- Tahira shared her personal experiences with casual sexism in her post
- She also wrote about inequity in her post
- She is currently in her hometown Chandigarh with husband Ayushmann
The phrase “smash the patriarchy” has become something of a flashpoint after appearing on a T-shirt worn by actress Rhea Chakraborty this week to the office of the Narcotics Control Bureau or NCB which has arrested her in a drugs case linked to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. Several from the film fraternity shared Rhea’s T-shirt message on social media as a way of showing solidarity, among them actresses Vidya Balan and Sonam Kapoor. On Friday, filmmaker Tahira Kashyap went one better with a post written in her own unique voice, using her personal experiences with casual sexism to explain just why patriarchy needs smashing.
Tahira, currently in her hometown Chandigarh with husband Ayushmann Khurrana, begins by relating how she “lost her poise” after a recent fractious encounter with the patriarchy as embodied by a distant male relative who was visiting. As she handed him a plate of tikkis – Ayushmann was also helping serve the guests – Tahira was told snidely by the said distant male relative, “Beta, you should look after your husband, feed him more greens.” Tahira, “red-hot with anger,” shot back with, “Actually he is making me a salad tonight, I’ll ask him to make an extra serving for himself.”
She was later rebuked by a senior family member for her rejoinder and, while she agrees that she may have been harsh, Tahira writes that she was also “amazed by the offence taken,” pointing out the vile abuse and rape threats routinely directed at women, for which offence is not expected to be taken.
Tahira Kashyap also writes about the inequity in how men and women working the same job are perceived, citing as an example her extremely fit female trainer in Mumbai, someone who worked on herself for an hour or longer everyday despite several gruelling training sessions with clients. “I have observed 90% of male trainers are unfit,” Tahira writes, explaining that male trainers have the privilege of letting themselves go after building a clientele while women don’t and must “always prove themselves,” no matter the challenges.
The third instance in Tahira Kashyap’s post involved not just Ayushmann but also his brother Aparshakti and sister-in-law. In a meeting with an architect to discuss plans for a new family home, the four were told by the architect’s assistant, “We should have a service kitchen, along the main kitchen, both the Khurrana bahus would want an exclusive space to cook na?”
Would the assistant have asked the same question in reverse, suggesting that the Khurrana brothers would like their own kitchens, Tahira asks. She also calls for zero tolerance for sexist and misogynistic remarks, and the sort of sexual harassment women of all ages have to deal with in public and private spaces every day. Tahira offers her own experience of being groped at the age of 12 while queuing outside cinema halls and the temple.
Read Tahira Kashyap’s post here:
Tahira Kashyap, a cancer survivor, is a director and author. She and Ayushmann have been married since 2008 and have two children.