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Women Can Only Be Either Smart Or Beautiful, Says Big B’s Latest Comment!

Posted: January 23, 2021

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Amitabh Bachchan recently seemingly ‘complimented’ the IMF Chief Gita Gopinath. But the comment only showed our sexist beliefs about women. 

On his TV show Kaun Banega Crorepati, the host Amitabh Bachchan asked a question to a contestant about IMF Chief Gita Gopinath. Her picture was displayed on the big screen and the contestant was supposed to answer the question, “The economist seen in this picture has been the chief economist of which organisation since 2019?”

Following this question, Amitabh Bachchan said, “Her face is so beautiful that no one can relate her to the economy.” While IMF Chief Gita Gopinath was flattered by the comment, a lot of people weren’t.

The comment may have been made in good spirits but only showed our sexist beliefs. It reinforced the age-old belief that women can either be beautiful or intelligent and that the two can’t co-exist.

A number of people highlighted the sexist undertone of his comment. Meanwhile, some others said that a similar comment wouldn’t have been made about a male chief.

Why are women’s achievements overlooked?

To witness that IMF chief Gita Gopinath’s achievements are being reduced to her appearance shows the extent sexism is normalised in our society. Women, almost always, are ultimately only measured on the basis of their appearances, no matter what their achievements are.

Across cultures and countries, men in positions of power are praised for their determination and tenacity. However, these adjectives are rarely used for women in positions of power. If this doesn’t highlight the society’s double standards and sexism, what does?

Moreover, women are often gaslighted into believing that they are ‘intimidating’ or ‘overreacting.’ Even though, they act no different than men in positions of power.

Many cannot fathom the idea that a woman can fit into the normative standards of beauty and be intelligent at the same time. The idea that the two cannot exist together has been ingrained in our society deeply, thanks to the pop culture which puts a stamp on this stereotype.

Why must they only be one or the other?

Many movies and shows portray the so-called ‘nerds’ to be conventionally geeky, unattractive and boring. And then, a sudden transformation takes place where they remove their glasses and things seem to turn around for them.

One such example is Deepika Padukone’s ‘transformation’ in the Bollywood movie Yeh Jawaani Hain Deewani. Yet another example would be Kal Ho Na Ho, where actor Priety Zinta’s character had a similar ‘transformation.’

These stereotypes are modelled by people in the larger society and they start believing the same. Thus, reinstating the age-old belief that women can only either be beautiful or intelligent.

It cannot be stressed enough that beauty is not a denominator of intelligence and vice-versa. However, the fact that people continue to associate one with the other and make such comments only shows that women’s achievements are still overlooked in society.

Picture credits: Gita Gopinath’s Twitter and a still from KBC

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