Mira Sethi explains why actors are ‘afraid’ of being called feminists

Recently, Sarwat Gilani told Sethi she is 'not a feminist' but 'someone who believes in equal rights'


Sarwat Gilani made headlines last year with her highly-popular web series Churails. Touted as the ‘controversial project’ of the year, the Asim Abbasi directorial managed to grab eyeballs both in Pakistan and India.

Bold, dark, and unabashedly real, Churails was a feminist’s dream. However, in a recent interview with Mira Sethi, Gilani confessed that she isn’t a feminist herself.

While doing so, the actor asserted that she can’t align herself with the ideology because “it is misunderstood” and “a man has his own place.” To this, host and actor Sethi assured her that “feminism doesn’t say that a man doesn’t have his own place.”

Adamant, Gilani continued, “women do need men, no matter how independent,” despite the fact that feminism does not negate the ‘needs’ of any gender and contrary to popular belief, teaches coexistence by demanding equality.

Needless to say, Gilani’s statements have since then been lauded by many who are conflicted about or against feminism too. But disappointed feminists flocked to Twitter to question why the actor was so afraid of being called a feminist when she had admitted to “believing in equal rights.”

When a Twitter user wrote, “Why are Pakistani celebrities so scared of being called a feminist?” Sethi, who had courteously argued with Gilani about the matter on her show as well, responded, “Have asked many of my colleagues this question on camera.”

“A lot of it is fear: alienating their massive followings,” she opined. “But some have genuinely – sadly – internalized the negative connotations attached to it.” But the actor also named celebrities who haven’t and continue to remain true to the cause. “Urwa Hocane, Ayesha Omar, Osman Khalid Butt were very compelling in their defense of it,” she concluded.

Even during the show when Gilani said, “We misunderstand the term. That’s why I wouldn’t call myself a feminist but someone who believes in equal rights,” Sethi had reinstated, “But then you are a feminist Sarwat.”

Still, to her dismay, Gilani added, “Am I? But I do understand why some men have issues with women. I try and understand men as well. I feel that women are very emotional. So I am double-minded about this. And since I’m an actor and an artist, I tend to put myself in everybody else’s shoes, whether it’s a man or a woman. That’s why I feel I am conflicted.”

Prior to this, the actor had said, “I won’t keep chanting women this or women that. I feel there’s a certain time where women do need men, no matter how independent. I am an independent woman but at the end of the day, I feel like I need somebody who will take care of me and whom I can depend on.”


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