Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone are probably two of the most popular names in Indian cinema. Actually scratch that they are probably among the two most popular Indian stars globally. I mean Deepika is set to do a Hollywood film with Vin Diesel. Priyanka already has a hit show and moderately successful album in the US. There is no denying the success of either woman. In fact, in a sense I idolize both of them for their hard work, charisma and talent. But what I don’t agree with, idolize or even accept are their populist views on feminism and men.
In an interview published recently, Priyanka Chopra opened about several things including her views on babies and infidelity. On Babies she said “I don’t need a guy for anything else except for children. I buy my own diamonds. I don’t need anyone else to buy them for me.” If you’re going WTF after that, read what she said she’d do if a man cheated on her “I will beat the shit out of him. I am very violent that way. There’s no scope for infidelity and I will not tolerate it.” Now guys if you have seen Priyanka in Mary Kom you’d know that this is in fact a scary statement. While the former Miss World quickly addressed the topic on Twitter with a tweet.
It still does little to underplay the fact that she shouldn’t have made this statement at all. She might not have meant to attack men, but it sure seemed that way. She is a national icon, a recent Padma shri winner, an idol for young women across the country. She is all these things and rightfully so, but given her position she has to be careful about what she says because her audience also has impressionable young women who may try to take inspiration from this. While people might say I am overreacting a bit, how can one line by a celebrity affect a whole nation’s notion on feminism? It’s not one opinion, that’s how it starts. It’s these everyday statements that men and women both make that overtime become stereotypes or values for society. Plus it’s not like Priyanka Chopra is the only celebrity who has gone too far in the name of ‘Feminism’.
Remember Deepika Padukone’s women empowerment video ‘My Choice’. It is actually quite the artistically made video and it really does have some nice views about how women have a right on what to wear and on body issues. However one statement stood out for anyone watching “It’s my choice to have sex before marriage, to have sex outside of marriage…” Pretty messed up right? The message that most people got from this video was that it’s ok from women to have sex outside of marriage. Everyone ignoring all the good things the video spoke off, because of one poorly chosen sentence. Of course like Priyanka, Deepika immediately came out with a statement, refuting the fact that she supports infidelity.
Both women didn’t mean harm, but as celebrities they have a duty to set an example. Gender relations in India are at a crossroads. While women empowerment is the need of the hour, this should be done at cost of putting down the male gender. Our celebrities have the power to make a real difference in getting us a step closer to gender equality, but as Uncle Ben once told Spiderman so rightly “With great power comes great responsibility”.