Why #MeToo Is Important: Another Indian Actress, Zareen Khan, Joins The Movement
Zareen Khan joined the #MeToo movement, opening up about her casting couch experience, and the ways in which every actress has had to deflect advances during her career. Even though the #MeToo movement is primarily elitist and restricted to digital spaces, it has been able to qualitatively change lives of several victims.
Zareen Khan, known for her roles in Veer, Housefull 2, item number Character Dheela and Hate Story 3, opened up about how, at the start of her career, she was asked by a director to rehearse a kissing scene with him.
This casual but discomfiting experience is a rite of passage that female actors are expected to go through. Khan doesn’t want that fate for every new actress.
Khan refused to continue with the audition. The harassment continues even after actresses have established themselves. Another man offered to “specifically look into the projects she’s getting” if she agrees to be “more than just friends”.
Has The #MeToo Movement Made A Difference?
Sadly, the actresses used to have no choice but to ignore and deflect such advances. The #MeToo movement has created a counter-trend, whereby which the victims’ stories aren’t ruthlessly questioned if they choose to come forward with it. More people are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Such a culture even benefits those victims who might not want to name and shame their harassers, like Zareen Khan.
Because of the cultural shift, she is less likely to blame herself for the uncomfortable and unwelcome sexual experiences and doesn’t think that her pain will be invalidated, which is essential for her rehabilitative process.
It also creates self-efficacy within the survivor. Since Zareen Khan can publicly condemn the injustices experienced by her, she’d plausibly feel less helpless. It helps the survivors gain control over their environment, and believe that they can try to change the world which was so unfair to them.
However, there are valid criticisms of the #MeToo movement, such as it replacing the need for grassroots change, and they should be considered while appreciating the effects of the #MeToo movement, with the intention to improve it, rather than to invalidate its achievements.
Naya Daur Media (NDM) is a bi-lingual progressive digital media platform aiming to inform and educate Pakistanis at home and abroad.