Bollywood actor Lisa Haydon became a household name in India after her performance in the 2013 film Queen. Haydon played an independent, single mother in France in the Hindi film, which won accolades for its feminist plot.
But the actress, who is half Indian and half Australian, has recently said that she does not “like the word feminist.”
“Feminism is just an overused term and people make too much noise about it for no reason,” the model-turned-actress told Times of India in a recent interview. She went on to add that she does not want to be a “career feminist” but looks “forward to making dinner for my husband and children.”
With these statements, Haydon has joined a long list of Bollywood actresses who have absolutely no idea what feminism means, and are quick to distance themselves from the term. Leading Bollywood stars, like Priyanka Chopra, Madhuri Dixit and Parineeti Chopra, have all shunned the F-word. Ironically, they all seem to believe in gender equality and are vocal advocates for equal pay in the film industry and girls’ education efforts in India.
Here are some reasons given by Bollywood actresses for not being feminists:
- I strive for equality.
- I want girls to be treated the way men are.
- A woman should be respected for what she has achieved and not for being someone’s girlfriend.
- I don’t hate men.
- I am independent and strong, which is what women should be like.
- I would like to be seen as a role model for young girls.
- I am proud of my gender.
- I believe in empowerment.
- I am free, liberated and independent.
- I would like both men and women to contribute equally to household chores.
- I am a humanist.
- I want women to speak up for their rights.
- I want to cook dinner for my husband and children.
- I don’t want to be a man.
- I want to use my body to have children.
Perhaps it would help if these celebrities look up the meaning of the word “feminism” before denouncing it. Here is how Oxford Dictionaries defines it:
The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.
A helpful guide has also been put together by Buzzfeed India.
It is really not that hard. Women who are feminist do not hate men, do not despise children, have and enjoy sex if and when they want to, get married if and when they want to, cook if and when they want to, and expect to be rewarded fairly for their professional work.
Simply put, feminism is just a ”radical notion that women are human beings.”