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Dear Priyanka Chopra, can you stop bashing men?

PeeCee’s definition of feminism is frightening.
Text: Karan Bhardwaj

I’ve always lauded film stars who step out of their cocoon and discuss progressive ideas. I am thrilled that Priyanka Chopra has made it to the Time magazine’s cover page as one of the most influential individuals of this year. I was categorically impressed by her bold statements she made while interacting with press post Padma Shri facilitation in Delhi. Undoubtedly, she is a woman of substance who’s influencing millions of girls by setting bar for success higher and higher.

But what I’m bothered about is her views on gender issues. Time and again, she has bracketed men as objects in her fierce attempt to be superior of all. In her interview with Time, she has said, “When I was very young, I was 19 and I was doing the first few movies, I remember that my dates weren’t working out. My scheduling wasn’t working out for a movie with a very big actor. And the producer said, ‘Well, she can’t work it out, it’s fine, we’ll just cast someone else. Or, you know what? I’ll launch a new girl because girls are replaceable.’ I didn’t understand it then. But I think subconsciously it really worked on my mind, and I started picking up parts which were strong, which were not just the damsel in distress waiting for someone to rescue me. As much as I like being rescued. Every girl does … Now 13, 15 years later, whatever, I think that the movies that I do, I’m irreplaceable and the boys are replaceable.”

The fact that she was considered ‘replaceable’ in a male-dominated film industry is unconditionally condemnable, but now it seems she’s out to seek some sort of revenge from ‘boys’. Basking in Hollywood-driven glory, she’s using her status to avenge gender inequality she faced by endorsing gender disparity. While we are already fighting chauvinism and have made tiny development to outcast the phenomenon, Chopra’s flawed definition of feminism is drifting us toward yet another tread that takes pride in gender (male) bashing.

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It’s true Bollywood is driven by male superstars who rake in moolahs at the box office. Heroines are considered props that are easy to replace. However, by dint of hard work and fabulous choices at work, heroines have become a force to reckon with. Vidya Balan, Kangana Ranaut and Deepika Padukone are scripting the rules again. They are also openly discussing pay disparity. So why indulge in nasty blame game and muscle flexing when there’s another way to combat discrimination?

I remember another interview a few months ago where Chopra proclaimed she didn’t need a man for anything except children, and if her partner turned out to be a cheat, she could be violent on him. Later, she clarified her statement on Twitter: “Wow what is all this man hating what I said being converted into. Pls guys give a little credit.U shouldn’t need a man.U should want a man. (sic)” Whether or not you want a man in your life is definitely your choice. But does one have to be bitchy and objectify men? No.

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I have full sympathy with her as she faced prejudices at various levels. As a child, she was called kaali‘ (black). She faced racist barbs during her academics in the US. But I have to tell you that boys are as fragile and vulnerable as a woman. This ‘You vs I’ won’t benefit. Like a true achiever, she should leave animosity behind and call for change in mindsets rather than massaging her bruises by getting equation in your favour. Priyanka Chopra will be the happiest person if racism and gender inequality are wiped out.

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