Today, feminism is identified with the likes of Kangana Ranaut, forgetting all about social reformers such as Savitribai Phule and Fatima Sheikh. Feminism has been reduced to bold statements and personal life issues of celebrities and about justifying wrong decisions. Such things can only be an extension of the concept of feminism but can form the core of this movement.
Under the #MeToo movement, a statement by Kangana Ranaut on Hrithik Roshan came yesterday – that said ‘people should not work with him as he kept his wife as a trophy and indulged in relationships with younger women’.
Her recent statement has context, according to Kangana she dated Hrithik while he was still married. So, this implies that a movie star like Kangana was so immature and helpless, that all the burden of this extramarital relationship shifts on the man. Is it the right thing to say? Is this what feminism means? Is it only the duty of a married man? Does it not demand morality on the girl’s part who chose to indulge with a married man? Is the #MeToo movement about women finding faults with men they dated in the past or about sexual predators preying on vulnerable women?
How is Hrithik Roshan wrong in dating while being married and Kangana Ranaut right in dating a married man?
Recently, the whole society fought for making the Adultery law gender-neutral, and the highest court of the country said that Section 497 was found on the concept that a woman loses her individuality once she is married. The court observed that under this law women were treated like the husband’s property.
Earlier, if a married woman indulged in adultery, her husband had the right to take legal measures against the man involved with his wife, shifting all the burden of the extramarital relation on the man – sparing the woman and hence, making her the property of her husband. A woman had no right to take legal action against her husband and the woman he was involved with if a man indulged in adultery.
What Kangana is doing, has a lot of essence of section 497. She shifts the burden of adultery on the man, sparing herself and ignoring the impact her action (indulging with a married man) had on the wife of the man she was involved with. It is his wife’s right to hold him and Kangana accountable for adultery. But what Kangana is trying to do is shift the blame entirely on the man.
Is it not the responsibility of a woman to empathise with other women? If Kangana considers herself a feminist, was it not her responsibility to empathise with Hrithik’s wife and not choose to be in a relationship that can severely impact another woman? Is feminism not about solidarity?
This hypocrisy has led to women being the carriers of patriarchy. A woman imposing patriarchy on other women, for example – the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship; a woman competing with other women over a man and indulging in character assassination of each other; women propagating rumours about each other out of culturally ingrained ideas of patriarchy – that teach women to be jealous of one another; one woman indulging with another’s husband and shifting the blame only on the man etc have all been the product of the same.
Choosing to date a married man is right and dating even after being married is wrong, what sort of hypocrisy is this?
Does feminism not demand morality from the women? Or it’s all justified as movies like “Lipstick under my burkha” endorse. To have the right to make mistakes, does not mean throwing morality away in the trashcan. And by morality here, I do not wish to narrow it down to fidelity, which is only expected from a woman. There is a broader meaning to morality that involves the elements of humanism, sisterhood, empathy and compassion.
If Kangana wants people to stop working with Hrithik, for his infidelity, then she should also do the same as an equal partner. Is feminism not about equality? Or has it been reduced to women posing as victims where there is no victimisation – forgetting the fact it was personal choices made by two adults?
Reducing feminism to personal affairs and choices is a crime towards women empowerment.
#MeToo movement where on the one hand there are spine-chilling experiences of Vinta Nanda and Saloni Chopra, and on the other hand – are relationships that went sour and now women using the #MeToo space seemingly as a revenge tactic against their exes. We need to understand what this movement is about and what it should not be labelled as. We need to call out fake feminism, that has much to do with class and personal affairs than gender-based issues.
I disagree with Kangana Ranaut and call her out for using the women card to her likeness. Be it the case of accusing Sonu Sood of quitting Manikarnika, or targeting Roshan for personal reasons, the ease with which she uses the women card is not just worrying, but also against this women’s movement itself. She has no right to name her endeavours and interests as broader concerns of feminism.
While respecting her struggles as a small town girl in a nepotism-filled industry, I cannot sympathise with her on every count – because she does not have the liberty to use women card as and when she likes to do it.
It’s time we stop encouraging such pseudo-feminists and demarcate the liberties that can be taken in the name of feminism.
It’s about me, about you, about every woman across all the classes, castes and communities, who don’t have the luxury to indulge in affairs with married filmstars and use their privileged stance to call out their exes unnecessarily under #MeToo.
Feminism and related movements are about fighting for equal rights for women and fighting against the oppression of women as a whole and not about a personal affair gone wrong. It’s about women empowerment and not about playing the ‘woman card’. It’s about a woman who became the victim of mental and sexual harassment by a man from her neighbourhood, office, peer group or sometimes by her partner, and not about an actress struggling to seek revenge.
It’s high time we call out every woman like Kangana who uses her agency as a woman to undermine the cause of feminism and powerful movements like #MeToo.