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Shweta Bachchan Nanda Is Tougher On Daughter Than Son ‘Coz “The World Is Tougher On Women”!

As women we can choose to perpetuate the oppressive strictures that society placed on us or we can try to break the cycle. What do you do?

Recently I came across quite a few headlines about how Shweta Bachchan Nanda says she’s been ‘tougher’ with daughter Navya than son Agastya. This appears to be from an interview between journalist Barkha Dutt and the mother-daughter duo of Shweta and Navya; part of the We the Women Global Townhall

The video is from about a year ago, so clearly some PR person somewhere is doing their job well, however, that is not the purport of this post. This post is about how progressive, privileged, affluent women continue to buy into the restrict-your-daughter-for-her-own-safety nonsense.

“I’ve been tougher on Navya than Agastya”

In the interview, Navya seems to be at pains to correct what appears to have been an off-brand statement made earlier. She had been quoted as saying that her mother expects her, Navya to entertain guests and not her brother Agastya.

To set the story straight, Shweta clarifies that it is she herself who looks after guests while the kids do nothing. So we are informed that such casual sexism is not a part of the family; that the statement ‘wasn’t in context’ and Shweta is someone who is ‘very fair’.

However, the thing that Shweta appears to have no compunction admitting is that she is harder on her daughter than she is on her son. The reason she proffers for this is something along the lines that women have it harder in this world and that this is about a mother’s protective instinct coming to the fore.

Plus, Navya is ‘naïve’ while Agastya is ‘old school’, whatever that means. They have to do what they do because they belong to the families that they do; because they have a legacy to uphold. She makes sure to add that Navya nevertheless has the choice to live her life as she pleases. All Ts cross and Is dotted.

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I have no doubt that the Bachchan-Nanda family are reasonably progressive and possessed of a modern outlook that does not dwell overmuch on gender expectations. However, given the kind of justifications explanations given for treating a son different than a daughter, we do see lingering, albeit subtle sexism here.

Why this need to control women?

Satirical take on men controlling women

Women’s activities and choices are limited and circumscribed ‘for her own safety’ to a lesser or larger extent, depending upon a family’s means and level of conservatism. A more traditional family or one of modest means will restrict a girl’s education, perhaps because it involves her having to leave home to study or because limited family resources are ‘better-used’ for a son.

Families as affluent and privileged as the Bachchans and the Nandas do not have those considerations. However, some of the same mind-sets about gender may persist regardless. Some of this has to do with conforming to social norms even while there is the need to appear and to actually be progressive.

In fact, controlling women is something that society approves of – the ‘good woman’ is the one who is obedient, and those good women are the mark of a ‘good family’. Perhaps Shweta treats her daughter and son the same but the fact that she says she is harder on her daughter is something that brings her social approval. It sounds bizarre, but it isn’t as unlikely as it sounds. Celebs have to tread a fine line when they say something in public – chances are they receive flack regardless of what they say – or don’t say.

Can we talk about generational trauma?

Image source

The world is a bad place so there is X, Y and Z that a woman cannot do. There are predatory men around so she must not work/return home early/not travel etc. etc. At all times, it is the woman who must change and limit herself because of circumstances not of her making. My parents did it to me, so I will impose the same restrictions on my daughter.

As women we can choose to perpetuate the oppressive strictures that society placed on us or we can try to break the cycle. Yes, it is difficult as the illustration above indicates, but let’s start somewhere? We owe it to the women and the men we raise.

Shweta Bachchan Nanda says she is tougher on her daughter Navya than she is on her son. But she says she doesn’t expect her daughter to look after guests while not expecting the same from her son. That’s progress.

Images source: YouTube/ Mojo Story

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About the Author

Reena Daruwalla

A former lawyer, now freelance writer, fauji wife, mother, singer, knitter and lover of my own cooking, I have altogether too many opinions and too few convictions. The more I learn the more I am read more...

36 Posts | 11,455 Views

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