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Rakhi Sawant, The Badass Diva Who Won’t Be Shut Down!

Rakhi Sawant announced her wedding with long term boyfriend Adil Durrani recently. What do we know of her journey and the choices she made?

On 11th January, Rakhi Sawant announced her wedding to her beau Adil Durrani through an instagram post where she expressed her unconditional love for him. As she partakes in what would finally be considered appropriate and stable by the society we live in, we look back on how the controversial figure claimed Feminism for herself, time in again, in whatever flawed ways possible. 

Loud, brash, bold and unabashed, Rakhi Sawant has always been too obscene for the conservatives and too crass for the liberals. To her feminist critiques, by committing to the male gaze, Sawant is too distant from the intellectual capacities of the community. But perhaps, through the inappropriateness of her behavior and the unapologetic being of herself, Rakhi Sawant has contributed to feminism in India more than any other celebrity. 

Owning her sexuality publicly

If we go back to see how women’s bodies and sexualities have been portrayed in the media in a certain way, to encash them, we can identify that women’s sexuality became a tool for the economy, a financial capital. These are factors understood as essentials for one to progress in life, especially to break out of a tougher place in society.

Rakhi Sawant perhaps understood this very early, striking at the opportunity of portraying herself in the media in a certain way. This helped her accumulate monetary and social capital that could help her escape the conditions she may have been in – making her a calculative, courageous and astute woman. 

Her actions may be controversial, but perhaps they are a rebuttal to the toxic environment that is produced out of the complicated politics of class and gender. 

Normalizing ‘unnatural’ methods to achieve the unnatural beauty standards expected of women

Before Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives made it ‘acceptable’ to use medical science to alter one’s appearance, Rakhi Sawant came out with unapologetic honesty about using medical aid to enhance her body. This choice became a commentary on how the unnatural beauty standards that women have been subjected to for years, could only be achieved through unnatural methods.

Rakhi was firm in her stance of claiming a blown out version of female sexuality that was not acceptable to the ‘morality’ of feminists themselves at the time. She broke away from the image of the ‘good woman’ both the traditional and modern, very gracefully within well thought out strategies. 

Rakhi Sawant, the woman who will not be shut down!

Rakhi Sawant has spoken about the toxic diet culture of the entertainment industry, the complex casting couch and the need for consent accompanied with sex, sexuality, and suicides. Whether it was exercising her complete agency by making men compete to marry her with Rakhi ka Swayamvar or by demanding accountability by men for their actions over Mika Singh kissing her without her consent – Rakhi Sawant took charge of feminism long before movements to condemn body shaming, promote self love, call out toxic work culture and #MeToo gained prominence. 

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Mapping Rakhi’s journey in tandem with that of Feminism in this country

Rakhi’s journey however also depicts the progress that intersectional feminism is yet to make in the country – with her her accusations constantly being shrugged away because of her media image, her demand for respect owing to her years of experience and hard work being shunned, and her very valid arguments of understanding gendered experiences and class politics being overlooked as ‘jokes’ just because she doesn’t match a certain type of fluency, in English! And you thought colonialism was dead! 

What puts her colleagues on the radar however is that while the media called her out and talk shows were ‘humorous’ at her expense, the production houses that made money off her item songs and the ‘protectors’ and ‘promoters’ of Naari Shakti failed to defend her from systematic brutality on various occasions.

In a world where women are expected to be models of niceness, and generosity, Rakhi Sawant speaks her mind, loud, bold and clear, despite the constant trolls and backlash from the media. As she takes another step in her personal life, we only hope this Diva finds happiness and remains the legend that she is.

Images source: Instagram

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aayushi gupta

I'm just really scared, I'll never become anything! Still exploring, trying to put forth ideas and opinions but also open to learning and perhaps changing them if something else made sense read more...

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