Twinkle Khanna Masters Degree: Celebrate Her, Akshay, Without Expecting Her To Be A Superwoman!

Twinkle Khanna recently completed her Masters degree at the University of London. Her husband, Akshay Kumar was proud, but also put her on a pedestal - do women really want that?

So it’s wonderful that Twinkle Khanna has done her Masters degree at the age of 50. It is an achievement to be celebrated. But can we do it without dumping more burden on her?

Twinkle Khanna had enrolled for a Masters at the University of London a couple of years ago. She has successfully handed in her thesis and earned her Masters in “Creative and Life Writing”. Her husband Akshay Kumar applauded her publicly on his social media handles.

He writes: “Two years ago when you told me you wanted to take up studies all over again, I wondered if you meant it. But the day I saw you work so hard and perfectly manage a full-fledged student life along with home, career, me and kids, I knew I had married a super woman.”

He also shared her story that had a picture of the spine of her dissertation, expressing her pride in her (which was great!) but spoiling it by the next sentence: “now the most important question – when are you coming back home?”

Yes, we are proud of Twinkle’s achievement – getting back to college and studying for a degree is no mean feat at her age, with all that a married woman with kids and a career deals with.

I know it first hand, because of my mother

My mother went back to do her Masters when I was in my 7th grade, and it was no easy degree. She was an Ayurvedic doctor already, and in the late 1970s, the Govt of India had floated a scheme called Condensed MBBS in which medical practitioners from non-allopathic fields could do a shorter version of MBBS – covering the material for each academic year (which comprises 3 semesters) in one semester each, along with the mandatory 1 year of internship.

She did this, and I remember she was supported by her mother, my grandmother, who stayed with us to take care of the 3 kids – my younger brothers and me – while her daughter studied. My father was a Govt medical officer who stayed elsewhere, at the place where he was posted at the time while the rest of us stayed in one place in the interest of our education.

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I was old enough to remember the struggle and her hard work.

So celebrate Twinkle Khanna’s Masters degree, yes, but…

So yes, it is quite something, even as we all know Twinkle must have had a ton of paid help to manage her household, and yes, we must celebrate her. Points to Akshay for being proud of his wife, doing this at 50.

But more than the fact that age is just a number – something else struck me in this news item.

“But the day I saw you work so hard and perfectly manage a full-fledged student life along with home, career, me, and kids, I knew I had married a superwoman.”

Women should refuse to be superwomen, or to be expected to be superwomen. Why this expectation, and why say it in a public post? Why say that she “managed” HIM, an adult?

Yes, he has been very supportive of her so many times, but that is just as it should be, not something to get him brownie points, even though sadly in when compared to the average Indian home, in the Indian context, it feels like a BIG deal.

As a popular public figure, Akshay Kumar has a responsibility

This just further burdens women with these expectations. When those in the public eye with as huge a following as Akshay Kumar do and say such things, it trickles down and becomes a life narrative for other couples. As it is, his movies push a patriarchal narrative and glorify problematic toxic masculinity in the guise of “doing good”. Of course which wins him the hearts of the equally or even more misogynist men of India. And now this.

Social responsibility of celebrities does not stop at taking up feel good or “woke” topics for movie making. It also lies in the small things they say or do publicly.

Twinkle should be able to enjoy her achievement without the pedestal her husband is trying to put her on, or the expectation that she returns pell mell to take up all her responsibilities, including the part about “handling him”.

Image source: Twinkle Khanna on Masters degree on Instagram

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About the Author

Sandhya Renukamba

In her role as the Senior Editor & Community Manager at Women's Web, Sandhya Renukamba is fortunate to associate every day with a whole lot of smart and fabulous writers and readers. A doctor read more...

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