For a celeb with no claim to fame other than her marriage, Mira Rajput has been in the news an awful lot recently. And she's making headlines again. Mira's latest statement, where she spoke out against feminism, comes after she had been taken to task for some 'irresponsible' statements made on Koffee with Karan .
Also read: Koffee with trouble: Shahid Kapoor-Mira Rajput sell a flawed 'baby = love' logic
Speaking at a Women's Day event, Rajput said, “The new wave of feminism is aggressive and destructive. There is a term called 'feminazi' which is now becoming the female equivalent of a male chauvinist.”
As alleged by Mira Rajput, I am a 'feminazi', and I have a host of problems with a lot of Mrs Rajput's opinions. Consider this an open letter if you will, or a long rant written out on a thick fat wad of A4 sheets with a black marker, held up horizontally in absolute silence. What ever gets the point across these days.
Now, even before we get into the meat of everything that is wrong with Rajput's views, let's take a look at the term 'feminazi' itself. Feminazi is a terrible, terrible word. A word that brings together two far removed concepts – feminism and Nazism, to vaguely define a trope that consists of women who are allegedly out to decimate men and/or women who burn their bras. The term 'feminazi' thus belittles two extremely serious historical issues – the women's struggle and the horrific legacy of the Nazis.
To use this word is to be very dismissive of not just the centuries of struggles that women have undertaken to acquire some semblance of freedom, but also of the nightmarish atrocities of the Holocaust. Thus, quite understandably, we 'new-wave feminists' have a lot of problems with this word.
But to get caught up in that one term would be a disservice to Mrs Rajput's ignorance. Building on her missteps on Koffee With Karan, Rajput went on to talk about motherhood and her choice to have an arranged marriage, the choice to marry early and to be a stay-home mother and homemaker.
“It’s my choice if I want to be at home, it’s someone else’s choice if they want to be a working woman.
“I am a homemaker and wear that label with pride. I had a tough pregnancy. I went through those five months of difficult times to bring our daughter into this world. Now I want to spend every moment that I can with her...I wouldn’t want to spend one hour with Misha and then rush off to work. Why did I have her? Misha is not a puppy.”
Of course, Misha is not a puppy Mira! Don't be silly. But you know which babies are also not puppies? The babies of mothers who do not have a choice BUT to go to work everyday, babies of women who need to rush out after an hour to make sure they make money, for themselves or their family, without which a daily meal or baby food might be hard to come by. Their children are not puppies either and, post-partum depression notwithstanding, most mothers want to spend every breathing hour watching their bundle of joy grow.
It is commendable that Mira spoke her mind. But somewhere between Karan's couch and holding that mic at a Women's Day function, she seems to have forgotten that she has something that millions of women around the world do not have – it is called privilege, and to conflate it with maternal instincts is plain wrong.
“Don't be so hard on her, she's very young. She didn't ask for it!”said someone who accused me of writing a 'click-baity' article on the whole Koffee with Karan Mira-Shahid episode.
Of course, she did not ask for it. She was just another pretty girl from a posh South Delhi college who got married to a Bollywood star and now, unfortunately, is raked through the coals for every statement she makes in public and on national TV.
But with great privilege comes great responsibility, Mira. Now that you sit there invited to speak at an event, you are no longer 'just another pretty girl'. There are thousands out there listening to what you have to say, and thousands who will be told that your way is the 'right' way to be – in this case, to be a mother and to be a wife/homemaker.
Your privilege and the new addition to your name has made you someone the 'regular' public looks up to. Therefore, it may be sad, but you have to choose your words with care, you have to take responsibility for the things that you say.
When you speak about how arranged marriage worked for you, there will be many young women, some even younger than you, who will be forced into unhappy arranged marriages with you as a role model.
When you speak about how you love to be a homemaker and mother, how you wouldn't have it any other way, there will be many young mothers who will be asked to quit their jobs and stay at home to take care of their kids with you as a role model.
You didn't ask for this, how would you have known? But the thing is you DO know the influence you wield, Mira – and that's exactly why you speak out. If no one was listening, would you find it necessary to explain how proud you are of being a stay-at-home-mom?
You're right, feminism is not about man versus woman, but rather equality. However, just as it isn't man versus woman, it is also not woman versus woman. By glorifying and giving rosy agency to how your life is – you've alienated and vilified so many other women. And at the cost of being misunderstood – this is exactly why the 'aggressive, destructive' feminism is still needed.