Mila Kunis has just started a debate again on sexism in the movie industry. For years, it was a taboo to discuss the never ceasing sexism in the movie industry. Whether it’s Hollywood or Bollywood, the treatment towards women remains the same. While earlier the criteria was to sweep it under the rug, women today have put their foot down against such an attitude. This is not only a step towards empowering women but brings it in the limelight. A field as glamorous as the movie industry is vital in bringing the issue to the fore.
The perpetual act of promoting men at the cost of women has been a part of society. However, with changing times, there has been a surge in the people speaking against sexism. In every field, women are leaving men far behind and making a mark for themselves. Well, the glamour industry is no stranger to this change. While we all have taken a huge leap forward, there is still a huge gap in the treatment of women in the East and the West. It is obvious that this difference is evident in the perception of female actors in Bollywood.
In the light of above instance, famous celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Amanda Seyfried, Amy Adams, and Renee Zellweger have addressed the issue of sexism. The latest female celebrity to join them is Mila Kunis.
Now there are two ways of introducing a female celebrity- Exhibit 1: “Mila Kunis is a Hollywood movie star. A talented actress, a Golden Globe nominee, and a recipient of Oklahoma Film Critic Award for Black Swan.”
Exhibit 2: “Mila Kunis, a mega star in Hollywood. She is Ashton Kutcher’s wife and expecting a second child with the actor.”
Do you see the difference? If you don’t, then you are a part of the problem. While the first stresses on her work and her identity as an actor, the second one glorifies her status as Ashton Kutcher’s wife. Mila Kunis accurately points it out in her essay for A Plus; calling out the rampant sexism treated as just another incident which is actually an everyday occurrence.
As pointed out earlier, the same is evident in Bollywood. The situation is definitely worse in Hindi film industry. From skimpy clothes to nude scenes, item songs and damsel in distress portrayal, women in Bollywood have a long way to go. While the likes of Deepaka Padukone and Anushka Sharma have spoken up, in reality the issue barely gets a nudge. Talented female actors such as Huma Qureshi and Sonakshi Sinha are but a few who become victims of criticism for their weight. People fail to appreciate their work and judge them solely for their looks. In this time and age, hard work should matter more, and not a person’s size.
Sexism is not the way to go!!
Mila’s essay brings forth a hoard of other issues, earlier exposed by Anushka Sharma as well. Few of these would be the wage gap, the vulgar language, and women who are seen as nothing but a piece of meat. While a man is still a superstar when he is 50 and above, female actors are termed old at 35. The excuse given is that they seem to have lost their appeal. The same happens when an actress chooses to get married or has a baby. People call it cute when Salman, Shah Rukh, Tom Cruise, or George Clooney work with a new and young actress. But, God forbid if some day Tabu or Rekha decide to work with a newbie actor.
The above instances are nothing but a glimpse of the blatant sexism that acts as a termite in the industry. It is shameful that media chooses to report incessantly on Deepak Padukone’s cleavage, or Ariel Winter’s decision to go for a breast reduction surgery.
It is downright deplorable when Sonakshi Sinha gets a comment calling her a “fat cow”. Moreover, it does not seem to stop any moment now. The roots of this sexist tradition lie deep within the belly of the society. Such a mentality has tightly gripped the minds of people. It is absurd that an actress for a movie is decided on the basis of the actor.
To say that the road ahead is full of potholes and ditches would be an understatement. However it is not an impossible feet. We can start by appreciating them for their work and not body or clothes. Following this with an equal pay is a great step forward. Although it is a small step but it is one that goes in the right direction.