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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Aishwarya Complex

Ever since nasty and gendered comments -- from Hot chick to Fat Aunty and such -- began to do the rounds for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan,it was only a matter of time before the speculation hit a new low.

Written by Shefalee Vasudev | Published: May 3, 2012 3:23:47 pm

Ever since nasty and gendered comments — from Hot chick to Fat Aunty and such — began to do the rounds for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan,it was only a matter of time before the speculation hit a new low. Things got bigger in the last few days after photo tweets of her appearance Mukesh Ambani’s party at Antilla in Mumbai were out. Some sections of the media ridiculed her weight after motherhood through the very choice of these photos. I wrote a piece in Aishwarya’s defence and found myself arguing about it for most of the day with those who sent in feedback.

Surprisingly,many sympathetic messages came from men — they were,well ostensibly,at least,shocked at the way “women” were making fun of the world’s most beautiful woman. A social psychologist pointed out that the Indian media’s ‘Aishwarya complex’ has never been really explained. When a particular blogger or writer makes a celeb the repeated target of his/her attacks,it would be safe to deduce a fantasy obsession,he said.

“In all probability,that person actually wants to be Aishwarya Rai but can’t and the only way is to let out venom of some kind or the other — clothes and weight are just incidental.”

NDTV 24×7 too had a debate last night on the same issue anchored by Nidhi Razdan. Surprisingly,as I would realise only in retrospect,all panelists ended up agreeing partly with each other. Strange.

In a recent piece on the Daily Beast,Hollywood star and now a civil society worker Ashley Judd made some pertinent points while slamming the media for speculative reports about her “puffy face”.

She brought up issues of misogyny and gender bias saying “patriarchy is not about men or women,it is a system we engage in.”

One point I made on the NDTV debate and want to follow up is Aishwarya’s professional relationship with L’Oreal.

Reportedly,Aishwarya will walk the red carpet at Cannes this year as always for L’Oreal and the company is only too happy to have her as she is. This is the most engaging bit of news in the realm of Aishwarya’s weight gain.

This means she is really putting herself out there. At the same time,L’Oreal known for impossibly perfect beauty commercials is investing in a change of image. Not even one of their ads so far has suggested anything that can leave a viewer comfortable in their “real skins”. Shot on beautiful women,these commercials are further perfected with photographic interventions and post production touch up talent.

Let’s now stand by and ask: 1. Will L’Oreal shoot new commercials with Aishwarya knowing that they can’t Photoshop her to look slimmer as the reality will hit everyone hard in their faces. 2. Do they expect her to lose weight and regain her space as one of their most glamourous global ambassadors. 3. When she loses weight (if she chooses and manages to),will it be marketed as L’Oreal’s “support” of real beauty? Will that be the new,winning line of their hair and cosmetics line? Or will they find a product or a line to suit Aishwarya’s new,coming of age and turn it into a rage?

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