Breaking stereotypes: A society where complexion becomes a barrier – “It affected me” says Priyanka

Breaking stereotypes: A society where complexion becomes a barrier – “It affected me” says Priyanka


The Quantico star, Priyanka Chopra has seen the rising best of both worlds and in her experience, women are making huge strides, despite their gender having been pitted against them for decades.

In an interview with InStyle mag, the most acclaimed superstar gave personal examples of having dealt with gender bias in Hollywood and Bollywood and racial stereotypes when being cast in the west.

“We’ve been taught for eons that women need to fight each other, clamber and climb on top of each other to get that one job. And, now we’re seeing through it,” said Priyanka.

She then addressed about the existing, yet, widening, wage gap between male and female actors when being cast in a film, in India and in Hollywood.

“I feel it every year, especially when you’re doing movies with really big actors, whether it’s in India or America. If an actor is getting 100 bucks, the conversation [with women] will start with max, like, 8 bucks. The gap is that staggering. In America, we don’t talk about it as brashly, whereas in India the issue is not skirted around. I’ve been told straight up, if it’s a female role in a movie with big, male actors attached, your worth is not really considered as much” she exclaimed.

Citing an example from the past, she said, “A producer-director said to me, ‘Well, you know how it is in these big tentpole movies with the big boys. This is the budget for the girl, and we can’t move beyond that,’ which was, like, a measly 5% of what [the male lead] was getting.

“It happens in both countries, it’s just that here, it’s hidden behind other things. In America, everyone is so worried about being liable that they don’t want to say anything wrong, but they end up doing it anyway.”

Piggy Chops believes talent should be the top priority when hiring someone for the job, not their gender. “I just think merit should be the name of the game. Stop looking at women as women and men as men—just look at us as our ability to deliver at the job given to us.”

However, speaking of stereotypes in Hollywood, Priyanka said that she was refused a role based on her skin color.

“It happened last year. I was out for a movie, and somebody [from the studio] called one of my agents and said, ‘She’s the wrong—what word did they use? — ‘physicality.’ So, in my defense as an actor, I’m like, ‘Do I need to be skinnier? Do I need to get in shape? Do I need to have abs?’ Like, what does ‘wrong physicality’ mean?” Chopra pauses. “And then my agent broke it down for me. Like, ‘I think, Priy, they meant that they wanted someone who’s not brown.’ It affected me.”

“No one will say that a woman is getting paid less because she’s a woman of color, but the numbers mostly end up reflecting that,” she added.

But she is hopeful of the future and believes that gender equality will come, slow, but it will.

“I want to see the day where female-led movies get as much of a run as the boys do, which means the ticket-buying audience needs to be open to that. People don’t go watch females in movies because they don’t believe that they can be heroes. The world has to change the way they look at their heroes. Specifically, how men can help is changing the ‘locker-room talk’ conversation. Nothing will change until we break the stereotypes of gender in our normal, day-to-day life.”

“It’s all a big, dirty muddle of muck which we are here to clean. It’s going to take years, but we’re doing it. Our voices are louder. We’re standing by each other despite the fact that only a few women will eventually get the job. And I’m hoping that through the fight, it’s going to change for the next generation. I hope I’m a part of that revolution,” added Priyanka.

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Urooj Fatima

A self-motivated & result oriented individual whose modus operandi is to weave elements of success together & forge ahead in all spheres of life.

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