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I am a global citizen because the world matters to me: Priyanka Chopra on gender, racial discrimination

The actress took centrestage at the Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) 2018 in Dubai with some witty and sharp answers about the changing roles in the world. 

Shriram Iyengar

There might be few artistes who possess the wit and sharpness to handle an uncomfortable question with elan. Priyanka Chopra's growing experience on the global stage seems to have provided the actress with that very quality. Taking centrestage at the Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) 2018, the actress spoke on multiple issues like feminism, gender and racial discrimination, and the charge of being a global citizen, with a cool head.

Explaining her constant travel and positioning as a global citizen, she said, "I am as desi as it gets but that does not mean I am not concerned or aware of what's happening in the world. I am a global citizen because the world matters to me."

A goodwill ambassador for the United Nations, Chopra defined a global citizen as one 'who is aware of the privilege' they receive. The actress also pointed out that it becomes the responsibility of these individuals to empower those in less privileged positions.

Speaking about a range of topics, from cross-cultural sensitivity to her transition from Hindi cinema to Hollywood, the actress also answered one particular question about how her feminism and beauty paegant history match up. Answering the host, Chopra said that it was her choice to be a part of a paegant. "Thats what feminism stands for. Let a woman do what she wants, without judging her. Stop telling her what to do, and how to be," she answered to applause from the audience.

Talking about objectification of women in the media, she said, "Why do those things make money? Who is watching it? Who is buying those tickets? Who is saying it is okay to go watch those movies. It is called demand and supply. Don't demand it and don't ask for it. There are a lot of girls who say that they are not okay with that and then they get replaced. There is a big fight that's happening right now, between the demand and the supply."

Incidentally, Chopra, who has often decried the use of the term 'Bollywood' (to represent Hindi cinema) said the West often stereotyped and 'pigeon holed' Indian artistes.

"There are 'Bollywood' flavour popcorns. I mean how can we have Bollywood flavour! We are not taken seriously even though we are the most prolific industry in the world. I think Indian talent does not need to be stereotyped or put in a box," she remarked.  

But the key moment of the event was when a question was raised if feminism was according women more favourable power. The questioner asked if a girl slapping a man for being eveteased is not physical abuse of the man? Chopra, a little incensed, answered, "When a man eve teases women, then she slapping him is not an abuse of the man," adding, "He deserves it."

With two Hollywood films in the pipeline, and a hit American television show in its third season, it is easy to see that the West is taken by Chopra. However, her answers only add validity to her stature in the industry, home and abroad.