The word ‘women’ is not merely a group of letters. It stands for our societies stereotypes associated with the female human being. Submissive is what she is supposed to be! A woman is someone who wears makeup, one who is supposed to serve food and take care of babies, one who does not have enough mind to acquire technical skills and much more. These stereotypes get attached to women’s existence by birth and for the rest of the lives, they carry the burden of it.
But there are some ladies for whom the sky is not the limit; ladies who made us proud of our individuality and who dared to break the stereotypes.
Here are some women who defied societal norms and made a strong impression in our minds.
#1 Suhasini Mulay.
Suhasini Mulay was born on 20th November 1950 in Patna. She started her career in acting world in 1965. She is the Marathi actress, who blew all of us with her talent with her roles in Gandhi of the month, The white land, Hope and a little sugar and many more.
“Girls should marry by 30, otherwise nobody will marry them and they will have to remain single for their whole life”. This age-related stereotype was broken by this actress who not only married at the age of 60 but also used the internet to find her Mr Right. Ahaan!
There is no age for love and marriage! It is our choice when we have to love and get married.
#2 Konkona Sen Sharma.
Konkona Sen Sharma on born 3 December 1979 is an Indian actress, writer, and director. She has received two National Film Awards and three Filmfare awards. The daughter of veteran filmmaker–actress Aparna Sen, Konkona appears primarily in Indian arthouse and independent films, and her achievements in the genre have established her as one of the leading actresses of contemporary parallel cinema.
This actress proudly gave birth to a baby boy prior her marriage. She was not ashamed of this and even in the darkest phase of her life, while she was about to break up from her husband Ranveer Shory, she stood strong and stayed intact with her mental strength.
#3 Sushmita Sen.
Sushmita Sen on born 19 November 1975. She was born into a Bengali family in Hyderabad Her parents are Shuber Sen, a former Indian Air Force Wing Commander, and Subhra Sen, a jewellery designer and owner of a Dubai-based store. In 1994, as a teenager, Sen won the title of Femina Miss India. Sen then won the 1994 Miss Universe Pageant, held in Manila, Philippines, representing India.
The miss universe—Sushmita Sen muted all the lips. Who says women need men for survival? The actress adopted a baby girl in 2000. Later in 2010, she adopted another baby girl who was three months old. Marriage was never on her to-do list. She surely believes that she is capable of taking care of her kids alone and we have seen that too. Kudos to Sushmita for breaking stereotypes.
#4 Kalki Koechlin.
Kalki Koechlin born on 10 January 1984 in Pondicherry. She is an Indian actress and writer of French descent. Apart from acting in films, Koechlin is also a regular presence in theatre productions in the country. An acclaimed actress in the Indian film industry for her unconventional body of work, she is the recipient of a National Film Award, a Filmfare Award and two Screen Awards, among other accolades.
We would not be able to stop if we start talking about what she has done for feminism! Remember the It’s Your Fault video? Yes, she is actively working towards making women more empowered and attain equality!
#5 Neena Gupta.
Neena Gupta was born on 4 July 1954 in Delhi. Gupta has made appearances in several international films, such as Gandhi (1982), The Deceivers(1988) etc. She starred along with Madhuri Dixit in Khalnayak (1993); she was featured in the popular song “Choli Ke peeche” in the movie.
Undoubtedly one of the strongest female celebrity figures in the nation, Neena Gupta bent the rules courtesy her relationship with West Indies cricketer Sir Vivian Richards way back in the ’80s. She even had a child with him, design prodigy Masaba Gupta, even though she never got married to Viv. She raised the baby without marrying the father.
#6 Shabana Azmi.
Shabana Azmi on born 18 September 1950. She is an Indian actress in film, television and theatre. Regarded as one of the finest actresses in India, Azmi’s performances in films in a variety of genres have generally earned her praise and awards, which include a record of five wins of the National Film Award for Best Actress and several international honours. She has also received five Filmfare Awards and was honoured among “women in cinema” at the 30th International Film Festival of India. In 1988, the Government of India awarded her with Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour of the country.
In the year 1998, Fire, a movie about two sisters-in-law who reluctantly, but desperately, fall in love, released amidst a sea of uproar, and right-wing activists attacked the film, claiming that there are no lesbians in India. It was one of the first mainstream films in India to explicitly showcase homosexual relations and it was claimed that “the film’s theme is alien to India’s culture”. Shabana Azmi, an iconic theatre personality, an acclaimed Bollywood actress and a women’s rights activist broke the status quo in her portrayal of same-sex love on screen, contributing to the visibility of the lesbian population in the nation.
#7 Laxmi Saa.
Laxmi Agarwal (born 1 June 1990) is an Indian campaigner with Stop Acid Attacks and a TV host. She is an acid attack survivor and speaks for the rights of acid attack victims. She was attacked in 2005 at age 15, by a 32-year-old man whose advances she had rejected. Her story, among others, was told in a series on acid attack victims by Hindustan Times. She has also advocated against acid attacks through gathering 27,000 signatures for a petition to curb acid sales, and taking that cause to the Indian Supreme Court. Her petition led the Supreme Court to order the central and state governments to regulate the sale of acid, and the Parliament to make prosecutions of acid attacks easier to pursue.
Soon, Laxmi became a voice of the survivors of Acid Attacks across the world. She received multiple awards in India for her work to curb the sale of acid and to rehabilitate the survivors of acid attacks through her foundation. As of June 2014, Laxmi hosts a television show, Udaan, on New Express.
After having taken the bold step of refusing a marriage, Laxmi was attacked with acid by her would-be husband and two other men. She survived the deadly ordeal and campaigned against such violence. She proved that you can never silence a woman who will give anything to stand up for herself.
#8 Farah Khan.
Farah Khan on born 9 January 1965 in Mumbai. She is an Indian film director, film producer, actress and choreographer. She is best known for her choreographic work in numerous Bollywood films.
When Farah Khan got married to Shirish Kunder in her 40s, she decided to opt for in-vitro fertilization technique and gave birth to triplets. Having given birth in 2008, she was one of the first Indian celebrities who did not conceive naturally and opted for IVF instead.
#9 Nandita Das.
Nandita Das born on 7 November 1969 in Mumbai. She is an Indian film actress and director. She has acted in more than 30 feature films in 10 different languages. Firaaq, her directorial debut feature film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2008 and has travelled to more than 50 festivals, winning more than 20 awards. She has been on the jury of Cannes Film Festival, among others, twice (2005 and 2013). She was awarded the Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Government of France for her contribution towards arts. Nandita Das was the first Indian to be inducted into the International Women’s Forum’s Hall of Fame for her contributions to the arts.
She is the face of Be Unfair campaign, which vehemently protested and tried to change the mentality of considering dark women as ugly! She has been fighting against this ingrained racism with the motto- Stay Unfair, Stay Beautiful.
Bachendri Pal belonged to a family of very moderate means. She was born on 24 May 1954 in a village in the Himalayas named Nakuri in Uttarkashi, District of Uttarakhand. She was one of seven children to Hansa Devi and Shri Kishan Singh Pal – a border tradesman who supplied groceries from India to Tibet. She got her first taste of mountaineering thrill at the age of 12, when she, along with her friends, scaled a 13,123 ft (3,999.9 m) high peak during a school picnic. On the invitation of her school principal, she was sent to college for higher studies and became the first girl to 1982, during her course at NIM, she climbed Mt. Gangotri 21,900 ft (6,675.1 m) and Mt. Rudragaria 19,091 ft (5,818.9 m). In that time, she got employment as an instructor at the National Adventure Foundation (NAF), which had set up an adventure school for training women to learn mountaineering.
An Indian mountaineer who contradicted the equation of men = physical endurance by becoming the first women to reach the Mount Everest summit in 1984. A tight slap to all those who say women don’t have strength.
So next time, before attributing women to any kind of stereotype just keep in mind these wonderful ladies and even more achievers like these. Mind you, these are not exceptions. There are a whole lot of women like these. Proud to be a WOMEN!!!!