FEMINIST CONVERSATIONS: Actresses Sonam Kapoor, Rowan Blanchard & Kalki Koechlin

sonam-kapoor-rowan-blanchard-kalki-koechlin

Yep, it’s that time of the week again! Time for another installment of the GTHQ “Feminist Conversations” series. This is where we share positive and diverse messages about feminism shared by celebrities or public figures, in a bid to combat all the negativity surrounding the movement that seeps its way onto the internet almost daily.

We understand that feminism can be a very controversial, dividing and even flawed concept at times, but the most important aspect is that we share with our audiences messages that relate to its definition, that being: the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.

In this edition we have some great perspectives from three actresses: Disney star Rowan Blanchard and Bollywood beauties Sonam Kapoor and Kalki Koechlin. By now you are probably familiar with Rowan’s passion for intersectionality and using her social media platform and her speech for UN Women to share powerful messages about gender equality.

Despite being super busy with her acting career, this young dynamite role model doesn’t put her feminist heart on the backburner and uses many interview opportunities to share why it is important to her. Her voice is clearly reaching many in the younger generation, so when we heard about her involvement in Instagram’s #MyStory campaign, it totally made sense.

The campaign is utilizing young influencers and game-changers like Rowan who use the power of social media to spread awareness about something they are passionate about. For her, using her voice is not an option, it is a must, and that is something she wants to encourage other young women to do on social media. While everyone’s causes may be different, Rowan’s is feminism, and it makes us giddy to know that after many years of seeing not-so-great female role models dominate tabloids and media headlines, it’s really cool to see a generation of girls setting positive and powerful examples instead.

“I think it’s important for girls to recognize feminist issues because it directly affects them,” said Rowan in an interview with Entertainment Weekly about her involvement in Instagram’s campaign. She also adds how feminism helped her realize the power of sisterhood and now she wants other girls to feel the same about it.

rowan-blanchard

“[I got to] a point where it made me feel like I have the power to change the world by speaking my voice,” she said. But speaking out isn’t always as easy as it sounds, because especially when you talk about feminism, it comes with a lot of criticism as a celebrity.

“You’re told, when you’re a kid, like, ‘You can change the world’, but it’s a difficult thing to speak out,” she said, citing the example of Jennifer Lawrence’s essay about being paid less than her male co-stars in ‘American Hustle’ which became public knowledge after the Sony leaks in 2014.

“I think every female actress knew it, and they all knew that it was happening, but nobody wanted to say anything because they were just like, ‘Okay, you know what, I still got paid; it wasn’t as much, but I still got paid’. Society was telling them if that if you speak out you’re going to be labeled, like, this feminist crazy person, difficult, difficult to work with — and that, in itself, is very sexist. All these female actresses are literally labeled difficult to work with because, God forbid, they have an opinion,” she said.

Since the status quo seems to be to stay quiet and don’t rock the boat, it’s important to have more and more women encourage each other to speak out in order to create change.

“It’s frustrating that, immediately, Jennifer Lawrence is labeled as annoying. Like, ‘Oh, she’s complaining. She’s complaining too much.’ It’s difficult, but people have to keep on doing it in order to break these barriers. I’m definitely happy that people are speaking out and people are recognizing that they have the power to change things,” she concluded.

Rowan is not the only feminist who believes it takes women and men not being fearful of the criticism they may receive if they speak out about the need for equality. Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor, daughter of legendary Indian cinema icon Anil Kapoor (‘Slumdog Millionaire’), is unafraid of challenging patriarchal mindsets and cultural gender boundaries that still exist in India.

Sonam-and-Anil-Kapoor

When asked about her views on feminism at the recent Mumbai Film Festival, she didn’t hold back.

“I am a complete feminist. Being a feminist is to understand that it’s not about boys and girls, it’s about being who you are, not being afraid, and standing up for what you believe is right,” she said. That question has become quite the mainstay in celebrity interviews these days, some which hold noble intentions and others which seem to be about click-bait and controversial headlines.

Thankfully, Sonam is all about the genuine message and even cites her famous dad as being a major influence in why she believes in gender equality.

“My father is the best person I know because he encourages me and my sister. He treats me as a strong capable individual and for that he is a feminist. He believes that these girls are more than capable of doing a lot of things which a lot of people are not,” she said.

At the same event she also shared her thoughts on the wage gap, saying women shouldn’t work for anyone who will pay her less than a man in her equal position.

“They complain about equal pay and I understand that. If you think you deserve something, fight for it and the best way to fight for it, is by not doing it. So don’t work for those people who you think are not paying you enough. Don’t complain about it,” she said.

In keeping with the theme of Bollywood actresses sharing their thoughts on feminism, we have one more to add to the mix, Kalki Koechlin. The half-French Hindi actress is known from both her stage and screen performances, but it is her words about feminism and gender equality that have us giving her a standing ovation.

kalki-koechlin

“I think a feminist is somebody who believes in women being humans,” she said in an interview with Indian media a few months ago, in response to a question about the country’s view on feminism being a very “militant” movement, which Kalki disagrees with.

“This term ‘feminism’ has been bastardized to the point where the average girl doesn’t want to be associated with it. But it’s not what feminism stands for that is the problem, it’s the damn stigma that’s synonymous with it,” she said. And she is absolutely right! Which is why we believe more and more women need to share their definitions and apply it to how it has helped shape their own lives.

Kalki has previously spoken openly about being sexually abused, going through a divorce as a public figure and has even commented on the rape culture in India where women are continually blamed for the crime, by taking part in a tongue-in-cheek PSA:

She may not be as well known to international audiences like Priyanka Chopra or Aishwarya Rai, but Kalki Koechlin has just moved to the top of our Bollywood feminist list. In an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine earlier in the year she didn’t hold back talking about male feminists, how laws in India need to change to protect women, misconceptions about feminists being man-haters, parents teaching young boys about gender equality, and using social media to share important and powerful messages. Here are some snippets:

“We’re constantly talking to women about feminism-which is often preaching to the converted. We don’t bring it up enough with men. We need to talk to boys in school, in college. Several schools still have set-ups where boys and girls sit separately-if you allow that kind of segregation at that age, you’re telling kids it’s okay to think of themselves as ‘separate’ from each other. We keep telling women they need to be strong, but what’s the point of being a strong woman if the man you’re living with, employed by or fathered by has absolutely no concept of what feminism is?”

“Equality needs to be ingrained at a young age, so boys grow up with it and it’s up to the parents to step in and make sure they do. We should try to raise our boys so they grow up to be feminist men.”

“People assume that women are all ‘naturally feminist’, but that’s so far from true! Women can be just as (if not more) anti-feminist as men. We’re always bitching about each other, stereotyping other women, and saying things like ‘Oh, look at the way she dresses!’ or ‘Oh, look at the way she talks!’. Leave other women alone-it’s their life, not yours. And if we’re going to put ourselves down, it’s an entryway to letting men put us down too. We, as women need to be a sisterhood, and to stop obsessing so much!”

And if you love this powerhouse woman as much as we do, then you will love her speech given at an event on International Women’s Day 2014 where she targets the patriarchal mindset in India, steeped in culture and tradition, as being one of the primary forces holding women back from equality. We think it is a fitting video to end on in this version of Feminist Conversations where actresses are not just using their platforms to talk about feminism, they are engaging their fans and followers to be activists as well:

5 Comments

  1. Great article,thanks a lot for sharing this useful information about
    India .

  2. I really enjoy reading your website. The content is great and informative. I have bookmarked your website because I’ll visit it regularly after this. Keep up this great work.
    India .

  3. Pingback: Bollywood Star Kalki Koechlin's Spoken Word Poetry On The Power Of Media Spin Is A Must-Watch - GirlTalkHQ

  4. Great and wonderful article

  5. thanks for sharing this article
    as i am big fan of sonam kapoor

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.