On Preity Zinta, Misogyny and Intersectionality

Preity Zinta

Recently, Preity Zinta lodged a formal complaint against her ex Ness Wadia, for alleging intimidation during the IPL. You can read the full content of her official complaint here.

Now it’s very brave of a woman to come forward and do this in India, considering proportion of the misogyny and how inevitably worse it gets in proportion when you’re a celebrity who is in the spotlight. And to put things in context, she’s also someone who refused to retract from her testimony in 2003 Bharat Shah Case while major figureheads in Bollywood “chickened out”.

Later on she posted this status asking people and media to stop humiliating her over this :

Every human being has a limit to how much they can take ; some of us foolishly call it strength and try to look ahead focusing on the positives of work and life. All these years i have never said anything about him in the media but now i have no choice.

I humbly request the media and my supporters to pls focus on the issue and the incident that happened in Wankade and not turn this and me into a TV soap. This is not easy for me and my intention is not to harm anyone but simply to protect myself and to stand up for myself. I don’t want any sympathy from anyone but i will sincerely appreciate it if people do not try to take away my dignity in the process of my fight for respect at my workplace. I think after all these years i deserve it and I’m not asking for too much.

Now unsurprisingly, many people characterized this as “celebrity drama” (because what’s more fun for a woman here than reporting harassment right?) and rest, as evident from the comment section (lead by “Masculinists”) are engaging in blatant misogynistic douchebaggery calling her a “gold digger” and accusing her of lying. Business as usual.

Most of this backlash seems to be born out of the usual, garden variety misogyny, which comes with the notion that since it has to be her simply “whining” about it, because her ex harassing her is nothing but a woman making a “big deal” out of a spat between her ex. But female celebrities being at the worse end of it in many ways because people can’t stand the thought of a successful woman, being able to stand up for herself and not putting up with this shit.

However there’s another section of people who shame her for lodging a complaint because “little girls are raped and hanged for nothing”:

 

Now this is a whole different type of douchebaggery. There were a bunch of comments on Preity Zinta’s original status which said more or less the same (which seems to be cleaned up now) – i.e. how she should stop making a “big deal” of harassment while worse things are happening in the country.

The worst thing about these comments are, ironically, how they smack of classism – i.e. turning rape of underprivileged women/children to our own desi version of “starving children in Africa have it worse” meme. While class (along with caste etc.), no doubt, plays a huge role in discrimination against women (and intersectionality is hence important) using this to put a woman down is not only terribly misogynistic, but also incredibly classist. Discrimination faced by underprivileged women are not some sort of leverage for you to trivialize misogyny.

What this case reflects is how, even for a female celebrity with class privilege, has put up with this terrible level of misogyny for merely filing a formal complaint against harassment. And the same people who create an environment where misogyny is desensitized wonder where all these “monsters” who commit these “brutal rapes” come from.

 

Advertisements

27 responses to “On Preity Zinta, Misogyny and Intersectionality

  1. Excellent post.

    The tweet from Tavleen Singh is outrageous. I mean that’s hypocrisy at its very best. I always knew she had this condescending tone about her but she also has issues with basic human rights is what surprises me. As for Preity, she is a gutsy woman and what she did is her right in this country. She stood up against the underworld too some years back. She’s outspoken, truthful and brave.

    Tavleen Singh should have realized that Bollywood is the seat of abuse for so many people. Its not a new thing. For a celebrity to come out and tell everyone what she’s dealing with is a big deal.
    SHAME ON TAVLEEN SINGH.

    This is not the first time Ness Wadia is facing trouble. He was booked for assault back in 2009 too at S Africa during the IPL. A woman had complained about molestation. Trouble began for Wadia when he found out that woman was a very very successful industrialist’s daughter and Ness Wadia had to go through a lot of trouble. So this is not the first time it’s happening and yet people like Ms Singh are sulking without any reason.

    JusticeForPreity

  2. Well written 🙂 I have a personal qualm with this ‘Preity Ness Mess’ as the media is calling it because of the media. Preity should 100% stick to her guns and do what she needs to do to protect herself. And tbh, I don’t know the details of the case so who am I to judge whether it’s a small or great harassment. And whatever, the scale of the harassment doesn’t even matter.

    My problem is the media now harassing the girl, when they should congratulate her on her bravery. She knows fully well that the media will sensationalise. Report on the case with some integrity instead of victim-blaming her! Bring up the complaint, talk about what happened at Wankhede, rehash the past IPL complaint against Ness Wadia. Don’t shame her for her ‘class’ or ‘severity of issue’.

    Clearly the message they are sending is that only those women who are raped brutally, deserve to be heard, not the women who are ogled and harassed on public transport or on Delhi roads. Thanks for that.

  3. Well written dude. I wish all men and women will stand up for justice instead of criticising.
    Pity Tavleen Singh said that, ignoring all basic human rights.

  4. A very thoughtfully written piece. A point I’d like to add is how the media first made it out to be about molestation, and then pretended that Preity had retracted a molestation case, when actually the lawyers’ note was a clarification on the media story. There was no molestation alleged, but an attempt to criminally assault and intimidate while outraging the modesty of a woman. The IPC sections she filed under are clear. I add this point to show how the media itself fabricates a story of a confused woman continually changing her stand (apparently under pressure) to stretch out the story. It is like taking a criminal incident and adding some daily soap to it to make it a little bit of everything – evil, treacherous, misogynist, and with continuous twists. It is even worse when women in the media and elsewhere issue irresponsible public statements. A woman must know better than the rest that an ex-beau can be harassing and troublesome, that criminal intimidation/threat to outrage modesty are often dangerous signals for assault that is to come, and that workplace harassment is a reality that ought to be stood up against. To take recourse to law when there is one, in this blessed country of ours where there are usually none, is correct and I hope Preity sticks to her stand, no matter who thinks what and what comes of it. After all, bringing to book the great-grandson of Jinnah and owner of Go-Air and Bombay Dyeing is next to impossible to achieve, however much of an entitled jerk he be.

  5. I loved the article, beautifully written and believe and support every word that has been written…this case is like every other where women have to face bullying, under mining and intimidation at the work place just because they are equal or better than their male counter parts….. being on the recieving end both in India and even in a developed country which is sensitive (being politically correct is the limit) to concepts like equal opprotunity.. I can understand the appeal that Priety has made…. I am however amazed at Tavleen Singh’s tweet and her belief that changing the grammer of a sentnce will change the meaning…it is one of the most irresponsble public responses that I have seen so far…. what a mockery of right to equality….

  6. He grabbed her hand and she filed a case for molestation( or her lawyer did it). Isn’t molestation related to violating private parts? Further, according to Wadia’s version, she sat on the seats that he ahd reserved for his aged mother and refused to get up. If you don’t shout in such a situation, then do you keep quiet and ask your mom to go back home despite yourself being a co-owner of the company?

      • Hahaha, I love how ‘shouting’ is okay and justified in India. This explains all the justified shouting in trains and roads and well generally.. everywhere.. lets all shout, coz thats the only way to get things done.

    • You suck zoravar. Its cuz of moronic filled with shit dickheads like you all men get a bad name. Shame on you.

      • Get your frustration, but please try to keep it clean, I would ideally like to avoid personal insults/attacks although I would try not to censor anything unless absolutely necessary. Thank you.

      • Hmm, true, i don’t think you would have the balls to call yourself a feminist. So I don’t really know who fits the word ‘dickhead’ better.

      • Roshnee,
        That’s a bit uncalled for though, isn’t it? Because many feminists themselves don’t agree on whether or not men could call themselves feminists. I have explained why I call myself that in my about section – but just saying.

      • I was being sarcastic to the guy above. So I’m agree in with u. Haha

        I don’t think you have to justify why you call yourself a feminist. It’s like saying you have to be Hindu to be vegetarian or live in a polluted country to support anti pollution. I think it’s silly of women to feel only they can be feminists. It’s about wanting a better world without biases and anyone can side that. It takes some forward thinking and maturity in our patriarchal society to seem yourself a feminist and hence I respect you.

        Bell hooks, a feminist writer said that gender conformity affects us all and hence it is very much a male problem as well.

        In the end feminism is about equality. And some of the first feminists were male. – those who helped propagate female education and voting.

        I’m doing my MA in this idea of gender and class conformity in India. And your blog is a lovely case in point.

  7. Who the F is Tavleen Singh?! This is exactly the problem in India…focusing on such morons and their comments rather than focusing and boosting support for the actual problem and the people involved…Tavleen Singh or whoever thinks crime/threats against women is a joke can go to hell for all I care…but I do care if Zinta or any woman for that matter who is seeking justice for a crime/violence/threat against her..

  8. Hats off to Preity! She’s probably one of the few celebrities who doesn’t shy away from doing the right thing and standing up for herself, which is probably why Ness Wadua reacted the way he did. Most men are threatened by successful and powerful women and their only way of responding is verbal/physical/sexual abuse. Women go through this all the time and don’t speak up as it’s become so bloody normal. I’m a woman and very proud of what she did for herself as well as giving the strength to others who are doubtful due to the so called “society of Indian values and tradition” that we live in. It’s all a farce.

  9. I really hope you feel extremely overflowed with the massive amount of self-righteouness you managed to pull off. Somehow wadia’s statement sounds unbelievable to you and you were ready to bet your life on everything that came out of Preity’s mouth. As a equalist myself (I feel the word feminist has been brutally exploited by people like you than what was meant for), I feel sorry for a woman- his mother. It was her seat, you don’t know if she was tired and frustrated (maybe molested) by Preity’s antics. I bet you wouldn’t have written this beautiful article with so much support it seems to gather if wadia had pulled the hand of a guy. You dont even know how she behaved in the stands to make wadia behave like that before you go ahead and bestow all the worlds pity on her.

    Let me ask you another question in your area of expertise. Where were you with you fancy little articles and so much support when Rakhi Sawant was forcibly kissed on her b’day by Mika? Did you, with all your self-righteous ness think she was just a attention whore?because that was real molestation and I didn’t see you parading on the internet (which is btw most effective means for any sort of change (saracasm)). Did you take the call that somehow rakhi was a lesser woman than preity? (If yes then why?). If you think you didn’t have the awareness,attitude, skills, time etc then, you can always start writing from now. You will have my full support.
    I was really impressed by the title of your blog and expected some concrete logic but sorry to say brother your article reminds me of a kindergarten kid whining to gather attention.

    • I really hope you feel extremely overflowed with the massive amount of self-righteouness you managed to pull off.

      What can I say, I love me some self-righteousness in the morning!

      Somehow wadia’s statement sounds unbelievable to you and you were ready to bet your life on everything that came out of Preity’s mouth.

      Yeah right – because clearly that’s what the blog is about. Seriously?
      She’s lodged a formal complaint, and she’s facing vile misogynistic vitriol for that, and opposing that should suddenly mean “I bet my life on everything that comes out of Preity’s mouth” right? FML.

      As a equalist myself (I feel the word feminist has been brutally exploited by people like you than what was meant for)

      Oops, my apologies for all that “brutal exploitation”. Good to know that there are “equalists” like yourselves though.

      I feel sorry for a woman- his mother. It was her seat, you don’t know if she was tired and frustrated (maybe molested) by Preity’s antics.

      Already responded to in a comment above, read it. And WTF – she was “molested” by Preity’s antics? Do you even know what molestation means?

      I bet you wouldn’t have written this beautiful article with so much support it seems to gather if wadia had pulled the hand of a guy. You dont even know how she behaved in the stands to make wadia behave like that before you go ahead and bestow all the worlds pity on her.

      I am supporting her against the misogynistic vitriol that’s been levelled against her, which is what the whole article is about. How a woman’s word is utterly dismissed (and in this case using ironically classist narrative) and how she is shamed for filing a complaint. What has this got to do with whether or not I may write against if Wadia had pulled the hand of a guy?

      And wow, I should “understand” why Wadia did it now? So now intimidation against a woman is to be contextualized in some way? How would that make it any less worse exactly, whatever context you may put this in?

      Where were you with you fancy little articles and so much support when Rakhi Sawant was forcibly kissed on her b’day by Mika? Did you, with all your self-righteous ness think she was just a attention whore?because that was real molestation and I didn’t see you parading on the internet (which is btw most effective means for any sort of change (saracasm)). Did you take the call that somehow rakhi was a lesser woman than preity? (If yes then why?).

      First of all, I don’t owe you shit re: explanations. This is my blog, not a news journal, and I blog about things that I feel writing about. Sometimes I don’t write about things because there are more comprehensive articles than mine that’s available elsewhere. Sometimes I don’t because of writers block. I don’t know why I have to explain any of that to you. Second of all, the Rakhi Sawant case (which was clearly sexual assault, not intimidation as with this case) took place in 2006 (if memory serves me right), and I started blogging somewhere around last year. So just because my blog didn’t exist at the time and I didn’t blog about an incident that occurred like 8 years back, that must mean I value her less as a woman? Get a grip.

      I was really impressed by the title of your blog and expected some concrete logic but sorry to say brother your article reminds me of a kindergarten kid whining to gather attention.

      I think my reasoning (I don’t know what “concrete logic” means but alright) is alright “bro”, and you didn’t point out any flaws in my reasoning except missing the whole point of my post.

      Anywho I’m glad that my “kindergarten whining” nevertheless attracted your invaluable attention and promoted you to post a lengthy comment. I must be doing something right, afterall huh? 🙂

  10. A heretofore seemingly intellectual / enlightened male author friend wrote about the Preity Zinta piece, calling her an ‘aging actress’ and added stuff about the casting couch and how she surely made her foray into Bollywood through it. I really wish people would stick to the real issue and seeking justice, rather than casting aspersions on the woman’s age, sex life and honesty.

  11. IMF! I am certainly not a misogynist but I must respectfully disagree with you. In the past I have admired Zinta for having the courage to speak out against the mafia etc. but this time around, all this hullabaloo over what is clearly an ugly spat with an ex leaves me cold. I read her complaint and her main grouse seems to be that she was molested and verbally abused in front of a whole lotta people. My take is that she has not done herself any favours by bringing the attention of the entire country and its sister to her “humiliation”.
    Surely it is more dignified to deal with this issue in private instead of washing her dirty laundry in public? If she had the cojones to take on the mafia in court surely she is more than equal to the task of handling a moron who allegedly grabbed her hand? I am not sure if I agree with those who claim that she did this for publicity but it seems clear that there is a lot of unresolved issues between the former lovers and she comes across as a tantrum throwing, litigious ex. Again, it is something they should clear up, with each other before moving on and spare the rest of us the sordid details of their petty altercations.

    • *sigh*
      If he grabbed her hand and intimidated her, he deserves to be taken to court. Why exactly are you trivializing this? Why is it that when a woman files a legitimate complaint that is a basic right of every citizen of this country, her motives are suddenly brought into question? It’s understandable why some women wouldn’t want to file a complaint in such cases, but why are we even discussing this and piling on attacks on her for merely lodging one, which is the right course of action?

      And she didn’t “air her dirty laundry in the public” – she did the exact opposite and lodged a formal complaint. What exactly should she have done, just “suck it up”?

      • If a woman is a victim of domestic violence, would you ask her to sort things in private with the concerned people or should she file an FIR? The latter is definitely not called ‘washing dirty linen in public’.

    • Publicity for what? Oh yeah I’m making millions of dollars out of this “publicity” – get over it, god. This is my personal blog. You hate it? Well no one asked you to read my personal blog or what I write. Good enough? I don’t owe an explanation to you, do I?

      And stop spamming unless you have something constructive to say.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s