Pulling some leg

Priyanka Chopra is trolled for her outfit at meeting with PM Modi, but the joke’s on the other foot

By: Editorial | Updated: June 2, 2017 2:12 am

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When actor Priyanka Chopra met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Berlin, on the sidelines of Modi meeting Angela Merkel, you’d think the focus, if any, would be on Priyanka’s recent achievements. Moving to the US, Priyanka has seen eye-catching success, starring in a TV series, landing a top Hollywood role, appearing on red carpets, presenting an Oscar, singing at the US National Football League (NFL) kick-off. Priyanka has broken stereotypes — Indians can’t go beyond Bollywood; America can’t offer non-whites roles that aren’t cringe-inducing cliches — with style.

When actor Priyanka Chopra met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Berlin, on the sidelines of Modi meeting Angela Merkel, you’d think the focus, if any, would be on Priyanka’s recent achievements. Moving to the US, Priyanka has seen eye-catching success, starring in a TV series, landing a top Hollywood role, appearing on red carpets, presenting an Oscar, singing at the US National Football League (NFL) kick-off. Priyanka has broken stereotypes — Indians can’t go beyond Bollywood; America can’t offer non-whites roles that aren’t cringe-inducing cliches — with style.

Yet, at meeting’s end, Priyanka’s outfit — a knee-length dress — was deemed “improper”, for a meeting with the PM and she was trolled for letting down “Bharatiya sanskriti”. The irony abounds. Priyanka is a confident, modern, accomplished Indian woman on the world stage. Yet, she’s expected to conform to regressive, antiquated notions in public life. These expectations aren’t unique to India. Globally, women, from Theresa May to Melania Trump, are routinely picked on for their clothes, their appearance, even their posture, none of which applies to men. Such misogyny — reducing a woman to skin, make-up, fabric, crudely overlooking her mind, her talent, her power — is blatant. But it is also banal enough to scornfully ignore.

However, a striking aspect here is the official All India Radio (AIR) News Twitter handle releasing a picture of Priyanka with Modi, adding, pointedly: “Priyanka Chopra meets PM Narendra Modi in Berlin, People find her dress not decent enough, posture disrespectful while meeting PM.” AIR should exit the 1950s and get real. There will always be the intellectually challenged who will long to control women, and thus find independent choices “improper”. This isn’t news. This is sexist spite. And by tweeting this, AIR News joined the misogyny club. Meanwhile, Priyanka’s own reaction underlines her distinctive gutsy spirit. Tweeting a picture of herself with her mother — both in short skirts — PC cheekily celebrated legs. Her critics should sit up. After all, theirs are in their mouths.

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  1. A
    Ankur
    Jun 2, 2017 at 1:10 pm
    be ing response she gave! without saying anything, brushed aside all drama.
    Reply