Taapsee Pannu Being Asked To Speak In Hindi Has Made Us Wonder Why We Never See Male Actors Being Heckled In This Manner
I have realised that once you’ve decided to be a journalist with a digital publication, there is no going back from observing every single thing that is wrong in the world and dissecting it to offer perspective. Especially when you live in a country like India, where the list of what is right would be much shorter than a list of what is wrong. The position of women, for instance. From having been pushed down for decades and not being given the opportunity to stand equal, women have always been discriminated against and even though they say times are changing, some things never do really change. Women often being heckled and interrupted, something we rarely see happening with men. And recently it happened with Taapsee Pannu while she was speaking at an event in Goa.
The Saand ki Aankh actress, Taapsee Pannu who is usually seen making headlines either for her remarkable acting or her ‘never shy away from the truth’ attitude, has yet again offered us a food for thought, as she was recently interjected by a person at an event in Goa. Present to be part of an event as a guest speaker, the actress was interrupted by a member of an audience while speaking at an event ironically called Women In Lead, asking her to speak in Hindi as she was a Hindi film actress. Before we could even make much of it, Taapsee was quick to give it back to the attendee by saying, “Sir, main to pura Hindi me baat karsakti hoon, par kya yahan sabko Hindi samajh aayegi?” (Sir, I can speak in Hindi for the entire session but will the audience understand Hindi?)”
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Continuing further she said, “Main south Indian actress bhi hoon… Tamil aur Telugu main bhi baat karu? (I’m also a south Indian actress, so, should I speak in Tamil and Telugu too?)” And with that reply along with a resounding applause from the audience, the attendee was made to shut up. But the thing that really stayed with us was just how conveniently female actresses have been heckled into silence by either journalists, audience members or sometimes even hosts of a particular show or an event.
We say this because, what went down with Taapsee at the event was far too familiar to ignore. Time and again, it has been observed that actresses, much more in comparison to their male counterparts, get interrupted and yes it goes way beyond just cutting in while someone is speaking, it actually is reflective of the deep-rooted patriarchy in our systems. Think about it, how often does a male actor, get interjected and insulted by members of the media. We’ve rarely seen an incident of the sort. Somehow though, you often see women in power being subjected to snide remarks by journalists or members of the audience.
From Priyanka Chopra being accused of encouraging nuclear war in between her appearance and speech at the Beauty Con Panel in Los Angeles to Kangana Ranaut being disrespectfully being taken down by a journalist at a movie launch , instances where women have been disrupted while they talk isn’t new. Do we hear the same thing happen with men? Rarely, if ever.
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In fact, there are full blown studies that show that the rate at which women are interrupted is far higher than men ever are, and one of the main reasons for it is the play of dominance here. The society, with its inherent need to place men in a higher position is what keeps them from cutting men short. Now whether this is because people aren’t used to women speaking up and giving speeches or simply assuming that they do not need to be respected enough to complete their sentence, we aren’t sure, but what we are certain of that this attitude once again reeks of sexism and we are not here for it.
Times have changed, women are no longer open to be pushed over, and the next time you feel the itch to interrupt a woman, don’t scratch it for your own good. Because just like Taapsee, we will give it back to you. It’s about time people realise that what we have to say matters equally as to a man, and we are no longer willing to accommodate such prejudice.