Sonam Kapoor, who loses no opportunity to denigrate India, has once again insulted Indian culture ahead of International Women’s Day on the 8th of March. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, which is the Middle East and North African edition of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, Sonam Kapoor said that “female empowerment is very important” for her because she comes from a region of the world where “women have always been second-class citizens.”
— Sonam K Ahuja (@sonamakapoor) March 2, 2020
The ironic part of Sonam Kapoor’s statement is that she made it during a conversation with Bazaar Arabia, a magazine that has the Middle-East and North Africa as its audience. These two regions of the world are the most backward in terms of women’s empowerment. Middle-East is rife with conflict and women often do not have the same rights as men.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where Bazaar Arabia has a significant audience, do not provide equal rights to their women. In Saudi Arabia, women did not have the right to drive until June 2018. In Qatar, male guardianship laws are applied which require females under the age of 25 to travel abroad with a male parent’s consent. Jordan, another country where Bazar Arabia has a great audience, gives husbands the right to determine their wives’ abilities to exercise their rights to work and other public activities. In addition to all of this, there are numerous culture-specific restraints that infringe upon the tenets of gender equality.
Sonam Kapoor has associated herself with Saudi Arabian brands in the past as well which had earned her severe criticism. One of the most influential fashion voices, Diet Prada, questioned Sonam Kapoor on her choice to promote Saudi Arabia, a country where homosexuality is subjected to capital punishment when she is such a vocal supporter of the LGBT community. It was after Sonam Kapoor had attended The MDL Beast Festival which took place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in December last year.
The women present were subject to sexual harassment which promoted fashion and culture commentary Instagram account Diet_Prada to call out the celebrities including Bollywood entertainer Sonam Kapoor. Diet Prada accused the celebrities of ‘cashing big fat checks in exchange for content creation (aka propaganda) to rehabilitate the image of Saudi Arabia” especially over human rights violations.
Sonam Kapoor had also worn a Saudi label for a charity event in Mumbai hosted by Isha Ambani, daughter of Business tycoon Mukesh Ambani. “Sonam Kapoor can’t get enough of Saudi Arabia,” Arab News, one of the leading English dailies of Saudi Arabia had commented. Given her love for Saudi Arabia, it does come across as hypocritical when Sonam Kapoor claims women have “always been second-class citizens” when it’s definitely not the case. She had recently also unveiled a new ‘mosque-inspired’ Bulgari collection in Abu Dhabi.