Because everything a celebrity woman does is a ‘Controversy’
How bluntly do we name every single celeb’s encounter with an incident of harassment as a ‘controversy’—the Deepika controversy or the Preity controversy or the Gauhar controversy! But do we ever, for a second, think that a woman also has parents, a family, a set of friends and a life behind the camera? That woman also wakes up sans make-up in her pajamas and brushes her teeth and washes her face, stands in front of the mirror and smiles at herself. Only because you see her on the television or the big screen, all dolled up and pretty, wearing designer attires, looking gorgeous, dancing freely, moving freely, enjoying, laughing, talking and acting, does not mean she has no struggles and no dignity. In fact, she struggles more than other normal, ordinary women. She struggles not only for her gender, but also for her profession. She is stereotyped not only because of her gender, but also her job. She is battling with it every day. When she is getting ready in the make-up room, she knows: Yes, there can be this time, when someone will stand up and whistle, when someone will pass lewd comments, when a picture of her body can be cropped and edited and highlighted on social media platforms. Yes, she is scared, but she is brave. She stands up, puts a smile, and walks on the stage. She is there, to entertain you. And then, if someday somebody crosses the line, she ought to keep quiet. Yes, not only does she has to keep shut whenever she is objectified on the umpteen number of platforms—digital, print and electronic—she must not raise her voice even if she is insulted personally, in public or alone, even if she is sexually assaulted, or even if she is attacked. Because that will just be considered as a publicity stunt: she lost followers in the past and to gain them back, all this woman can do is, stand up, dress up, provoke and then complain. Right? And that is the mentality with which we live. We are so deeply occupied with our preconceived notions, with our so-called ‘ideologies’, and with our chauvinism and hypocrisies, that we always overlook the other side of everything. A woman is dumb, weak and docile. She must obey. Every inch of the flesh of her body reveals the story of her dignity. She must be covered and she must look dignified. And if she fails, the men are there, to laugh at her and to chop off her wings. She is either not allowed to fly or forced to die, die within, with shame and trauma, with horror and guilt, of not being able to fulfill the conventions, the standards set by the men, the rulers of this world. If she is a celebrity, she is always, 24×7, 365 days a year, hungry for publicity—for the cameras to catch her and for the news to discuss her. She wants to make the headlines and for that, well, she has no standards, she will stoop to the level of just pretending to be harassed and molested and manhandled and insulted and then she would call for sympathy. The media will go running to cover the event, to get to talk to her, to interview the accused, and to publish sensational headlines like “She is back, back in the limelight! Mission successful!”. Right? Because that’s what women in showbiz are all about, that is what they do, and that is the depth of their hunger—starving for attention, they sell their souls. But a man? No, no, no! He will never do that! After all, women are the Drama Queens craving for publicity. It’s so effeminate!
Whatever happened to Gauhar Khan too was this—it was just a way for her to get the cameras rolling; to get eyes on her; it was just another self-generated, self-planned, self-executed controversy. Now, she will be in the news for a week or so, and then she will have to do something else, sometime later, all over again, to get some promotion and attention again. Right?
About the Author: This article is contributed by Ojaswini Srivastava. Ojaswini is a Respect Women’s contributor and a student of English Literature at the University of Delhi, who looks forward to study and work on gender issues. Believing herself as a feminist, an agnostic, thinker and writer, she aspires to become a respected writer someday!