Listen, I can be ignorant if I had to be, there have been people talking about Pandya’s misogyny for two days now. He has issued an apology and BCCI’S CEO Rahul Johri has already recommended to ban him for 2 ODIs. But he needs to be called out, as much as possible, by as many platforms as there are who would happily cover the multiple women he was boasting about on Koffee with Karan’s 12th episode this season. So here goes my very angry feminist post.
Karan calls Pandya a “hype beast” after he enters the show studded with bling and his comrade Rahul gives a list of his belongings including his Gucci shoes and a tonne of ignorance in the same sentence. I do have to applaud Mr. Johar for such an apt description of Pandya’s hyper-masculine cis man image who is all about brands, material, and possession.
Moving on, Karan further describes Pandya’s image as the “rockstar, rapper…boy from the hood kind of vibe”, which is, to say the least, an overly generalised statement about all ‘rockstars, rappers’ and ‘boys from the hood’, moreover this kind of vibe is somehow limited to just boys, according to Karan. Pandya, on the other hand, tries to define this vibe for him. “I do get influenced by the West Indies people and all… the black culture, I like that part you know, the bling, living their way of life, you know…”, Pandya smirks with consequent hand gestures pertaining to his vibe. This kind of generalisation, appropriation, lack of sensitivity or knowledge about racial culture, history, and trauma is a textbook example of racism.
Your sexist and misogynist gaze is not a symptom of any kind of ‘blackness’ you associate yourself with, don’t shift the blame, it’s all you, Pandya.
As soon as we sigh in relief that this uncomfortable topic is off the table and Karan starts to list the duo’s ( Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul) achievement, we are bombarded with the information of “so many women being around” them, in the cloak of who they have made proud (apparently). Pandya quickly jumps to the opportunity to parade about how he picks up and ‘observes’ women. He laments in the most cool-boy™ manner how he cannot ask a girl her name after talking to her for an hour.
When asked why he didn’t ask her name when they started the conversation he victoriously objectifies and sexualises all the women he met saying, he cannot stop observing “how they move” since there’s a bit of ‘black’ in him. Excuse me? First, your sexist and misogynist gaze is not a symptom of any kind of ‘blackness’ you associate yourself with, don’t shift the blame, it’s all you, Pandya. Second, stop associating yourself with ‘blackness’ since it’s clear you don’t have any sensitisation towards what it even means to be called ‘black’! Third, I am so sorry to the women who have spent time with/ talked to Pandya while clubbing, it must have been extremely uncomfortable to have a man look at your body and ‘observe’ it while you are trying to strike up a conversation.
Further in the segment, we get to know that Karan’s description of the “perfect modern family” is where the man of the house comes back home and exclaims to everyone “Aaj kar (sex) ke aaya hai” (today I had sex – but in a very derogatory tone) and they pat him on the back and exclaim “Beta bada ho gaya” (My son is a man now). According to Karan Johar, the perfect modern family treats sex as an achievement for the son of the house, as another mountain he had to climb, another goal to be completed before he can feel like a real man. He also happily points out all the women he has had some history with when his parents ask “Acha teri vaali (woman) kaun kaun hai” (Which one of these women are you associated with – here association is used with a tone of possession). Rahul and Karan are baffled, not because of the way Pandya presents to his parents the women that he believes are his possessions but because of how cool his family is.
According to Karan Johar, the perfect modern family treats sex as an achievement for the son of the house, as another goal to be completed before he can feel like a real man.
Amongst the many other preposterous remarks that Pandya passed, he convinces everyone how it’s okay to send the same flirty text messages to different women because he “feels the same for everyone”, dismisses Rahul when he says that a girl will have the choice between him and another team member doting over her by saying that “Ye sab koi farak nahi padta, jiska talent hai vo lega” (All of this doesn’t matter, whoever is more talented will take her), and he gives Rahul the advice to spread a rumour that he’s dating Katrina Kaif because Rahul admitted that he has a crush on her. He also confesses, very proudly, that he doesn’t care if his fellow teammates find it awkward that he smacks their butts, completely uncalled for, in the locker room because he is used to doing all this.
The kind of comments Pandya passed on the episode aren’t an uncommon thing in everyday conversations. As much as we are trying to move forward in making India a better place for women to occupy, this kind of toxic masculinity, privileged talk, misogyny, sexism, and ignorance is highly normalised. Please stop letting it go, it is not a ‘small thing’, it is not ‘unnecessary tantrums’, it is the consequence as well as the catalyst of increasing sexual violence against women in all spheres.
Note: I want to bring to attention that a lot of people have remarked that Pandya’s lack of education is the reason why his comments are problematic. Please stop equating illiteracy with insensitivity, there are a lot of illiterate people who are much more sensitive than Pandya and a lot of literate persons who propagate such regressive mindsets.
Featured Image Source: India Today