Karan Johar, Kangana Ranaut debacle and the complexities of the term, ‘Woman Card’

If Kangana Ranaut was playing the 'woman card' and 'victim card', Karan Johar was playing the 'man card' and 'bully card'

Written by Radhika Iyengar | New Delhi | Updated: March 10, 2017 6:25 pm
Kangana Ranaut, Karan Johar, karan kangana, karan kangana fight, karan kangana word war, karan kangana news Karan Johar had said in an interview that Kangana Ranaut was confused about the understanding of word nepotism and if she was so ‘terrorised’ by Bollywood, she should leave it.

Actress Kangana Ranaut and filmmaker Karan Johar seemed to have plunged into verbal fisticuffs. It’s the classic David versus Goliath. On a chat show called Koffee with Karan, Ranaut divulged, candidly and unapologetically, her stance on Johar’s professional modus operandi. She said that Johar favoured and promoted nepotism in the industry. On the talk show, Johar had taken Ranaut’s comments with a dash of salt. However, in the aftermath of the episode’s broadcast, he called out Ranaut with vengeance, accusing her of playing the ‘woman card’ and the ‘victim card’. As though, for some reason, they were inextricably linked.

Watch Video |5 Bold Statements By Kangana Ranaut On Feminism

Ranaut refused to be cowered down, though.

In an interview with Mumbai Mirror, the actress remarked that she was far from playing the ‘woman card’ or the ‘victim card’. If anything at all, she flaunted her ‘badass card’: “Why is Karan Johar trying to shame a woman for being a woman? What is this about the ‘woman card’ and the ‘victim card’? This kind of talk is demeaning to all women, particularly the vulnerable because they are the ones who really need to use them.” Ranaut continued, “What is important to understand is that we are not fighting people, we are fighting a mentality. I am not fighting Karan Johar, I am fighting male chauvinism.”

She’s right. The term ‘woman card’ attributes to a gender insult. It reminds one of the language used by the sexist demagogue, Donald Trump. While campaigning for presidency against his Democratic rival, he said that the only reason Hillary Clinton was able to draw in 5 per cent of the votes because of her gender. “Well, I think the only card she has is the ‘woman’s card’. She has nothing else going. And frankly, if Hillary Clinton were (sic) a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 per cent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card. And, the beautiful thing is, women don’t like her. Okay?” he said. As a white man of privilege and power, Trump’s resentment was transparent. Evidently, he felt threatened by Clinton – a woman, who according to patriarchal beliefs, was intellectually inferior.

Watch | I Am Done With Kangana Ranaut Playing The Victim Card: Karan Johar

The term ‘woman card’ puts us in a sticky situation. Can’t women run for presidency and do well because of their caliber and not their gender? Can’t a woman speak out, assert herself or challenge authority (even self-proclaimed authorities like Johar’s, who believes he owns  the industry)? In such cases, she’s either accused of flashing the woman’s card; or she is trivialized – I’m referring to macabre controversy around 20-year-old Gurmehar Kaur, who was called “poor girl” and accused of being a victim (again) of having her mind “polluted”.

Also read | Kangana Ranaut destroys Karan Johar: ‘He is trying to shame a woman for being a woman’

Johar, like Trump, carries a sense of entitlement – the entitlement of being a man and the delusional entitlement of being the heir of a sprawling empire. If Ranaut was playing the ‘woman card’ and ‘victim card’, Johar was playing the ‘man card’ and ‘bully card’. Asking Ranaut to leave the industry if she felt uncomfortable with the dynamics of the industry, comes from a place of presupposed authority and a sense of superiority.

To undermine vociferous, assertive women, primarily emerges from a space of insecurity. However, Ranaut’s retort, terse and concise, is admirable. Referring to Johar becoming a father of twins through surrogacy – one daughter, one son – she called him out saying, “Now that Karan is the father of a little daughter, he should provide her with all these cards – the ‘woman card’ and the ‘victim card’, as also the ‘self-made-independent-woman card’, and the ‘badass card’ that I flashed on his show. We will use whatever we need to ensure no one rocks our boat,” she said.

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  1. V
    Vinod
    Mar 9, 2017 at 7:07 pm
    Kangana and Karan, time to cool down, we don't want Bollywood dumbos to take up valuable newspace.lt;br/gt;There are other issues of national importance such as the upcoming election results etc in which the public would be more interested in. Rather than your cheap Bollywood gimmicks.
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      Anon
      Mar 10, 2017 at 2:54 am
      The most heartening thing about this debate is that it's terms can no longer be set merely by male and cl power. Kangana Ranaut knows how to turn this kind of chauvinistic logic on its head. She takes their arguments and presents interpretations that leaves the privileged enled men who come up against her, gobsmacked. That is real subversion.
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      1. S
        Sambhu Choudhary
        Mar 9, 2017 at 12:56 pm
        Is KJo really a man? Hard to believe!
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          Bunny Rabbit
          Mar 13, 2017 at 4:18 pm
          and why do I get the feeling this gutsy Kangana wont last for long in Bwood .
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          1. S
            Suka
            Mar 9, 2017 at 12:22 pm
            Very well written..Agree 100% he is playing the Bully card
            Reply
            1. R
              RR
              Mar 9, 2017 at 7:24 pm
              The day u throw out people like kho srk salman khan..dirty nexus of bollywood b gone, art will take place of dhanadha, and respect for film industry will b back. Kangna is a far superior member of film fraternity than kjo srk salman chopra etc nexus.
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                Another Woman
                Mar 17, 2017 at 1:56 pm
                I find this turning everything into a feminist issue a bit much! I thought Kangana's behaviour on Koffee was atrocious. Just because he hasn't cast her in his films??lt;br/gt;I am all for feminism but not for boorish behaviour. Kangana has developed a very big head.
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                  Sumit Sharma
                  Mar 9, 2017 at 1:46 pm
                  We must all support Kangana in her fight. It is not just a women vs man fight, it is a fight that has so many dreams at stake, that because of the shameless unrepentant (even when given a chance) nepotism practised by Johar are culled everyday. She is bringing some democracy into the largely untalented bhai-bhatija industry. The lone fiery woman needs the backing of the entire nation. Johar can have the industry stand up for him, Ranaut has only the common person she can count on. More power to Ranaut. It is time our films value real actors who've against all odds risen the ranks and made us all proud with their achievements.
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