and the heir to India’s biggest export house. He also has increased number of followers on social media platform without any SEO strategies. Anyway, as a gradual progression of the relationship, they decide to get married with their family’s blessings.

Now, the question which needs to be solved here is – who, amongst the boy and the girl, is a gold digger? If you’re already looking down on me because of the lowliness of my thoughts depicted through this question, hold your horses – it’s not me, it’s you (at least, some of you). As it happens in every marriage, the worth of the dulha and dulhan were judged, and the dulha happened to be worth ₹3000 crore, the dulhan was automatically declared to be a gold digger.

Now, you may ask who is a gold digger? A gold digger is someone who engages in romantic relationships because of money and not love. As far as I know, the woman, in this case, is quite affluent herself belonging to an illustrious family. If anybody gained any brownie points here, then, it is definitely the guy who got a star name attached to his brand. But if we started discussing the brand value culminating by virtue of marriage then we, too, would also fall in the similar category as that of these ‘highly intelligent’ men who came up with this conclusion.

The whole point of this rant is to expose the skewed mentality of our society when it comes to its women. Especially those women who are successful, outspoken, are not diplomatic and still somehow manage to find love. In this day and age, marriage is still considered to be a means of sustenance, especially for women. Marriage in the 21st century is about companionship and camaraderie between two equal individuals who would like to grow and share a life together. Why do we still find it necessary to evaluate the gains or losses of the parties involved? Why do we still belittle women who dare to ask uncomfortable questions and claim their position in the world? Why do we mock men who choose a partner better known than them? Why do we still refuse to accept realities other than ours?

Sonam and Anand do not belong to our world. They have never known the struggle of a middle-class common man and might never have to know in the future. Yes, they had it easy and it is about time that we stop putting them down because of it. They did not choose the millionaire life just like you didn’t choose the middle class one. Why do we marginalise any success if it is without a struggle? Why are we so cynical that we need to see people suffer before we respect them?

Let’s put aside our bitterness for a moment and understand that our horrible remarks do not affect any of them but show our perspective where we cannot stand the happiness of other people. We’re still a regressive generation who believe that acting is not a serious profession for intelligent, respected individuals; especially women. It is easy for us to acknowledge a Shahid Kapoor marrying an industrialist’s daughter in an arranged marriage (did anybody try and find out her net-worth?) and call them couple goals but not a Sonam Kapoor doing the same for love. We still cannot digest the fact that a woman, especially a highly privileged one, can sustain herself and doesn’t have to go husband-hunting to support her lifestyle. Our thinking reeks of everything it shouldn’t in the 21st century – sexism, regressiveness, and jealousy.

It’s okay to find a profession or its people frivolous, but it is definitely unfair to deem them immoral and greedy. We Indians have been better than this foolishness. We Indians have been better than this blatant gender bashing. We Indians are better, just simply better than stooping to such a low. Let’s get together and pray that we regain some of our sense and sensibility we seem to have lost.

Till then, if you’re free, do let me know how did you like #sonamkajora on #sonamkishadi? (pun intended)