Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
Feminism, simply put, is the belief in social, economic, and political equality of the sexes. A feminist, therefore, is a person who supports such equality.
A feminist icon is a symbol of women's empowerment and solidarity.
A feminist icon is exactly what Kangana Ranaut is not.
In recent times, Kangana has made headlines for her comments on a number of issues. Most of her comments, unfortunately, were made to attack other women in the industry.
No, name-calling is not feminism, nor is demeaning other women.
Once upon a time, Kangana was appreciated for calling out powerful men in the industry -- an industry where women are hardly ever allowed to be loud, just like in the rest of the world. Kangana called them out for being unfair. She called out patriarchy.
What started off as Kangana's bold attempt to smash misogyny and favouritism in the industry has snowballed into her spree to attack, shame and embarrass her colleagues.
On September 16, Kangana in an interview with Times Now called actress Urmila Matondkar a "soft porn star".
"She is not known for her acting for sure. What is she known for? For doing soft porn," Kangana had said, referring to Urmila Matondkar.
Let us not get into a discussion over what Matondkar is really known for, or about the iconic roles she has played in Bollywood. The fact to be kept in mind here is attacking someone with an explicitly misogynistic slur does not place Kangana on a higher pedestal, nor does it make her a feminist icon.
Although commenting on Matondkar made Kangana hit a new low, this is not the first time she decided to pull down other women in the industry. The same woman who slammed Karan Johar for being the "flag-bearer of nepotism" has refused to show any solidarity with those that she should have fought for -- the outsiders.
Kangana's sister Rangoli, who has been a major 'supporter' of her sister's journey to humiliate others, called Taapsee Pannu Kangana's 'sasti copy'. Not stopping there, Kangana went on to call both Taapsee and Swara Bhaskar "B-grade actresses" and "needy outsiders".
To all of us who followed her tweets and comments, these unnecessary attacks were a major contradiction of her own efforts to fight against nepotism.
If Kangana is against the industry giving more importance to star kids, don't the outsiders deserve her support? Shouldn't Kangana have led their collective struggle to establish themselves better in the industry?
Calling out nepotism in the industry is not synonymous with hurling sexist remarks like "mafia bimbo" at Sonam Kapoor. It was not okay to call Rhea Chakraborty a "gold-digger" based on her assumptions.
Humiliating Rhea because Kangana thought she was a "small time druggie" dependent on Sushant Singh Rajput's money degraded her own image, not Rhea's. It was nothing but a glaring reminder that Kangana is part of the society that has been continuously vilifying a woman already being put through a distasteful media trial.
Kangana's referring to Deepika Padukone's struggles with mental health issues as "depression ka dhandha" was far from a bold move -- it was regressive and deplorable. It threw light on society's lack of awareness and indifference towards the importance of talking about mental health.
Kangana is a part of a system that trivialises mental health and disrespects the struggles of those fighting it.
It is important to not ignore Kangana and her comments, like we choose to ignore many others', because years ago, when Kangana had spoken up against nepotism, racism, pay parity and gender bias, she had given hopes to a lot of men and women who were scared to fight.
But today, Kangana is no better than those in the the system she once tried to expose.
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