You may love Shah Rukh Khan with all your heart but this is one statement from your favourite superstar, you will not be able to explain (or wish) away. With the sort of humour we’ve come to expect from the star, this statement is neither clever, nor funny.
At the Lalkaar concert, which was organised by the Population Foundation of India, Farhan Akhtar’s Men Against Rape and Discrimination (MARD), Shah Rukh Khan tried to define ‘masculinity’ – inadvertently illustrating the effects of patriarchy on men as well as reverse sexism. Khan said:
Farhan and I are generally not considered manly because we are a bit gentle, quiet, shy and we treat women well, in our hearts, souls and I have been told to say ‘equally’. (But) Farhan and I, and I am sure all the people present here, feel women are extremely superior than (sic) us and we are even scared of them. I believe that there is no shame in being scared of a woman, of our daughter, sister, mother, wife and girlfriend.
If you couldn’t spot the issue with this statement, here goes:
- ‘Not considered manly because you treat women well?’ Ummm.. what?
- For centuries women were required to be ‘gentle, quiet and shy’ – that doesn’t make them feminine traits. Shuttering people down into gender-rigid traits – that’s the first sign of patriarchy.
- The fight is for equality — nobody needs you to put women on a pedestal. Reversing patriarchy doesn’t solve anything
- And this bit right here — ‘no shame in being scared of a woman’ — please delete it from your lexicon. Abuse can come from anyone and it is never okay.
That Shah Rukh Khan failed to understand is how he promoted sexism by making this statement. A closer look at SRK’s statement and it seems the superstar wants to conform to the age-old ideas of masculinity. If a page from SRK’s handbook on masculinity is to be referred, one needs to be brutal to women to attain the title of being ‘manly’. The bit about him being shy and quiet made people think he lacked the traits required to be manly, doesn’t help either.
This problematic statement which could have been done without. At a time when the idea of feminism is getting more and more controversial, we really don’t need a superstar confusing people more by telling it is okay to be scared of women.
Shah Rukh Khan also spoke about domestic violence, although that too was incredibly warped and seemed to think that it’s just women who face domestic abuse and not vice-versa:
I know that all of you here, boys and girls and ladies and gents,believe that violence of any kind is bad and if there is any term as ‘baddest’ then violence against women is even badder and is the baddest thing to happen. Thank you for being here to support this cause.
Wow, Shah Rukh Khan. A little research perhaps, next time?
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