Indian women’s cricket captain had the perfect response for a sexist question
Mithali Raj is having none of your casual sexism
Women can be powerful athletes, deliver rousing performances on screen or find the cure for cancer, but they’ll continue to face questions about men, their bodies and when they plan to settle down. The most recent recipient of this garden variety sexism was the captain of the Indian women’s cricket team Mithali Raj. At a dinner held on the eve of the Women’s World Cup, the cricketer was asked by a journalist who her favourite male cricket star was. Mithali wasted no time in pointing out that no male cricketer has ever been asked this question before. “I have always been asked who your favourite cricketer is but you should ask them who their favourite female cricketer is?” she asked.
In a country that (and this is not medically verified) has cricket running in its veins, it’s disheartening to see how little recognition female cricketers get, as compared to their male counterparts. But, according to Mithali, things are slowly changing. “There’s a lot of difference because we are not regulars on television. Now the BCCI has made an effort that the last two home series have been televised and social media has improved a lot of it but there is a still a lot of catch-up to do in terms of recognition,” she said.
Mithali’s response is another addition to the growing list of kickass replies given by Indian women to sexist questions in the media. Remember when journalist Rajdeep Sardesai couldn’t fathom how Sania Mirza wasn’t thinking about getting pregnant and settling down? To jog your memory, the tennis star had replied, “You don’t think I am settled? You sound disappointed that I am not choosing motherhood over being number one in the world at this point of time. That’s one of the questions that as women, we have to face all the time. First is marriage, then is motherhood. Unfortunately, that’s when we are settled and no matter how many Wimbledons we win or number ones in the world we become, we don’t become settled.”
When the newspapers spent more time speculating whether Kareena Kapoor was going to take a maternity break, when she was pregnant with Taimur, Kareena had this to say to a leading daily, “I’m pregnant, not a corpse. And what maternity break? It’s the most normal thing on earth to produce a child. It is high time the media backs off, and stops treating me any different than I ever was. Anybody who is bothered shouldn’t work with me… but my work goes on as is, like always. Stop making it a national casualty.”
More power to you, ladies.
Hollywood’s top actresses discuss sexism in the industry
Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and other top actresses recently sat down to discuss the sexism they’ve faced in Hollywood over the years.
Jessica Lange, on how the premise of Feud is not too far from real life: "I don't think we've ever seen this much misogyny, this much sexism, and I think the fact that we have this story that is set in a particular period, but obviously Hollywood in the 1960s, is just a microcosm of the greater atmosphere that we are all living through now."
Oprah, on the struggle of portraying stories of sexual assault victims onscreen: "I keep trying to share with the world what it means not just to be sexually violated but what it means to have someone who is a predator in your own space and to be preyed upon. Just as Reese was saying, we're all about sharing the story that is going to raise consciousness on any level."
Witherspoon, on the double standard between acting moms and acting dads: "I was talking to this very famous actor and I said, 'How did you prepare for this role?' He said, 'Well, I went into the woods for three weeks and I didn't talk to anybody.' And this person has a lot of kids and is married. And he's like, 'You did the same thing for Wild, right?' I was like, 'Uh, no.' If I went away for three weeks and no one could call me, everybody would've had a mental breakdown. I got on a plane and was shooting within 24 hours. I wish I had prep time."
Reese Witherspoon, on battling sexism by creating a production company: "I started a production company five years ago because I was looking at maybe the worst script I've ever read in my entire life and it had two parts for women. I called my agents and said, 'This is such a terrible script.' They said, 'Well, seven women want it so … you're the only one who's not vying for the part.' And I thought, "God, if this is what we've come to, I have to get busy." Because you can either complain about a problem or you can be part of the solution.
Christy Metz, on being discriminated for her weight: "I've had people give me all kinds of looks on airplanes when they know that I'm going to be coming to sit by them. Even to this day. [...] It's [that kind of] discrimination because it's such a visual issue."